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    Brasil Ecodiesel, the leading Brazilian biodiesel producer company, recorded an increase of 57.7% in sales in the third quarter of the current year, in comparison with the previous three months. Sales volume stood at 53,000 cubic metres from August until September, against 34,000 cubic metres of the biofuel between April and June. The company is also concluding negotiations to export between 1,000 to 2,000 tonnes of glycerine per month to the Asian market. ANBA - October 4, 2007.

    PolyOne Corporation, the US supplier of specialised polymer materials, has opened a new colour concentrates manufacturing plant in Kutno, Poland. Located in central Poland, the new plant will produce colour products in the first instance, although the company says the facility can be expanded to handle other products. In March, the Ohio-based firm launched a range of of liquid colourants for use in bioplastics in biodegradable applications. The concentrates are European food contact compliant and can be used in polylactic acid (PLA) or starch-based blends. Plastics & Rubber Weekly - October 2, 2007.

    A turbo-charged, spray-guided direct-injection engine running on pure ethanol (E100) can achieve very high specific output, and shows “significant potential for aggressive engine downsizing for a dedicated or dual-fuel solution”, according to engineers at Orbital Corporation. GreenCarCongress - October 2, 2007.

    UK-based NiTech Solutions receives £800,000 in private funding to commercialize a cost-saving industrial mixing system, dubbed the Continuous Oscillatory Baffled Reactor (COBR), which can lower costs by 50 per cent and reduce process time by as much as 90 per cent during the manufacture of a range of commodities including chemicals, drugs and biofuels. Scotsman - October 2, 2007.

    A group of Spanish investors is building a new bioethanol plant in the western region of Extremadura that should be producing fuel from maize in 2009. Alcoholes Biocarburantes de Extremadura (Albiex) has already started work on the site near Badajoz and expects to spend €42/$59 million on the plant in the next two years. It will produce 110 million litres a year of bioethanol and 87 million kg of grain byproduct that can be used for animal feed. Europapress - September 28, 2007.

    Portuguese fuel company Prio SA and UK based FCL Biofuels have joined forces to launch the Portuguese consumer biodiesel brand, PrioBio, in the UK. PrioBio is scheduled to be available in the UK from 1st November. By the end of this year (2007), says FCL Biofuel, the partnership’s two biodiesel refineries will have a total capacity of 200,000 tonnes which will is set to grow to 400,000 tonnes by the end of 2010. Biofuel Review - September 27, 2007.

    According to Tarja Halonen, the Finnish president, one third of the value of all of Finland's exports consists of environmentally friendly technologies. Finland has invested in climate and energy technologies, particularly in combined heat and power production from biomass, bioenergy and wind power, the president said at the UN secretary-general's high-level event on climate change. Newroom Finland - September 25, 2007.

    Spanish engineering and energy company Abengoa says it had suspended bioethanol production at the biggest of its three Spanish plants because it was unprofitable. It cited high grain prices and uncertainty about the national market for ethanol. Earlier this year, the plant, located in Salamanca, ceased production for similar reasons. To Biopact this is yet another indication that biofuel production in the EU/US does not make sense and must be relocated to the Global South, where the biofuel can be produced competitively and sustainably, without relying on food crops. Reuters - September 24, 2007.

    The Midlands Consortium, comprised of the universities of Birmingham, Loughborough and Nottingham, is chosen to host Britain's new Energy Technologies Institute, a £1 billion national organisation which will aim to develop cleaner energies. University of Nottingham - September 21, 2007.

    The EGGER group, one of the leading European manufacturers of chipboard, MDF and OSB boards has begun work on installing a 50MW biomass boiler for its production site in Rion. The new furnace will recycle 60,000 tonnes of offcuts to be used in the new combined heat and power (CHP) station as an ecological fuel. The facility will reduce consumption of natural gas by 75%. IHB Network - September 21, 2007.

    Analysts fear that record oil prices will fuel general inflation in Kenya, particularly hitting the poorest hard. They call for the development of new policies and strategies to cope with sustained high oil prices. Such policies include alternative fuels like biofuels, conservation measures, and more investments in oil and gas exploration. The poor in Kenya are hit hardest by the sharp increase, because they spend most of their budget on fuel and transport. Furthermore, in oil intensive economies like Kenya, high oil prices push up prices for food and most other basic goods. All Africa - September 20, 2007.

    Finland's Metso Power has won an order to supply Kalmar Energi Värme AB with a biomass-fired power boiler for the company’s new combined heat and power plant in Kalmar on the east coast of Sweden. Start-up for the plant is scheduled for the end of 2009. The value of the order is approximately EUR 55 million. The power boiler (90 MWth) will utilize bubbling fluidized bed technology and will burn biomass replacing old district heating boilers and reducing the consumption of oil. The delivery will also include a flue gas condensing system to increase plant's district heat production. Metso Corporation - September 19, 2007.

    Jo-Carroll Energy announced today its plan to build an 80 megawatt, biomass-fueled, renewable energy center in Illinois. The US$ 140 million plant will be fueled by various types of renewable biomass, such as clean waste wood, corn stover and switchgrass. Jo-Carroll Energy - September 18, 2007.

    Beihai Gofar Marine Biological Industry Co Ltd, in China's southern region of Guangxi, plans to build a 100,000 tonne-per-year fuel ethanol plant using cassava as feedstock. The Shanghai-listed company plans to raise about 560 million yuan ($74.5 million) in a share placement to finance the project and boost its cash flow. Reuters - September 18, 2007.

    The oil-dependent island state of Fiji has requested US company Avalor Capital, LLC, to invest in biodiesel and ethanol. The Fiji government has urged the company to move its $250million 'Fiji Biofuels Project' forward at the earliest possible date. Fiji Live - September 18, 2007.

    The Bowen Group, one of Ireland's biggest construction groups has announced a strategic move into the biomass energy sector. It is planning a €25 million investment over the next five years to fund up to 100 projects that will create electricity from biomass. Its ambition is to install up to 135 megawatts of biomass-fuelled heat from local forestry sources, which is equal to 50 million litres or about €25m worth of imported oil. Irish Examiner - September 16, 2007.

    According to Dr Niphon Poapongsakorn, dean of Economics at Thammasat University in Thailand, cassava-based ethanol is competitive when oil is above $40 per barrel. Thailand is the world's largest producer and exporter of cassava for industrial use. Bangkok Post - September 14, 2007.

    German biogas and biodiesel developer BKN BioKraftstoff Nord AG has generated gross proceeds totaling €5.5 million as part of its capital increase from authorized capital. Ad Hoc News - September 13, 2007.

    NewGen Technologies, Inc. announced that it and Titan Global Holdings, Inc. completed a definitive Biofuels Supply Agreement which will become effective upon Titan’s acquisition of Appalachian Oil Company. Given APPCO’s current distribution of over 225 million gallons of fuel products per year, the initial expected ethanol supply to APPCO should exceed 1 million gallons a month. Charlotte dBusinessNews - September 13, 2007.

    Oil prices reach record highs as the U.S. Energy Information Agency releases a report that showed crude oil inventories fell by more than seven million barrels last week. The rise comes despite a decision by the international oil cartel, OPEC, to raise its output quota by 500,000 barrels. Reuters - September 12, 2007.

    OPEC decided today to increase the volume of crude supplied to the market by Member Countries (excluding Angola and Iraq) by 500,000 b/d, effective 1 November 2007. The decision comes after oil reached near record-highs and after Saudi Aramco announced that last year's crude oil production declined by 1.7 percent, while exports declined by 3.1 percent. OPEC - September 11, 2007.

    GreenField Ethanol and Monsanto Canada launch the 'Gro-ethanol' program which invites Ontario's farmers to grow corn seed containing Monsanto traits, specifically for the ethanol market. The corn hybrids eligible for the program include Monsanto traits that produce higher yielding corn for ethanol production. MarketWire - September 11, 2007.

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Monday, October 08, 2007

Scientists succeed in producing ethanol from highly polluting olive mill wastewater

Scientists from the Department of Biotechnology and Biological Sciences, at the Faculty of Science of the Hashemite University in Jordan have succeeded in pretreating olive mill wastewater by means of enzymes found in a fungus, in such a way that it becomes a promising substrate for the production of bioethanol.

Highly polluting olive mill wastewater (OMW) generated by the olive oil extraction process is the main waste product of this large industry. Approximately 54 billion liters of OMW are produced annually worldwide with the majority of it being produced in the Mediterranean basin.

The uncontrolled disposal of OMW is becoming a serious environmental problem, due to its high organic chemical oxygen demand (COD) concentration, and because of its high content of microbial growth-inhibiting compounds, such as phenolic compounds and tannins. The improper disposal of OMW to the environment or to domestic wastewater treatment plants is prohibited due to its toxicity to microorganisms, and also because of its potential threat to surface and groundwater. However, due to the current lack of appropriate alternative technologies to properly treat OMW, most of the wastewater in the Mediterranean area is discharged directly into sewer systems and water streams or concentrated in evaportation ponds where it degrades and releases greenhouse gas emissions.

M. I. Massadeh N. Modallal from Jordan's Hashemite University found OMW can be upgraded by removing or reducing its phenolic compounds after which its carbohydrate fraction can be used as a substrate to produce biofuels. They report their findings in this week's issue of Energy & Fuels.

Phenolic compounds can be degraded by a few microorganisms, such as white-rot fungi, which produce a variety of enzymes that are capable of oxidizing phenols. The scientists investigated the capability of Pleurotus sajor-caju (often used in mycoremediation solutions) to degrade phenols of OMW preconditioned by different treatments, namely, thermally processing (at 100 °C) diluted and undiluted OMW and thermally processing pretreated OMW with hydrogen peroxide:
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

Results showed that the fungi removed phenolic compounds from OMW cultures, under all different conditions examined. The degradation of phenols reached up to 68% for the thermally processed OMW, 50% for the diluted OMW, 53% for the thermally processed OMW treated with hydrogen peroxide, and 58% for the thermally processed undiluted OMW.

The impact of such biological conversion upon lowering the phenols content of OMW was tested by yeast fermentation of the product to produce ethanol because yeast cells are very sensitive to a high phenol concentration.

Ethanol production was enhanced by the pretreatment of OMW with Pleurotus sajor-caju. The maximum ethanol production of 14.2 g/L was obtained after 48 hours of yeast fermentation using 50% diluted OMW that was thermally processed and pretreated with the microorganism.

According to the results obtained, bioconverted OMW by Pleurotus sajor-caju is a promising substrate for the bioethanol production process, with additional benefits of its use with regard to environmental and economical aspects.

Approximately, 1.8 million tons of olive oil are produced annually worldwide where the majority (98%) of it is produced in the Mediterranean basin. If the 54 billion liters of OMW resulting from this industry were to be converted into ethanol using the new method, some 650 million liters of bioethanol could be produced, while solving a major environmental problem.


M. I. Massadeh and N. Modallal, "Ethanol Production from Olive Mill Wastewater (OMW) Pretreated with Pleurotus sajor-caju", Energy & Fuels, ASAP Article, October 5, 2007, doi: 10.1021/ef7004145

Basheer Sobhi, Sabbah Isam, Yazbek Ahmad, Haj Jacob, Saleeba
Ahlam, "Reducing the Environmental Impact of Olive Mill Wastewater in Jordan, Palestine and Israel" [*.pdf], R&D Center, the Galilee Society.


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