Lyle building biomass boiler to slash carbon emissions of London sugar refinery by 70% <body> --------------
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    German industrial conglomerate MAN AG plans to expand into renewable energies such as biofuels and solar power. Chief Executive Hakan Samuelsson said services unit Ferrostaal would lead the expansion. Reuters - November 24, 2007.

    Analysts think Vancouver-based Ballard Power Systems, which pumped hundreds of millions and decades of research into developing hydrogen fuel cells for cars, is going to sell its automotive division. Experts describe the development as "the death of the hydrogen highway". The problems with H2 fuel cell cars are manifold: hydrogen is a mere energy carrier and its production requires a primary energy input; production is expensive, as would be storage and distribution; finally, scaling fuel cells and storage tanks down to fit in cars remains a huge challenge. Meanwhile, critics have said that the primary energy for hydrogen can better be used for electricity and electric vehicles. On a well-to-wheel basis, the cleanest and most efficient way to produce hydrogen is via biomass, so the news is a set-back for the biohydrogen community. But then again, biomass can be used more efficiently as electricity for battery cars. - November 21, 2007.

    South Korea plans to invest 20 billion won (€14.8/$21.8 million) by 2010 on securing technologies to develop synthetic fuels from biomass, coal and natural gas, as well as biobutanol. 29 private companies, research institutes and universities will join this first stage of the "next-generation clean energy development project" led by South Korea's Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy. Korea Times - November 19, 2007.

    OPEC leaders began a summit today with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez issuing a chilling warning that crude prices could double to US$200 from their already-record level if the United States attacked Iran or Venezuela. He urged assembled leaders from the OPEC, meeting for only the third time in the cartel's 47-year history, to club together for geopolitical reasons. But the cartel is split between an 'anti-US' block including Venezuela, Iran, and soon to return ex-member Ecuador, and a 'neutral' group comprising most Gulf States. France24 - November 17, 2007.

    The article "Biofuels: What a Biopact between North and South could achieve" published in the scientific journal Energy Policy (Volume 35, Issue 7, 1 July 2007, Pages 3550-3570) ranks number 1 in the 'Top 25 hottest articles'. The article was written by professor John A. Mathews, Macquarie University (Sydney, Autralia), and presents a case for a win-win bioenergy relationship between the industrialised and the developing world. Mathews holds the Chair of Strategic Management at the university, and is a leading expert in the analysis of the evolution and emergence of disruptive technologies and their global strategic management. ScienceDirect - November 16, 2007.

    Timber products company China Grand Forestry Resources Group announced that it would acquire Yunnan Shenyu New Energy, a biofuels research group, for €560/$822 million. Yunnan Shenyu New Energy has developed an entire industrial biofuel production chain, from a fully active energy crop seedling nursery to a biorefinery. Cleantech - November 16, 2007.

    Northern European countries launch the Nordic Bioenergy Project - "Opportunities and consequences of an expanding bio energy market in the Nordic countries" - with the aim to help coordinate bioenergy activities in the Nordic countries and improve the visibility of existing and future Nordic solutions in the complex field of bioenergy, energy security, competing uses of resources and land, regional development and environmental impacts. A wealth of data, analyses and cases will be presented on a new website - Nordic Energy - along with announcements of workshops during the duration of project. Nordic Energy - November 14, 2007.

    Global Partners has announced that it is planning to increase its refined products and biofuels storage capacity in Providence, Rhode Island by 474,000 barrels. The partnership has entered into agreements with New England Petroleum Terminal, at a deepwater marine terminal located at the Port of Providence. PRInside - November 14, 2007.

    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) kicks off the meeting in Valencia, Spain, which will result in the production of the Synthesis Report on climate change. The report will summarize the core findings of the three volumes published earlier by the separate working groups. IPCC - November 12, 2007.

    Biopact's Laurens Rademakers is interviewed by Mongabay on the risks of large-scale bioenergy with carbon storage (BECS) proposals. Even though Biopact remains positive about BECS, because it offers one of the few safe systems to mitigate climate change in a drastic way, care must be take to avoid negative impacts on tropical forests. Mongabay - November 10, 2007.

    According to the latest annual ranking produced by The Scientist, Belgium is the world's best country for academic research, followed by the U.S. and Canada. Belgium's top position is especially relevant for plant, biology, biotechnology and bioenergy research, as these are amongst the science fields on which it scores best. The Scientist - November 8, 2007.

    Mascoma Corporation, a cellulosic ethanol company, today announced the acquisition of Celsys BioFuels, Inc. Celsys BioFuels was formed in 2006 to commercialize cellulosic ethanol production technology developed in the Laboratory of Renewable Resources Engineering at Purdue University. The Celsys technology is based on proprietary pretreatment processes for multiple biomass feedstocks, including corn fiber and distiller grains. The technology was developed by Dr. Michael Ladisch, an internationally known leader in the field of renewable fuels and cellulosic biofuels. He will be taking a two-year leave of absence from Purdue University to join Mascoma as the company’s Chief Technology Officer. Business Wire - November 7, 2007.

    Bemis Company, Inc. announced today that it will partner with Plantic Technologies Limited, an Australian company specializing in starch-based biopolymers, to develop and sell renewably resourced flexible films using patented Plantic technology. Bemis - November 7, 2007.

    Hungary's Kalocsa Hõerõmû Kft is to build a HUF 40 billion (€158.2 million) straw-fired biomass power plant with a maximum capacity of 49.9 megawatts near Kalocsa in southern Hungary. Portfolio Hungary - November 7, 2007.

    Canada's Gemini Corporation has received approval to proceed into the detailed engineering, fabrication and construction phases of a biogas cogeneration facility located in the Lethbridge, Alberta area, the first of its kind whereby biogas production is enhanced through the use of Thermal Hydrolysis technology, a high temperature, high pressure process for the safe destruction of SRM material from the beef industry. The technology enables a facility to redirect waste material, previously shipped to landfills, into a valuable feedstock for the generation of electricity and thermal energy. This eliminates the release of methane into the environment and the resultant solids are approved for use as a land amendment rather than re-entering the waste stream. In addition, it enhances the biogas production process by more than 25%. Market Wire - November 7, 2007.

    A new Agency to manage Britain's commitment to biofuels was established today by Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly. The Renewable Fuels Agency will be responsible for the day to day running of the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation, coming into force in April next year. By 2010, the Obligation will mean that 5% of all the fuels sold in the UK should come from biofuels, which could save 2.6m to 3m tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. eGov Monitor - November 5, 2007.

    Prices for prompt loading South African coal cargoes reached a new record last week with a trade at $85.00 a tonne free-on-board (FOB) for a February cargo. Strong Indian demand and tight supply has pushed South African prices up to record levels from around $47.00 at the beginning of the year. European DES/CIF ARA coal prices have remained fairly stable over the past few days, having traded up to a record $130.00 a tonne DES ARA late last week. Fair value is probably just below $130.00 a tonne, traders said. At this price, some forms of biomass become directly competitive with coal. Reuters Africa - November 4, 2007.

    The government of India's Harayana state has decided to promote biomass power projects based on gasification in a move to help rural communities replace costly diesel and furnace oil. The news was announced during a meeting of the Haryana Renewable Energy Development Agency (HAREDA). Six pilot plants have demonstrated the efficiency and practicability of small-scale biomass gasification. Capital subsidies will now be made available to similar projects at the rate of Rs 2.5 lakh (€4400) per 100 KW for electrical applications and Rs 2 lakh (€3500) per 300 KW for thermal applications. New Kerala - November 1, 2007.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Tate & Lyle building biomass boiler to slash carbon emissions of London sugar refinery by 70%

Industrial ingredients and food processing giant Tate & Lyle announces it is implementing a £20 (€27.8/$ 41.4) million biomass boiler project at its East London sugar refinery, which will slash the carbon emissions from energy use by 70% in less than two years and turn the factory into a net energy producer. The carbon footprint of Tate & Lyle cane sugar, from far away field to product leaving the factory gate, will be reduced by 25% following the switch to renewable biomass. The factory in London is one of the largest cane refineries in the world, processing 1.1 million tonnes of sugar a year (image, click to enlarge).

The new biomass boiler, which will power the combined heat and power (CHP) plant for the factory, will mean Tate & Lyle can switch to renewable biomass to supply 70% of the energy it needs. Post 2009, with the boiler working at full capacity, the carbon footprint of cane sugar produced at the UK refinery will be reduced to 0.32 tonnes per 1 tonne of sugar.

Raw cane sugar milling is almost carbon neutral. Cane grows in the field, waste fibre from the cane (bagasse) powers the factory and the cane re-grows each year, often up to 10 times without the need for replanting since sugar cane is a semi-perennial. The raw sugar is then transported by Tate & Lyle to its UK refinery by ships, widely regarded as the most energy efficient mode of transport only producing very small levels of CO2 emissions per ton shipped.

The total capacity of the biomass boiler at the Thames plant will be 65MW. It will generate 80 tons of steam per hour at 45 bar (650psi) pressure and will run 24/7. The feedstock for the boiler will be wheat feed, a by-product of flour production. The factory will become a net exporter of energy to the grid with the biomass scheme ensuring this excess electricity is green.

Tate & Lyle also hopes to recycle the estimated 6,500 tonnes of ash from the boiler as a base for fertiliser or for use in the construction of building blocks, rather than going to landfill (more on utilising biomass ash as a construction material, see here).
Having recently confirmed what we’d already anticipated, that our carbon footprint is low at 0.43 tonnes per 1 tonne of sugar, we are now proud to be taking steps to reduce that even further with this project. This is more than a pledge - it's happening now, with construction already started. Furthermore, we believe the boiler being constructed at our Thames site is not only the largest of its kind for London, but also a first for the UK food and drink industry. At Tate & Lyle we have an overall target to reduce energy consumption by 3% per annum and this has been in place since 2000. In addition, we are currently a net-exporter to the National Grid at the refinery and once the biomass project is complete, the source will be green. - Ian Bacon, Chief Executive Tate & Lyle Sugars
Tate & Lyle’s carbon footprint was calculated by URS Corporation Ltd., an independent consultancy in carbon measurement, who have developed a tool to measure the carbon footprint of both the UK cane sugar refinery as well as the entire cane sugar production process from field to leaving the factory gates:
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

Key stages of URS’ methodology included:
  1. Understanding the manufacturing process from raw material production through to distribution
  2. Developing a process map to identify each of the inputs and outputs of each stage including utility use as well as raw materials
  3. Defining the boundaries and scope of the footprint
  4. Data collection
  5. Data processing and calculation
Commenting in support of the biomass project, Callton Young, Director of Sustainability and Competitiveness at the Food & Drink Federation (FDF), said that climate change is perhaps the biggest challenge facing the planet.
The planned 70% reduction in CO2 emissions associated with energy use is significant by any standards. Indeed, it is exemplary. It is exactly the sort of change in behaviour that FDF is encouraging under our Five-fold Environmental Ambition launched last month. If more companies follow Tate & Lyle’s example, a low carbon economy will quickly cease to be an aspiration and become a reality. - Callton Young, Director of Sustainability and Competitiveness at the Food & Drink Federation
Efforts to reduce carbon emissions at the Thames refinery are part of Tate & Lyle's group-wide environmental and energy saving measures, which has seen energy consumption per unit of output reduced by 1.2%; water consumption per unit of output reduced by 2.5%; and non hazardous solid waste consumption per unit of output reduced by 29.5% in the last year (calendar year 2006).

Tate & Lyle is a leading manufacturer of renewable food and industrial ingredients. It uses innovative technology to transform corn and sugar into value-added ingredients for customers in the food, beverage, pharmaceutical, cosmetic, paper, packaging and building industries. The Company is a leader in cereal sweeteners and starches, sugar refining, value added food and industrial ingredients, and citric acid. Tate & Lyle is the world number-one in industrial starches and is the sole manufacturer of SPLENDA Sucralose.

Headquartered in London, Tate & Lyle operates more than 50 production facilities throughout Europe, the Americas and South East Asia. In the year to 31 March 2007, it employed 6,900 people in its subsidiaries with a further 2,300 employed in joint ventures. Sales in the year to 31 March 2007 totalled £4.0 billion.

Tate & Lyle: The Future's green for Tate & Lyle - November 26, 2007.

Biopact: The bioeconomy at work: buildings made of biomass ash? - May 17, 2007


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