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    The 16th European Biomass Conference & Exhibition - From Research to Industry and Markets - will be held from 2nd to 6th June 2008, at the Convention and Exhibition Centre of FeriaValencia, Spain. Early bird fee registration ends 18th April 2008. European Biomass Conference & Exhibition - February 22, 2007.

    'Obesity Facts' – a new multidisciplinary journal for research and therapy published by Karger – was launched today as the official journal of the European Association for the Study of Obesity. The journal publishes articles covering all aspects of obesity, in particular epidemiology, etiology and pathogenesis, treatment, and the prevention of adiposity. As obesity is related to many disease processes, the journal is also dedicated to all topics pertaining to comorbidity and covers psychological and sociocultural aspects as well as influences of nutrition and exercise on body weight. Obesity is one of the world's most pressing health issues, expected to affect 700 million people by 2015. AlphaGalileo - February 21, 2007.

    A bioethanol plant with a capacity of 150 thousand tons per annum is to be constructed in Kuybishev, in the Novosibirsk region. Construction is to begin in 2009 with investments into the project estimated at €200 million. A 'wet' method of production will be used to make, in addition to bioethanol, gluten, fodder yeast and carbon dioxide for industrial use. The complex was developed by the Solev consulting company. FIS: Siberia - February 19, 2007.

    Sarnia-Lambton lands a $15million federal grant for biofuel innovation at the Western Ontario Research and Development Park. The funds come on top of a $10 million provincial grant. The "Bioindustrial Innovation Centre" project competed successfully against 110 other proposals for new research money. London Free Press - February 18, 2007.

    An organisation that has established a large Pongamia pinnata plantation on barren land owned by small & marginal farmers in Andhra Pradesh, India is looking for a biogas and CHP consultant to help research the use of de-oiled cake for the production of biogas. The organisation plans to set up a biogas plant of 20,000 cubic meter capacity and wants to use it for power generation. Contact us - February 15, 2007.

    The Andersons, Inc. and Marathon Oil Corporation today jointly announced ethanol production has begun at their 110-million gallon ethanol plant located in Greenville, Ohio. Along with the 110 million gallons of ethanol, the plant annually will produce 350,000 tons of distillers dried grains, an animal feed ingredient. Marathon Oil - February 14, 2007.

    Austrian bioenergy group Cycleenergy acquired controlling interest in Greenpower Projektentwicklungs GmbH, expanding its biomass operational portfolio by 16 MW to a total of 22 MW. In the transaction Cycleenergy took over 51% of the company and thereby formed a joint venture with Porr Infrastruktur GmbH, a subsidiary of Austrian construction company Porr AG. Greenpower operates two wood chip CHP facilities in Upper and Lower Austria, each with an electric capacity of 2 MW. The plants have been in operation since the middle of last year and consume more than 30,000 tonnes of wood chips and are expected to generate over €5 million in additional revenue. Cycleenergy - February 6, 2007.

    The 2008 edition of Bioenergy World Europe will take place in Verona, Italy, from 7 to 10 February. Gathering a broad range of international exhibitors covering gaseous, liquid and solid bioenergy, the event aims to offer participants the possibility of developing their business through meetings with professionals, thematic study tours and an international forum focusing on market and regulatory issues, as well as industry expertise. Bioenergy World Europe - February 5, 2007.

    The World GTL Summit will take place between 12 – 14th May 2008 in London. Key topics to be discussed include: the true value of Gas-to-Liquids (GTL) projects, well-to-wheels analyses of the GTL value chain; construction, logistics and procurement challenges; the future for small-scale Fischer-Tropsch (FT) projects; Technology, economics, politics and logistics of Coal-to-Liquids (CTL); latest Biomass-to-Liquids (BTL) commercialisation initiatives. CWC Exhibitions - February 4, 2007.

    The 4th Annual Brussels Climate Change Conference is announced for 26 - 27 February 2008. This joint CEPS/Epsilon conference will explore the key issues for a post-Kyoto agreement on climate change. The conference focuses on EU and global issues relating to global warming, and in particular looks at the following issues: - Post-2012 after Bali and before the Hokkaido G8 summit; Progress of EU integrated energy and climate package, burden-sharing renewables and technology; EU Emissions Trading Review with a focus on investment; Transport Climatepolicy.eu - January 28, 2007.

    Japan's Marubeni Corp. plans to begin importing a bioethanol compound from Brazil for use in biogasoline sold by petroleum wholesalers in Japan. The trading firm will import ETBE, which is synthesized from petroleum products and ethanol derived from sugar cane. The compound will be purchased from Brazilian petrochemical company Companhia Petroquimica do Sul and in February, Marubeni will supply 6,500 kilolitres of the ETBE, worth around US$7 million, to a biogasoline group made up of petroleum wholesalers. Wholesalers have been introducing biofuels since last April by mixing 7 per cent ETBE into gasoline. Plans call for 840 million liters of ETBE to be procured annually from domestic and foreign suppliers by 2010. Trading Markets - January 24, 2007.

    Toyota Tsusho Corp., Ohta Oil Mill Co. and Toyota Chemical Engineering Co., say it and two other firms have jointly developed a technology to produce biodiesel fuel at lower cost. Biodiesel is made by blending methanol into plant-derived oil. The new technology requires smaller amounts of methanol and alkali catalysts than conventional technologies. In addition, the new technology makes water removal facilities unnecessary. JCN Network - January 22, 2007.

    Finland's Metso Paper and SWISS COMBI - W. Kunz dryTec A.G. have entered a licence agreement for the SWISS COMBI belt dryer KUVO, which allows biomass to be dried in a low temperature environment and at high capacity, both for pulp & paper and bioenergy applications. Kauppalehti - January 22, 2007.

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Carbon Trust launches £5 million 'Pyrolysis Challenge' to boost use of bio-oil for biofuels

The Carbon Trust is calling for Expressions of Interest from potential partners within the scientific community to collaborate in the development of a world-class commercially viable pyrolysis oil upgrading process. The Carbon Trust - an independent low carbon economy research company created by the British Government - will potentially invest £5 million (€6.6/US$9.8 million) to one or more commercially-focussed research projects in this area of advanced biofuels over next 3-5 years.

As part of its mission to accelerate the move to a low carbon economy, the Carbon Trust has identified pyrolysis oil from sustainable sources of biomass as having the potential to produce low-cost fuels with low system greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions - if it can be integrated into a conventional refinery.

Pyrolysis is a process in which organic materials - any type of biomass - are heated in absence of air in a reactor (schematic, click to enlarge). Under these conditions, organic vapours, pyrolysis gases and charcoal are produced. Depending on the residence time and the temperature to which the biomass is exposed, varying amounts of these products are obtained (figure, click to enlarge). Under fast pyrolysis (temperatures of 450 - 600 °C), the vapours are condensed to bio-oil and typically, 70-75 wt.% of the feedstock is converted into this oil (also known as 'biocrude' or 'pyrolysis oil').

However, the properties of the bio-oil produced from current fast pyrolysis processes are far from suitable for direct integration. The Pyrolysis Challenge aims to produce oil with the properties required for integration either by modifying the pyrolysis process to produce better quality oil directly; or upgrading the oil before or at the refinery.

The Carbon Trust is therefore seeking a potentially wide range of partners to work with, who will commit an element of matching support to deliver a breakthrough in this area. Partners may include refinery technology developers, catalyst developers and research organisations involved in the study of pyrolysis processes, bioenergy and relevant related disciplines.

Through applied research and development, the expected outcomes of the Pyrolysis Challenge include:
  • Proof of scientific and engineering principle for a novel process for low-cost and low GHG intensity upgrading of biomass pyrolysis oil
  • Complete characterisation of the upgraded oil, including details of characterisation processes and the impact of different feedstocks
  • An assessment of the likely commercial and environmental value of any associated co-products and processes for their exploitation
  • Development of a large lab-scale or small industrial demonstration unit
  • Modelling of the full scale process economics, whole system GHG intensity and key technical parameters
Pyrolysis processes are seen as a leading next-generation biofuel technology, because it can efficiently tap any type of biomass - both waste streams as well as dedicated energy crops - thus overcoming the conflict between food versus fuel. The Pyrolysis Challenge is the first of several potential strands of the Carbon Trust Bioenergy Accelerator, focussed on the sustainable bioenergy challenge.

The Carbon Trust sees bioenergy as the key renewable for delivering emissions reductions (table, click to enlarge):
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::
The recent EU announcement that Britain has to generate 15% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020 changes the entire energy equation for the UK. Energy from sustainable sources of biomass could have a major role in reducing green house gas emissions from transport. However, many ‘first generation’ biofuel supply chains offer only limited reduction in carbon emissions and their adoption has been driven by other factors. The Carbon Trust therefore seeks to increase the rate at which more advanced ‘second generation’ technologies, that do have the potential to deliver sustainable low-carbon biofuels, come to market. - Mark Williamson, Director of Innovations at the Carbon Trust
The Carbon Trust business incubators provide strategic and business development consultancy for early-stage businesses with genuine commercial and technical promise leading to low carbon technologies.

The Carbon Trust is organising a Pyrolysis Challenge workshop, to take place in Central London on the 11th March 2008 to further explain the pyrolysis challenge and opportunity and give researchers a chance to network.

The workshop will be an interactive, practical session, facilitated by an experienced industry figure, designed to generate opportunities for networking and collaboration. The day will begin with an introduction to the Carbon Trust, our support for low-carbon technologies and our rationale for investment in pyrolysis oil upgrading at this time. The Carbon Trust will then outline the process for bidding to carry out the work and take questions from the audience. In addition, an eminent speaker will give their perspective of the challenge and opportunity. The organisation will then conduct facilitated brainstorming discussions around how to develop interdisciplinary consortia, how to encourage and develop latent capability and the best models for commercial exploitation of the results.

The Carbon Trust is an independent company set up by government in response to the threat of climate change, to accelerate the move to a low carbon economy by helping organisations reduce their carbon emissions and by developing commercial low carbon technologies. The Carbon Trust works with UK business and the public sector through its work in five complementary areas: insights, solutions, innovations, enterprises and investments. Together these help to explain, deliver, develop, create and finance low carbon enterprise.

The Carbon Trust is funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR), the Scottish Government, the Welsh Assembly Government and Invest Northern Ireland.


Carbon Trust: Carbon Trust issues 2nd generation biofuel challenge - February 18, 2008.

Carbon Trust: Technology Accelerator.

Carbon Trust: Incubator Program.

Carbon Trust: Applied Research.

Carbon Trust: Carbon Trust Support for Low Carbon Innovation [*.pdf].

Carbon Trust: An introduction to the Carbon Trust Applied Research Grant Programme [*.pdf].

Carbon Trust: An introduction to the Carbon Trust Incubator Programme [*.pdf].


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