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    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.

    Record warm summers cause extreme ice melt in Greenland: an international team of scientists, led by Dr Edward Hanna at the University of Sheffield, has found that recent warm summers have caused the most extreme Greenland ice melting in 50 years. The new research provides further evidence of a key impact of global warming and helps scientists place recent satellite observations of Greenland´s shrinking ice mass in a longer-term climatic context. Findings are published in the 15 January 2008 issue of Journal of Climate. University of Sheffield - January 15, 2007.

    Japan's Tsukishima Kikai Co. and Marubeni Corp. have together clinched an order from Oenon Holdings Inc. for a plant that will make bioethanol from rice. The Oenon group will invest around 4.4 billion yen (US$40.17 million) in the project, half of which will be covered by a subsidy from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. The plant will initially produce bioethanol from imported rice, with plans to use Hokkaido-grown rice in the future. It will produce 5 million liters per year starting in 2009, increasing output to 15m liters in 2011. The facility will be able to produce as much as 50,000 liters of bioethanol from 125 tons of rice each day. Trading Markets - January 11, 2007.

    PetroSun, Inc. announced today that its subsidiary, PetroSun BioFuels Refining, has entered into a JV to construct and operate a biodiesel refinery near Coolidge, Arizona. The feedstock for the refinery will be algal oil produced by PetroSun BioFuels at algae farms to be located in Arizona. The refinery will have a capacity of thirty million gallons and will produce 100% renewable biodiesel. PetroSun BioFuels will process the residual algae biomass into ethanol. MarketWire - January 10, 2007.

    BlueFire Ethanol Fuels Inc, which develops and operates carbohydrate-based transportation fuel production facilities, has secured capital liquidity for corporate overhead and continued project development in the value of US$15 million with Quercus, an environmentally focused trust. BlueFire Ethanol Fuels - January 09, 2007.

    Some $170 billion in new technology development projects, infrastructure equipment and construction, and biofuel refineries will result from the ethanol production standards contained the new U.S. Energy Bill, says BIO, the global Biotechnology Industry Organization. According to Brent Erickson, BIO's executive vice president "Such a new energy infrastructure has not occurred in more than 100 years. We are at the point where we were in the 1850s when kerosene was first distilled and began to replace whale oil. This technology will be coming so fast that what we say today won't be true in two years." Chemical & Engineering News - January 07, 2007.

    Scottish and Southern Energy plc, the UK's second largest power company, has completed the acquisition of Slough Heat and Power Ltd from SEGRO plc for a total cash consideration of £49.25m. The 101MW CHP plant is the UK’s largest dedicated biomass energy facility fueled by wood chips, biomass and waste paper. Part of the plant is contracted under the Non Fossil Fuel Obligation and part of it produces over 200GWH of output qualifying for Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs), which is equivalent to around 90MW of wind generation. Scottish & Southern Energy - January 2, 2007.

    PetroChina Co Ltd, the country's largest oil and gas producer, plans to invest 800 million yuan to build an ethanol plant in Nanchong, in the southwestern province of Sichuan, its parent China National Petroleum Corp said. The ethanol plant has a designed annual capacity of 100,000 tons. ABCMoneyNews - December 21, 2007.

    Mexico passed legislation to promote biofuels last week, offering unspecified support to farmers that grow crops for the production of any renewable fuel. Agriculture Minister Alberto Cardenas said Mexico could expand biodiesel faster than ethanol. More soon. Reuters - December 20, 2007.

    Oxford Catalysts has placed an order worth approximately €700,000 (US$1 million) with the German company Amtec for the purchase of two Spider16 high throughput screening reactors. The first will be used to speed up the development of catalysts for hydrodesulphurisation (HDS). The second will be used to further the development of catalysts for use in gas to liquid (GTL) and Fischer-Tropsch processes which can be applied to next generation biofuels. AlphaGalileo - December 18, 2007.

    According to the Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística (IBGE), Brazil's production of sugarcane will increase from 514,1 million tonnes this season, to a record 561,8 million tonnes in the 2008/09 cyclus - an increase of 9.3%. New numbers are also out for the 2007 harvest in Brazil's main sugarcane growing region, the Central-South: a record 425 million tonnes compared to 372,7 million tonnes in 2006, or a 14% increase. The estimate was provided by Unica – the União da Indústria de Cana-de-Açúcar. Jornal Cana - December 16, 2007.

    The University of East Anglia and the UK Met Office's Hadley Centre have today released preliminary global temperature figures for 2007, which show the top 11 warmest years all occurring in the last 13 years. The provisional global figure for 2007 using data from January to November, currently places the year as the seventh warmest on records dating back to 1850. The announcement comes as the Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), Michel Jarraud, speaks at the Conference of the Parties (COP) in Bali. Eurekalert - December 13, 2007.

    The Royal Society of Chemistry has announced it will launch a new journal in summer 2008, Energy & Environmental Science, which will distinctly address both energy and environmental issues. In recognition of the importance of research in this subject, and the need for knowledge transfer between scientists throughout the world, from launch the RSC will make issues of Energy & Environmental Science available free of charge to readers via its website, for the first 18 months of publication. This journal will highlight the important role that the chemical sciences have in solving the energy problems we are facing today. It will link all aspects of energy and the environment by publishing research relating to energy conversion and storage, alternative fuel technologies, and environmental science. AlphaGalileo - December 10, 2007.

    Dutch researcher Bas Bougie has developed a laser system to investigate soot development in diesel engines. Small soot particles are not retained by a soot filter but are, however, more harmful than larger soot particles. Therefore, soot development needs to be tackled at the source. Laser Induced Incandescence is a technique that reveals exactly where soot is generated and can be used by project partners to develop cleaner diesel engines. Terry Meyer, an Iowa State University assistant professor of mechanical engineering, is using similar laser technology to develop advanced sensors capable of screening the combustion behavior and soot characteristics specifically of biofuels. Eurekalert - December 7, 2007.

    Lithuania's first dedicated biofuel terminal has started operating in Klaipeda port. At the end of November 2007, the stevedoring company Vakaru krova (VK) started activities to manage transshipments. The infrastructure of the biodiesel complex allows for storage of up to 4000 cubic meters of products. During the first year, the terminal plans to transship about 70.000 tonnes of methyl ether, after that the capacities of the terminal would be increased. Investments to the project totaled €2.3 million. Agrimarket - December 5, 2007.

    New Holland supports the use of B100 biodiesel in all equipment with New Holland-manufactured diesel engines, including electronic injection engines with common rail technology. Overall, nearly 80 percent of the tractor and equipment manufacturer's New Holland-branded products with diesel engines are now available to operate on B100 biodiesel. Tractor and equipment maker John Deere meanwhile clarified its position for customers that want to use biodiesel blends up to B20. Grainnet - December 5, 2007.

    According to Wetlands International, an NGO, the Kyoto Protocol as it currently stands does not take into account possible emissions from palm oil grown on a particular type of land found in Indonesia and Malaysia, namely peatlands. Mongabay - December 5, 2007.

    Malaysia's oil & gas giant Petronas considers entering the biofuels sector. Zamri Jusoh, senior manager of Petronas' petroleum development management unit told reporters "of course our focus is on oil and gas, but I think as we move into the future we cannot ignore the importance of biofuels." AFP - December 5, 2007.

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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

World's most efficient CHP station uses biomass: a look at Denmark's Avedore 2 multi-fuel plant

In September 1994, Denmark's Energy Agency approved plans for the construction of a highly efficient combined heat and power (CHP) plant, to be built by Energi E2 and Vattenfall. The 570MW Avedore 2 plant, situated on the coast just south of Copenhagen, was approved on the condition that its owner, SK Power, decommission three older coal-fired power plants to reduce net emissions of CO2 (10%), NOx (20%) and SO2 (30%). Avedore 2 was unique in its design because it was conceived as a multi-fuel plant from the start, capable of using natural gas, coal and biomass. In 1996, Denmark's government banned the use of coal. And so Avedore proved to be a safe bet, by switching entirely to biomass and gas. Today, renewable biomass is the plant's main fuel.

Flexibility and efficiency

The switch was helped by a spike in natural gas prices in the late 1990s. Originally, gas was expected to contribute 85% of Avedore 2's total fuel consumption in the main boiler. Rocketing gas prices favored biofuels, so in early 2001 biomass was decided upon for the main fuel source.

Avedore 2, inaugurated in 2002, made the green switch successfully and is now a set of superlatives: it is the world's largest biomass power plant as well as the cleanest and most efficient cogeneration power station. It meets the heating demands of 200,000 households and supplies electricity to over 1.3 million homes (Denmark has a population of 5.47 million). The green plant covers more than 20% of Eastern Denmark's needs - the most densely populated region of the country - and supplies 570MW of heat to Greater Copenhagen's district heating system. The combined heat and power efficiency comes in at a whopping 95%.

Today the impressive Avedore 2 station is owned by Dong Energy, Denmark's largest energy company, partly state owned and the result of a merger between Dong, Elsam, Energi E2, Nesa and the electrical departments of two major utilities.

The 44MWe biomass plant provides the baseload for the power station, while two 55MWe gas turbines work as a peak load facility, which means they are started up when there is additional demand for electricity - usually in the mornings and evenings. The 'heart' of the power station is the USC (Ultra Super Critical) facility which comprises a boiler, steam turbine, generator and flue gas cleaning plant (see cutaway, click to enlarge).

By increasing steam pressure and temperature to exceptionally high levels it ensures very efficient fuel use. This means Avedore 2 uses less fuel to generate one kilowatt-hour than older generators. It uses about 50% of the energy in the fuel to generate electricity compared with only 35% fuel utilisation in older units. Connecting all the systems together creates a synergy that means the total output is greater than all the individual parts. This is what makes the facility the most flexible and energy efficient CHP plant of its kind in the world.

Biomass supplies
The key to Avedore 2's clean power generation is its reliance on renewable biomass as a fuel. The high volumes of biofuels consumed helps the state owned energy company to comply with the Danish Parliament's Biomass Action Plan. This set a target of 1.2 million tonnes of straw and 0.2 million tonnes of wood chips to be burned annually. Half of the target must be met by eastern Denmark, and Avedore 2 alone accounts for more than a quarter. The Biomass Action Plan, approved already in 1993, puts the country on track to meet its EU obligations which call, in Denmark's case, for 30% of renewable energy by 2020. Denmark today already generates 17% of all its energy from renewables, making it one of the EU's green energy leaders. Avedore 2 significantly contributes to this achievement.

The biofuel at Avedore 2 comes in the form of straw bales and pellets, each contributing around half of the total amount of biomass burned in the station. Last year, Avedore 2 consumed 172,000 tonnes of straw bales, including hay from rape, cereals and ryegrass from 500 different farms in eastern Denmark. Every day, Avedore 2 handles 65 lorry-loads of 24 bales. Currently these loads weigh about 12 tonnes, but with the increased density from a new generation of efficient balers the payload is expected to increase by at least 20 percent, further improving the efficiency of the operation:
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

The straw-fired biomass facility consists of a boiler, straw store, ash separator and a system for handling the bottom and fly ash. The straw store holds enough bales to run the plant for two to three days, with deliveries arriving from Monday until noon on Saturday, every week.

The whole biomass side of the plant - cranes, straw lines and feeding system - is designed exclusively to handle bale dimensions of 1.2m x 1.2m x 2.5m. According to Pernille Harder Andersen, information officer at the plant, the higher density and heavier packages made by the latest balers will be of great benefit to the operations, helping to further improve efficiency - simply because the straw lines will be able to handle more material. The bale size choice also reflects years of experience from farmers and contractors baling straw for industrial and other uses.

The plant will accept bales with moisture contents up to 24 percent and farms are expected to store them under cover until they are required. Bales are then transported to Avedore 2 on lorries stacked with 24 bales laid across the bed in two layers. On arrival, the trucks are unsheeted on a special gantry. Then the truck moves to the unloading area where the bales are weighed and ultra-sonic sensors are used to check the moisture content.

If the moisture content is within the parameters, the operator, sitting high up in a control room, uses an over-head crane to lift off each layer of 12 bales in one go. He then stacks the bales in the storage area in a particular pattern, which is critical because from now on all the handling is carried out automatically.

Two special straw 'tables' feed the bales onto four straw lines that convey the MF 'Hesston' bales into the process. First job is to remove the strings, which are cut and stripped off before the bale feeds into contra-rotating peg rollers that loosen the material before it is blown into the boiler.

According to Harder Andersen, it is actually very difficult to combust straw because its silicates are very corrosive. So it took quite a while to perfect the system and get it running as efficiently as it does today. The steam generated by the biomass boiler is directed to the central turbine, which makes much better use of the energy in the fuel compared with using a separate steam turbine.

Dong Energy is Denmark’s largest power generator, 73 percent state owned. The company produces more than 50% of Denmark’s power and approximately 40% of the district heating. It is also deeply involved in leading European liquid biofuel research, focusing on the utilization of biomass for the cogeneration of power, heat and liquid fuels (previous post).

EU: Denmark renewable energy country file, at Energy.eu.

ELSAM: Biomass to Power in Danish Power Plants [*.pdf].

Power Technology: Avedore multi-fuel power plant, Denmark.

Independent: MF fuels largest biomass boiler - February 5, 2008.


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