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Biofuels News

This page lists current EBTP Press Releases and selected news on biofuels from around the world, as well as a list of links to media on biofuels and related topics.

Recent articles and features on EBTP

New Article: Jan 2013 Bringing Innovative technologies to Market in Energy and Environmental Management

Energy and Environment article

Examples of previous EBTP articles and features

Nov 2011 Biowaste: Driving Fuels - An article produced by the EBTP Secretariat for Waste Managment World on the European Industrial Bioenergy Initiative, with a specific focus on waste feedstocks (e.g. waste wood, biowaste, MSW).

March 2011 - Interview with Lars Christian Hansen on SETIS website

Dec 2010 - Interview with Veronique Hervouet in International Innovation

News achive

View archive of news items from 2007-2008

Biofuels News, R&D Journals and media links

Up-to-date news and information on biofuels is also available from:

Anaerobic Digestion News (covers biogas to biodiesel)
Biobased News
Biodiesel Magazine
Bioenergy Insight
Bioenergy International
Bioenergy Reseach
Bioenergy site, the
Biofpr - Biofuels, bioproducts and biorefining
Biofuels (Future Science)
Biofuels Brazil - a weekly report with the latest facts, figures & market news
Biofuels Business
Biofuels Digest
Biofuels International
Biofuels Journal
Biofuels Media
Biofuels-Tech
Biomass magazine (Biomass Power and Thermal)
Biorefining magazine (Covers biofuels and algae)
Biotechnology for Biofuels
British BioEnergy News
DG Environment - Research News Alert Service

Elsevier Biofuels
Energy Intelligence
Ethanol Market
Ethanol Producer Magazine
European Biodiesel Board
European Energy Innovation (Covers sustainable energy inc. biofuels)
Gas2.0
Green Air Online
(Indepenent news updates on aviation and the environment)
Horizon Magazine (Latest news from the EC Horizon 2020 programme)
Oil and Gas Journal
Technology Networks Agrigenomics page (Covers advanced biofuels)
Teru talk
(conversion of waste to biofuels, bioenergy and other products)

 

Commission launches major investment programme (NER300) for innovative low-carbon technologies, including bioenergy

9th November 2010

This text is based on a Press Release produced by the European Commission

The European Commission launches today the first call for proposals for the world’s largest programme of investment in low carbon and renewable energy demonstration projects. The initiative, known as NER300, will provide substantial financial support for at least eight projects involving carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies and at least 34 projects involving innovative renewable energy technologies.

The aim is to drive low carbon economic development in Europe, creating new 'green' jobs and contributing to the achievement of the EU's ambitious climate change goals. The European Investment Bank (EIB) is collaborating with the Commission in the implementation of the programme.

Companies interested in making proposals have 3 months to submit bids at national level. Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said: "The NER300 is a good example that together, EU 27 can do more than we can individually.

Using revenues from selling of CO2 allowances, around €4.5 billion will be available for innovative renewable energy technologies and CCS. With project sponsors and Member States contributions this will sum up to €9 billion. This can give a needed boost for keeping EU in the frontrunner position when it comes to climate friendly technologies. Europe has the know-how, the ability and the ambition to lead the world in developing the technologies required to tackle climate change.

The NER300 initiative will act as a catalyst for the demonstration of new low carbon technologies on a commercial scale. These and other green technologies are an increasingly important source of future economic growth and jobs. They will also help us meet our ambitious climate targets for 2020 and beyond."

EIB President Philippe Maystadt added: "The EIB is fully committed to helping European Union Member States meet their 2020 climate and energy objectives. We are therefore offering our financial and technical expertise in support of implementation of the NER300 initiative.”

Today's first call for proposals signals the start of implementation of the NER300 initiative. The initiative is so named because it will be funded from the sale of 300 million emission allowances in the New Entrants Reserve (NER) of the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS). At current market prices for emission allowances, the initiative is worth around €4.5 billion, making it the biggest such programme in the world.

Funding is targeted to demonstration projects involving CCS and innovative renewable energy technologies. At least one project, and a maximum of three, will be funded per Member State. Further details of the types of technologies to be funded are given in the Annex. The programme will leverage investments of more than €9 billion as the NER300 initiative will fund up to 50% of the construction and operation costs of the CCS and renewables projects. Project sponsors and Member States will provide the rest of the funding.

NER300 funding can be combined with financing from other EU instruments, including the Structural and Cohesion Funds and the European Energy Programme for Recovery (EEPR). Under the NER300 decision, the EIB is responsible for selling the 300 million allowances and managing and disbursing the proceeds. While details, including the starting date of the sales, are not fixed yet, it is expected that all NER300 allowances will be sold before the start of the third trading period of the EU ETS in January 2013.

The EIB will also undertake detailed financial and technical due diligence of project proposals before making recommendations in the form of a ranking of project proposals to the Commission. The Commission will take the final decision on which projects to co-finance after consulting Member States.

Questions and answers on NER300: see MEMO/10/549

NER300 website

Commission launches public consulation on Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC) and Biofuels
30th July 2010

The EC has launched a public consultation on Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC) and biofuels, which will run From 30/07/2010 to 31/10/2010. Comments are invited from all biofuels stakehdolers and the wider public.

Indirect land use change is a subject of great complexity. The Commission is therefore consulting on a wide basis; seeking advice on both the scale and characteristics of the problem, as well as, if the scale of the problem is significant enough, how it should be addressed.

The Commission has issued several studies on the topic (see link below), together with the consultation document. Interested parties are welcome to base their contributions on these studies, where comments on assumptions, data and methodology are of special interest, as well as on other analytical work. The Commissions is also seeking advice on concrete policy options.

How to submit your contribution

Links to ILUC studies, Consultation document and Instructions on Submitting comments to the EC Consultation on ILUC and Biofuels

 

Commission sets up system for certifying sustainable biofuels
10th June 2010

This text is based on a Press Release produced by the European Commission

The Commission will encourage industry, governments and NGOs to set up certification schemes for all types of biofuels, including those imported into the EU. It laid down what the schemes must do to be recognised by the Commission. This will help implement the EU's requirements that biofuels must deliver substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and should not come from forests, wetlands and nature protection areas. The rules for certification schemes are part of a set of guidelines explaining how the Renewable Energy Directive, coming into effect in December 2010, should be implemented.

Günther Oettinger, Commissioner responsible for Energy, said: "In the years to come, biofuels are the main alternative to petrol and diesel used in transport, which produces more than 20% of the greenhouse gas emissions in the European Union. We have to ensure that the biofuels used are also sustainable. Our certification scheme is the most stringent in the world and will make sure that our biofuels meet the highest environmental standards. It will have positive effects also on other regions as it covers imported biofuels."

The package adopted today consists of two Communications and a Decision which should help businesses and Member States to implement the Renewable Energy Directive. They focus especially on the sustainability criteria for biofuels and what is to be done in order to control that only sustainable biofuels are used.

  • Sustainable Biofuel Certificates: The Commission encourages industry, governments and NGOs to set up "voluntary schemes" to certify biofuel sustainability – and explains the standards these must meet to gain EU recognition. One of the main criteria is that they have independent auditors which check the whole production chain, from the farmer and the mill, via the trader, to the fuel supplier who delivers petrol or diesel to the filling station. The Communication sets standards requiring this auditing to be reliable and fraud-resistant.
  • Protecting untouched nature: The Communication explains that biofuels should not be made from raw materials from tropical forests or recently deforested areas, drained peatland, wetland or highly biodiverse areas – and how this should be assessed. It makes it clear that the conversion of a forest to a palm oil plantation would fall foul of the sustainability requirements.
  • Promote only biofuels with high greenhouse gas savings: The Communication reiterates that Member States have to meet binding, national targets for renewable energy and that only those biofuels with high greenhouse gas savings count for the national targets, explaining also how this is calculated. Biofuels must deliver greenhouse gas savings of at least 35% compared to fossil fuels, rising to 50% in 2017 and to 60%, for biofuels from new plants, in 2018.

Background:

The 2009 Renewable Energy Directive sets an overall EU target of 20% renewable energy in total energy consumption by 2020, translated into binding national targets for Member States. Every Member States has to reach individual national targets for the overall share of renewable energy. In addition, in the transport sector, all Member States have to reach the same target of a 10% share of renewable energy.

Renewables include solid biomass, wind, solar energy and hydro power as well as biofuels. Only biofuels that meet the EU's sustainability requirements can count towards the targets in the Directive.

The following three documents can be found on the biofuels sustainability criteria page of the Europa website:

  • Communication on voluntary schemes and default values in the EU biofuels and bioliquids sustainability scheme
  • Communication on the practical implementation of the EU biofuels and bioliquids sustainability scheme and on counting rules for biofuels and
  • Decision on guidelines for the calculation of land carbon stocks

Directive 2009/28 of 23 April 2009 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources

Individual national targets for renewable energy: Annex I, Directive 2009/28 on renewable sources

 

US DoE announces nearly $80 million investment for advanced biofuels research and fueling infrastructure
January 13, 2010

This text is based on a Press Release produced by US DoE

U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu has announced the investment of nearly $80 million under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for advanced biofuels research and fueling infrastructure that will help support the development of a clean sustainable transportation sector.  The selections announced today – two biofuels consortia for up to $78 million to research algae-based and other advanced biofuels - are part of the Department’s continued effort to spur the creation of the domestic bio-industry while creating jobs.  

Two cross-functional groups will seek to break down critical barriers to the commercialization of algae-based and other advanced biofuels such as green aviation fuels, diesel, and gasoline that can be transported and sold using today’s existing fueling infrastructure. The selected projects consist of leading scientists and engineers from universities, private industry, and government, and will facilitate sharing expertise and technologies.

The two consortia selected for funding are:  

National Alliance for Advanced Biofuels and Bioproducts (NAABB) ($44 million) - Led by the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center (St. Louis, MO), NAABB will develop a systems approach for sustainable commercialization of algal biofuel (such as renewable gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel) and bioproducts. NAABB will integrate resources from companies, universities, and national laboratories to overcome the critical barriers of cost, resource use and efficiency, greenhouse gas emissions, and commercial viability. It will develop and demonstrate the science and technology necessary to significantly increase production of algal biomass and lipids, efficiently harvest and extract algae and algal products, and establish valuable certified co-products that scale with renewable fuel production. Co-products include animal feed, industrial feedstocks, and additional energy generation. Multiple test sites will cover diverse environmental regions to facilitate broad deployment.  

National Advanced Biofuels Consortium (NABC) (up to $33.8 million) - Led by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, NABC will conduct cutting-edge research to develop infrastructure compatible, biomass-based hydrocarbon fuels. The R&D strategy includes investigating six process options:

  • fermentation
  • catalytic conversion
  • catalytic fast pyrolysis
  • hydropyrolysis
  • hydrothermal liquefaction
  • low-cost one-step syngas to distillates

The result will be a sustainable, cost-effective production process that maximizes the use of existing refining and distribution infrastructure. NABC will investigate a variety of process strategies and down select to those closest to larger scale demonstration. The NABC plans to further develop these strategies to deliver a pilot-ready process, with full lifecycle analysis to measure the environmental benefits.  

Collectively, these consortia will be matched by private and non-federal cost-share funds of more than $19 million for total project investments of over $97 million.  

Project descritpion and partners

 

Commission calls for additional €50bn investment in low carbon technologies, including €9bn for bioenenergy/biofuels
October 7, 2009

The European Commission has called upon public authorities, business, and researchers to join efforts to develop by 2020 the necessary technologies to address climate change, secure EU energy supply and ensure the competitiveness of our economies. In a proposal on "Investing in the development of low-carbon energy technologies", the Commission estimates that an additional investment of €50 billion in energy technology research will be needed over the next 10 years. This means almost tripling the annual investment in the European Union, from €3 to €8 billion.

This represents a step forward in the implementation of the European Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET-Plan), the technology pillar of the EU's energy and climate policy. Different sources of funding are considered, from public and private sectors at national and EU level, to be used in a coordinated way will also help to push forward a fast growing industrial sector and to create jobs

Biofuels and bioenergy are one of the key sectors addressed by the SET Plan, and the proposal states that the EU "has to bring to commercial maturity the most promising technologies, in order to permit large-scale, sustainable production of advanced biofuels and highly efficient combined heat and power from biomass.

Different bio-energy pathways are at various stages of maturity. For many, the most pressing need is to demonstrate the technology at the appropriate scale – pilot plants, pre-commercial demonstration or full industrial scale. Up to 30 such plants will be needed across Europe to take full account of differing geographical and climate conditions and logistical constraints. A longer term research programme will support the development of a sustainable bio-energy industry beyond 2020."

The proposal on development of low-carbon energy technologies indicates that the total public and private investment needed in Europe [for sustainable bioenergy demonstration] over the next 10 years is estimated as €9 bn. By 2020, the contribution to the EU energy mix from cost-competitive bio-energy used in accordance with the sustainability criteria of the new RES directive could be at least 14%. More than 200 000 local jobs could be created.

EU Commissioner for Science and Research, Janez Potočnik, said: " Up-grading investment in research in clean technologies is urgent if Europe is to make the road to Copenhagen and beyond cheaper. With today's estimates, the Commission wants to make the SET Plan a springboard to leap into a low carbon economy, which is only possible if public and private actors pool resources in a coherent way. Increasing smart investments in research today is an opportunity to develop new sources of growth, to green our economy and to ensure the EU's competitiveness when we come out of the crisis. "

The Commissioner for Energy, Andris Piebalgs, said: "Previous industrial revolutions have proved that the right technologies can transform for the better the way we live. Today we have a unique opportunity to change an energy model based on polluting, scarce and risky fossil fuels, into a clean, sustainable and less dependent one. All depends on choosing the right technologies ".

“ The investment needs to develop clean and renewable energies can only be met through a wide range of financial instruments. The Commission and the EIB have already significantly increased funding for this purpose. But we need to mobilise more public and private sector funds. We propose to reinforce the Risk Sharing Finance Facility, further support venture capital and develop the Marguerite and other funds, ” said Joaquin Almunia, Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs.

Key technologies and activities to be financed

The Commission, together with industry and the research community, has drawn up technology 'roadmaps' which identify key low carbon technologies with strong potential at EU level in six areas: wind, solar, electricity grids, bioenergy, carbon capture and storage (CCS) and sustainable nuclear fission. The additional costs would cover basic and applied research, demonstration and early market take up, excluding deployment activities. A new initiative on energy efficiency for up to 30 cities ('Smart Cities Initiative') has been proposed as first enabler for the mass market take–up of energy efficiency, renewables and energy network technologies.

A shared responsibility for cost effectiveness

The Commission calls for a coordinated and complementary action of relevant actors and for more risk-taking appetite. Public support is needed when the level of technological uncertainties and market risk is high. This should act as an incentive for the industry's involvement, supported by a stronger investment of banks and private investors into the companies that will drive the transition to a low carbon economy. The EIB intervention to increase lending to finance the SET Plan is also considered.

Further information

Investing in the Development of Low Carbon Technologies (SET PLan)

SET plan

JRC support to the SET Plan

Strategic Energy Technologies Information System (SETIS)

See also MEMO/09/437 – Questions and answers

 

Construction starts on world's first BioDME plant, and Swedish Energy R&D Board approves €49 million for industrial scale demonstartion plant for BioDME and Biomethanol
September 18/September 28, 2009

On September 18, His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden broke ground for the world's first plant for the production of BioDME. The plant will be built by Chemrec, within the company's development unit located at the Smurfit Kappa paper mill in Piteå, Sweden.

The pilot plant is expected to begin production in July 2010 with a capacity of about 4 tons (1,600 gallons) per day using forest residues as feedstock. The plant is being constructed as part of the BioDME project with consortium members Chemrec, Haldor Topsøe, Volvo, Preem, Total, Delphi and ETC. The project is supported by the Swedish Energy Agency and the EU's Seventh Framework Programme. The estimated cost of the plant is around SEK 150 million (EUR 14 million, USD 20 million).

On September 28, the Swedish Energy R&D Board approved an investment grant for demonstration in industrial scale of the Chemrec technology for production of the BioDME and Biomethanol. The plant will be built at the Domsjö Fabriker biorefinery in Örnsköldsvik. The investment grant of up to SEK 500 million (49 million, $73 million) is contingent on approval by the EU Directorate General for Competition according to the State aid rules.

The plant is based on the Chemrec technology for black liquor gasification combined with technology from the petrochemical industry. Investment cost is calculated at about SEK 3 billion (300 million, $440 million) for a capacity of about 100 000 tons or 40 million gallons per year of the renewable motor fuels BioDME and Biomethanol. During the pre-feasibility study phase liquor from Domsjö Fabriker has been gasified in the Chemrec development plant in Piteå with very good results. Extensive front-end engineering and design work will now be done to provide a solid foundation for final decision on project procurement planned for the fall of 2010.

The Domsjö plant will have the capacity to supply well over 2000 heavy trucks with fuel. With fully implemented renewable fuels production at all pulp mills in Sweden, half of all heavy road transports could be propelled by BioDME. The technology can replace half of all fuels used for heavy road transports with BioDME and Biomethanol. At the same time total Swedish fossil carbon dioxide emissions would be reduced by 10% or about 6 million tons and replace fossil fuel imports worth about SEK 10 billion ( 1 billion, $1.5 billion) annually. Globally applied the technology has the potential to replace about 30 million tons of diesel oil annually.

Chemrec website

Domsjö Fabriker website

BioDME project website

 

 

US DoE announces $85m Recovery Act funds for development of Algal / Advanced Biofuels Consortia
July 15, 2009

The US D.o.E. has announced that approximately $85 Million in Recovery Act funds are expected to be available for new awards for development of Algal / Advanced Biofuels Consortia.

The proposed consortia will address two primary topic areas: Development of Algal Based Biofuels, and Development of Advanced Cellulosic Biofuels.

Topic Area 1 on algal biofuels covers: Feedstock Supply - Strain Development and Cultivation; Feedstock Logistics - Harvesting and Extraction; and Conversion/Production - Accumulation of Intermediate and Synthesis of Fuels and Co-products

Topic Area 2 covers Advanced Infrastructure Compatible Biofuels. "Proposed technologies are expected to be 'Next Generation' and, optimally address issues related to cost, conversion efficiencies, energy density, performance attributes, sustainability, and greenhouse gas footprint."

"The conversion feedstock is intended to be cellulosic, but non-food natural oils will be considered. It is highly desirable that the technology proposed for development by the Advanced Biofuels Consortium be advanced to the stage where it is ready to undergo Process Development Unit (PDU) scale testing by the end of year three."

Proposed consortia must be led by a US-based organisation, but foreign participants are eligible as sub-recipients within the Consortium provided that they do not exceed more than 20% of the Total Project Costs and are able to fund 20% of their costs. This could potentially include biofuels research organisations based in Europe.

All enquiries regarding this tender should be made through FedConnect

Funding Opportunity Announcement Number: DE-FOA-0000123

pdf icon Download tender document (450 kb)

 

 

Exxon Mobil announces $600m R&D programme to develop biofuels from algae in alliance with Synthetic Genomics Inc
July 14, 2009

This text is based on a Press Release produced by Exxon Mobil

Exxon Mobil Corporation announced today an alliance with leading biotech company, Synthetic Genomics Inc. (SGI), to research and develop next generation biofuels from photosynthetic algae.

Dr. Emil Jacobs, vice president of research and development at ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company, said, “Meeting the world’s growing energy demands will require a multitude of technologies and energy sources. We believe that biofuel produced by algae could be a meaningful part of the solution in the future if our efforts result in an economically viable, low net carbon emission transportation fuel.”

ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company has entered into a research and development alliance with SGI, a privately held company focused on developing genomic-driven solutions and founded by genome pioneer, Dr. J. Craig Venter7, to develop advanced biofuels from photosynthetic algae that are compatible with today’s gasoline and diesel fuels.

Under the program, if research and development milestones are successfully met, ExxonMobil expects to spend more than $600 million, which includes $300 million in internal costs and potentially more than $300 million to SGI.

Added Jacobs: “After considerable study, we have determined that the potential advantages and benefits of biofuel from algae could be significant. Among other advantages, readily available sunlight and carbon dioxide used to grow the photosynthetic algae could provide greenhouse gas mitigation benefits. Growing algae does not rely on fresh water and arable land otherwise used for food production. And lastly, algae have the potential to produce large volumes of oils that can be processed in existing refineries to manufacture fuels that are compatible with existing transportation technology and infrastructure.”

Exxon Mobil website

Synthetic Genomics Inc (SGI) website

 

 

Dow announces plans to work with Algenol on pilot-scale algae-based integrated biorefinery to convert CO2 into ethanol
June 29, 2009

This text is reproduced from a Press Release produced by Dow Chemical Company

The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE: DOW) announced today that it plans to work with Algenol Biofuels, Inc. to build and operate a pilot-scale algae-based integrated biorefinery that will convert CO2 into ethanol. The facility is planned to be located at Dow's Freeport, Texas site.

Algenol's technology uses CO2, salt water, sunlight and non-arable land to produce ethanol. Dow, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) and Membrane Technology & Research, Inc. are contributing science, expertise, and technology to the project. Their combined expertise offers new and innovative technology, with the opportunity for creating a breakthrough process for ethanol production.

Algenol submitted its formal request last week to obtain a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy for financial support to successfully conduct the pilot. Upon approval of the grant, Dow and the other collaborators will work with Algenol to demonstrate the technology at a level to sufficiently prove that it can be implemented on a commercial scale.

In addition to leasing the land for the pilot-scale facility, Dow plans to develop the advanced materials and specialty films for the photobioreactor system. In addition, Dow will also provide the technology and expertise related to water treatment solutions and will provide Algenol with access to a CO2 source for the biorefinery from a nearby Dow manufacturing facility. The CO2 will be supplied to the algae in the photobioreactors and will serve as the carbon source for the ethanol produced. The result is a CO2 capture process which converts industrially derived CO2 into more sustainable fuels and chemicals.

Dow website

Algenol website

 

OPTFUEL paves the way towards large scale production of 2nd-generation biofuels
June 16, 2009

OPTFUEL, a European research consortium on 2nd-generation biofuels, aims to demonstrate ‘optimized fuels for sustainable transport’ and pave the way for the large-scale production of 2nd-generation biofuels for transportation based on wood and forestry residues.

Ten partners from five countries are pooling their skills to optimise the production of BtL liquids over this three-and-a-half year demonstration project, which is supported with €7.8 million of funding under the 7th RTD Framework Programme.

The OPTFUEL project comprises of the automotive companies Ford, Renault and Volkswagen (Coordinator), the Freiberg-based systems engineering company, CHOREN INDUSTRIES, CONCAWE, representing the European mineral oil industry, british plant designer Invensys, representatives of research institutes, IFP (France), CERTH (Greece), IITD (India) and the german project developer SYNCOM.

The OPTFUEL project will establish the technical basis for large-scale production of BtL liquids, up to 200,000 tons per year of liquid products from wood residues. The BtL demonstration will begin with the cultivation of 200 hectares of fast-growing willow, poplar, and robinia on land that is located near Choren Industries’ existing pilot plant in Freiberg, Germany. Performance data from the Freiberg pilot plant will be modelled to identify improvement opportunities compared to the current production processes and to create the technical basis for a large-scale BtL production facility.

Using BtL products manufactured in the Freiberg plant, the car companies and oil industry will work together to blend the BtL liquids and evaluate their exhaust emissions performance in current and future engine technologies. Earlier projects have shown that considerable reductions in exhaust emissions can be achieved for vehicles operating on neat BtL liquids.

In addition, the consortium project will evaluate the economic aspects and the potential to reduce energy and greenhouse emissions from all parts of the BtL production process. Technical issues associated with wood plantations for energy applications will also be thoroughly examined. "BtL is one of the biofuels which can make a substantial contribution towards maintaining individual mobility. Therefore OPTFUEL is part of the fuel and powertrain strategy of Volkswagen," says Dr. Frank Seyfried, head of the department for fuels and fuel cells in the group research of Volkswagen.

OPTFUEL website

 

 

Chemrec black liquor gasifier reaches 10000 operating hours producing green syngas
June 12, 2009

This text is reproduced from a Press Release produced by Chemrec, Sweden

The Chemrec development plant in Piteå, Sweden has now reached 10000 accumulated operating hours. Chemrec's plant is the only gasification plant world-wide producing high-quality synthesis gas based on 100 % renewable feedstock. The syngas will be used to produce second generation green motor fuels.

The development plant, DP-1, has a capacity of 20 metric tons of solids per day, is oxygen-blown and has an operating pressure of 30 bar(g). It gasifies black liquor, a by-product in the kraft process, using the Chemrec entrained-flow, high temperature technology. This technology is unique in that from a renewable feedstock in a single step it achieves full char conversion and produces a gas which is very low in methane and tars, essential characteristics of synthesis gas for production of synthetic motor fuels or chemicals.

The results achieved in DP-1 are being used in the current scale-up of the technology to full commercial size gasifier units for 500 metric tons of solids per day. The full-scale technology has in several independent evaluations been shown to provide uniquely high greenhouse gas emission reductions and energy efficiency and provide an opportunity for a very substantial second generation biofuels production.

In a separate activity, the BioDME project, Chemrec together with partners is adding a technical demonstration plant for production of dimethyl ether, DME, to the DP-1 facility. The DME, a high performance second generation diesel fuel, will be used in fleet trials with heavy truck by AB Volvo.

Pictures of the DP-1 plant

Chemrec website

BioDME project website

Find out more about BioDME

Shell Service Station is first in world to sell Gasoline blended with 10% Cellulosic Ethanol from Wheat Straw
June 10, 2009

This text is reproduced from a Press Release produced by IOGEN Corporation, Canada

For one month starting June 10, the regular gasoline purchased at a Shell service station in Ottawa, Ontario will contain 10% cellulosic ethanol. The biofuel is produced locally from non-food raw materials at Iogen Energy Corporation’s demonstration plant, using advanced conversion processes. Iogen and Shell are partners in the plant, which now produces 40,000 litres of fuel per month.

“We’re proud of this world-first,” said Brian Foody, Chief Executive Officer of Iogen Corporation. “Building a demo plant is one thing but you then need to go through the process of operating the new technology at scale, learning, modifying and lowering costs. With the volumes we’re producing today, we’re confident about the future.”

pdf icon View full Press Release

Iogen Corporation website

Royal Dutch Shell website

European Algae Biomass Association EABA to be launched at June conference
May 12, 2009

This text is reproduced from a Press Release produced by the European Algae Biomass Association EABA

The European Algae Biomass Association EABA will be officially launched during the 1st EABA Conference – General Assembly to be be held next June 3-4th, 2009 in Florence, Italy.

The University of Florence and the EBB - European Biodiesel Board, together with number of major stakeholders of the EU algae sector have announced the launching of the European Algae Biomass Association – EABA. The EABA was founded in order to foster synergies among science and industry, while cooperating with decision makers for the promotion of development in research and technology
in the field of algae.

Algae and aquatic biomass are increasingly raising the interest of the scientific community, industry representatives as well as political decision makers as they represent one of the most promising renewable sources for a wide range of third-generation low-carbon applications in the field of renewable energies, biofuels (including jet fuels), nutrients, pharmaceuticals, animal feed or bio-based products (bio-plastics, bio-cosmetics, etc.).

In all these sectors, algae and aquatic biomass hold an outstanding potential to achieve a real revolution towards a fully sustainable economy. Algae have the potential to grow and produce impressive amounts of biomass using for instance sea water (i.e. a virtually unlimited raw material) and reduced surfaces (even of unproductive land) where a bio-reactor or a pond can be installed to grow algae.

Today this could be already feasible, but number of technical, legal and scientific obstacles still need to be solved in order to bring down the final price of algae biomass to an economic level and to produce a fully reliable quality product. This needs to be improved seriously, avoiding overenthusiastic announcements and promoting efficient and responsible research. This is the objective of the newly founded EABA, which aims at supporting the efforts of the various actors in the algae sector in order to make this happen.

Further information

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US Announces Nearly $800 Million from Recovery Act to Accelerate Biofuels Research and Commercialization
May 05, 2009

This text is reproduced from a news item released by the US D.o.E., Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)

As part of the ongoing effort to increase the use of domestic renewable fuels, U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu today announced plans to provide $786.5 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to accelerate advanced biofuels research and development and to provide additional funding for commercial-scale biorefinery demonstration projects.

"Developing the next generation of biofuels is key to our effort to end our dependence on foreign oil and address the climate crisis—while creating millions of new jobs that can't be outsourced," Secretary Chu said. "With American investment and ingenuity—and resources grown right here at home—we can lead the way toward a new green energy economy."

The U.S Department of Energy (DOE) Biomass Program will leverage DOE's national laboratories, universities, and the private sector to help improve biofuels reliability and overcome key technical challenges, with the goal of creating third-generation biofuels like green gasoline, diesel, and jet fuels.

The $786.5 million in Recovery Act funding is a mix of new funding opportunities and additional funding for existing projects. It will be allocated across four main areas.

  • $480 Million Solicitation for Integrated Pilot- and Demonstration-Scale Biorefineries. DOE anticipates making 10 to 20 awards for refineries at various scales and designs, all to be operational in the next three years.
  • $176.5 Million for two Commercial-Scale Biorefinery Projects
  • $110 Million for Fundamental Research in Key Program Areas
       * Sustainability research
       * demonstration of infrastructure-compatible biofuels
       * algal biofuels consortium
  • $20 Million for Ethanol Research

Further information

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Climate Change: 2050 - the future begins today. MEPs vote to adopt key resolution on energy, including future development of biofuels

The European Parliament resolution of 4 February 2009 on “2050: The future begins today – Recommendations for the EU's future integrated policy on climate change” (2008/2105(INI)) has been adopted by MEPs.

This report sets out a range of measures that should be taken in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25-40% by 2020 and a reduction of at least 80% by 2050.

The report advocates that EU and Members States should invest in research on advanced biofuels, among other technologies.

The policy measures for biofuels include:

  • current policy on biofuels must be seen in a global perspective, where on the one hand there is growing competition for productive land and on the other there is an increasing need for renewable energy, in particular in the transport sector,
  • the production of biomass offers many developing countries new economic opportunities for energy production and as a fuel, and will make them less dependent on energy imports, provided that such production is sustainable and does not lead, for example, to monocultures or to competition as regards food production,
  • the emissions reduction potential of many first-generation biofuels in comparison to conventional fuels has been revised downwards, in some cases substantially, following a comprehensive life-cycle analysis, and whereas issues of sustainability, environmental impact and the availability of arable land in competition with food production have still not been satisfactorily resolved,
  • a sustainable biofuels policy should be geared not only to setting sustainability criteria for the manufacture of biofuels but also to promoting the most rapid development possible of second-generation biofuels,
  • the petroleum industry will only put in place the necessary comprehensive infrastructure for new fuels when there is a sufficient demand for biofuels, but the motor industry has made technological advances permitting any mixture of petrol and biofuels to be detected by a sensor in the vehicle, a device which will also enable older vehicles to run on biofuels, thus achieving CO2 emissions reductions over the whole range of existing vehicles,
  • the potential of biofuels can only be realised if they are seen as a component in the development of sustainable transport systems, including the development and use of highly fuel-efficient vehicles,

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European biofuel ambitions and technology needs - European Biofuels Technology Platform highlights promising routes and discusses challenges to overcome to demonstrate innovative sustainable biofuel value chains
27 January 2009

The Renewable Energies Directive and the updated Fuel Quality Directive recently adopted by Council and the European Parliament are setting the framework conditions and resulting challenges to be overcome by economic actors of current and future biofuel value chains. At its 2nd Stakeholder Plenary Meeting held in Brussels on 22 January 2009, the European Biofuels Technology Platform (EBTP) brought together 200 actors from across Europe to discuss promising innovative routes that could bring significant contributions towards achieving the 2020 EU objectives for biofuels. Particular focus was given to the challenges involved in moving from pilot to demonstration, en route to full commercial deployment.

“The European Industrial Initiatives (EIIs) are a central instrument within the Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET-Plan) for accelerating innovation and technology deployment,” said Raffaele Liberali, Director for Energy Research at the European Commission. While acknowledging the specific challenges faced by bioenergy stakeholders (sectoral fragmentation and competition to access feedstocks already or potentially used by other market sectors), he stressed the necessity to come up quickly with a proposal for objectives, activities and commitment from industry, so that the budgetary discussion with Member States can start as soon as possible.

A European Industrial Initiative on Bio-Energy (EII-B) could play an important role to boost the industrial deployment of the most risky and expensive innovative biofuel and bioenergy technologies. The EBTP is committed to contribute to the shaping of this initiative, and is actively preparing a proposal to be presented in the spring of 2009, said Véronique Hervouet (Total), Chair of the Steering Committee of the EBTP.

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View conference proceedings of EBTP 2nd Stakeholder Plenary Meeting, including PDF downloads of all presentations and posters.

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