Displaying items by tag: biofuels

The European Patent Office has granted Borregaard a patent for the key production process behind the company’s BALI project.

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The patent describes the conversion of wood, agricultural waste and other biomasses to advanced biofuels and/or biochemicals, and to water soluble lignin suitable as a raw material for Borregaard’s Performance Chemicals business.
The patent, referred to as “Lignocellulosic Biomass Conversion by Sulphite Pretreatment”, was applied for in December 2009. Similar patent applications, still pending, have been filed in the United States and other countries outside Europe.

boor bio fbr

“We regard this patent as an important element in the work to protect our technology, and also an acknowledgment of the efforts we have made to develop the BALI concept”, says Gisle Løhre Johansen, Senior Vice President R&D and NBD.

BALI is short for Borregaard Advanced Lignin, a concept currently under development at the company’s Sarpsborg site in Norway, in a continuously operated demonstration plant which was started up in 2012. A decision to invest in a full-scale commercial plant will be made in the second half of 2014 at the earliest.

Published in Biofuels
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Friday, 25 October 2013 08:51

Breakthrough in biofuels from wood

Norwegian scientists have made a breakthrough in the production of biofuel from wood. The new process reduces the time that it takes to convert woodchips or sawdust into ethanol from weeks to just hours. This not only makes wood based biofuels economical to make but could reduce the competition between biofuel and food.

biofuels wood fuel“The time when we use food stock to make biofuel to power a car may soon come to an end. Currently, maize and sugar cane are used to produce biofuel,” says Finn Lillelund Aachmann, a biotechnology researcher at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

Aachmann thinks that the desire for people to have environmentally friendly fuel should not be at the expense of food. But turning trees – wood chips and sawdust – into biofuel in hours promises new profitability for the Norwegian forestry and woodprocessing industries, now that the demand for paper is on the decline.

To be a realistic source of biofuel for vehicles wood needs to be converted into fuel within a reasonable time period. Traditional techniques though took weeks to breakdown the tough wood fibre into ethanol The researchers used a new enzyme to do the conversion and the time to produce fuel dropped to just a few hours.

This new enzyme does not do the converting to fuel itself but it breaks down the tough wood coating producing holes that allow other enzymes into the wood.

This super enzyme was discovered by researchers at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences
(UMB). The discovery was published in the international journal Science in 2010. In 2011, the world’s largest enzyme producer, Novozymes, bought the enzyme technology patent from UMB. But the company needed a closer understanding of how the enzyme works.

Ongoing research ny the university using Nuclear magnetic resonance technology has allowed scientists to get an even better understanding of the enzyme and by having a better understanding of the structure the scientists have been able to make further improvements.

NMR technology gives us a new understanding of the super enzyme, which makes it possible for us to improve the use of the enzyme even more. This is of great importance if we are to create a more financially profitable and efficient process for producers,” says Aachmann.

source: http://wildlifenews.co.uk

Published in Forest Bioenergy
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header holmenThe new biomass boiler involves an annual reduction of fossil carbon emissions equivalent to the emissions from more than 58,000 cars, each driven 20,000 kilometres per year. As well as now being self-sufficient in electricity and heat, the mill will also be able to supply both green electricity and heat to local residents. On 28 May the new biomass plant was inaugurated.

With its 400 employees Iggesund Paperboard in Workington is the UK’s only producer of folding box board. Incada, the paperboard made at the mill, is constructed of a central layer made of mechanical pulp produced on site, which gives a low weight combined with high stiffness. The outer layers are made of purchased chemical pulp to create high whiteness and good printability.

"For more than a decade now Iggesund Paperboard has invested to raise the standard of what was originally a very ordinary paperboard mill to one that is state of the art," comments Ola Schultz-Eklund, the mill’s managing director.

Step by step the investments and renovations have raised both the quality and quality consistency of Incada. As a result the mill has found new end uses for its products and gradually improved its profitability.

"In our investment in this new biomass CHP plant, profitability and reduced climate impact go hand in hand," Schultz-Eklund continues. "We know that the cost of fossil-based energy will increase faster than that of biomass, so we regard this investment as a way to stabilise our energy costs.

"At the same time our emissions of fossil carbon dioxide from the production process have now fallen to almost zero, which should reasonably make us an even more interesting option for the large end users, who have more or less promised consumers that they will both declare and reduce the emissions created by the products they sell."

Incada is used for packaging, book and brochure covers, and other graphical applications. Paperboard packaging is a competitive method of protecting goods throughout the distribution chain from producer to consumer.

"We base our production on a renewable raw material that can later be recycled either in material or energy form," Schultz-Eklund concludes. "Our manufacturing process meets high environmental standards and our paperboard is an excellent fit in a society which is increasingly moving towards greater sustainability."

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In order to meet the European Union's goal of 20% renewables by 2020, some European utility companies are moving away from coal and replacing it with wood pellet fuel. The idea is simple: trees will regrow and recapture the carbon released in the burning of wood pellets, making the process supposedly carbon-neutral. But just like other simple ideas, it misses out important details that can turn it on its head.

pellets logistics

The catch is that the process could be carbon neutral only after the trees regrow to the original size. In the case of cutting 100-year old forest, it would take a century. If the forest is clear-cut, it may never regrow, unless replanted. If the new forest plantation is composed by different or fewer tree species, it will most likely store less carbon than the original forest. Finally, if the forest ecosystem was rich and valuable, as for example a wetland forest, its wildlife may be lost forever.

Cutting old-grown forests, wetland forests and clear-cutting is illegal or highly regulated in most of Europe. In the Southern U.S., however, it is perfectly legal. That is where the large wood pellet producers are staging their operations.

A Maryland-based company Enviva is one of the top five largest pellet producers in the US. Its facilities in North Carolina and Mississippi currently produce and export to Europe more than half a million tons of wood pellets every year. The company plans to triple its output in the next few years to meet ever-increasing demand for wood biomass fuel, mainly from European utilities, but also from U.S. power plants.

Enviva claims that it produces wood pellets only from low-grade wood resources such as chips, bark, sawdust by-products, treetops, branches, and other forestry debris remaining after the tree trunks from commercial forests have been shipped for construction material. These unprocessed residues would most likely otherwise go unused as a resource. Additional biomass sources currently include low-grade wood fiber and small logs.

However, North Carolina private loggers and land-owners interviewed for aWall Street Journal investigative reportlast week admitted that trees more than 100 years old, including some from wetlands, does wind up in pellet plants.

"Enviva, now they need wood bad enough that they're paying for some swamp logging," one logger said to the WSJ reporter.

The company did not respond to an information request by Mongabay this week.

Scot Quaranda from Dogwood Alliance, and NGO working on protecting Southern forests, explains that there is little to no regulation impacting the management of forests in the Southern U.S.. Unfortunately, 90% of the forests are privately owned and lack legal protection. Most of the management guidelines that are on the books are completely voluntary and do not include limitations to large-scale clear-cutting, conversion of natural forests to plantations, logging of wetlands, use of toxic chemicals, or logging of endangered forests.

That is why Dogwood Alliance and the Natural Resources Defense Council have launched a new campaign, dubbed Our Forests Aren't Fuel.

"We focus our work on the marketplace, because in the South, big corporations drive both the destruction and changes in forest practices," says Quaranda.

The irony is that European utility companies restrict the import of wood pellets to developed countries such as the U.S. exactly in order to avoid illegal logging.

"The US forest sector is well set up and managed, meets our sustainability criteria and the supplies of sustainable biomass are plentiful," says Melanie Wedgbury from Drax Power—the largest British electrical power generation company.

Last year Drax announced plans to transform itself into a predominantly biomass-fuelled generator. The company is converting three of its six generating units to run on 100% biomass instead of coal. According to aBBC report, Drax will be burning seven million tons of plant material a year.
Read more at http://news.mongabay.com/2013/0606-dimitrova-biomass-eu.html#U3b1rAft4uPF4su0.99


Published in Biofuels
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Friday, 10 May 2013 07:55

Peat Fuel Demand in Special Markets

Peat Resources Limited (the "Company") +14.29% announces that it has engaged IBK Capital Corp. to complete a best efforts private placement of up to $100,000. The placement consists of 2,500,000 units at $0.04 per unit. Each unit consists of one common share and one common share purchase warrant. Each warrant is exercisable for one year from the closing date at an exercise price of $0.05 per common share and for an additional three years at an exercise price of $0.10. IBK will be paid a cash commission of 10% of the amount raised and 10% of the amount raised in broker warrants. Each broker warrant entitles the holder to purchase one common share and is exercisable for one year at $0.05 and for three additional years at $0.10 per share.

The terms of the private placement are according to the TSX Venture Exchange (the "Exchange") Extension and Modification of Temporary Relief from Certain Pricing Requirements Bulletin dated April 12, 2013 and are subject to Exchange approval.

Peat Resources Limited continues to pursue opportunities for its peat fuel pellets in specialty markets and as value-added industrial products such as activated carbon. Activated carbon products are used by large coal-burning power generation companies in the Unites States as an effective component of emission control systems to reduce mercury pollution and for specialty applications in the pharmaceutical, food and beverage industries.

As described in April by CEO Peter Telford, addressing an Ontario Power conference in Toronto, the Company takes the strategic position that bioenergy resources such as peat are most successful in circumstances calling specifically for environmental advantages conferred by the Company's unique wet harvesting process. Peat fuel produced by this method meets European Union criteria for sustainable bioenergy and becomes eligible for various financial incentives to European users of the product. This has raised interest in the Company's resources and operations in Newfoundland that are favourably situated for trans-Atlantic export. Discussions with one party are ongoing regarding the use of peat pellets as a bioenergy fuel for major power generation in Europe.

Dr. Telford also noted how local niche markets are another important opportunity for use of peat fuel and application of the Company's biomass fuel processing technology. These include, for example, remote communities and mining developments of northern Ontario that rely on expensive diesel fuel but which are frequently located close to extensive, accessible peat resources. Peat Resources Limited is currently in discussion with First Nation representatives for the purpose of establishing, in selected communities of northern Ontario, peat-fuelled combined heat-and-power systems of similar scale to the Company's small-scale production facility in Stephenville (Newfoundland).

Similar environmental and economic benefits of peat fuel pellets are part of several promising opportunities in China where, as previously reported, Peat Resources Limited sent a 20 tonne shipment of pellets for demonstration and marketing purposes and where sensitivity to environmental issues has increased.

Peat Resources Limited is a Toronto-based clean energy company that was formed to develop and produce a sustainable peat fuel.

Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

source: marketwatch.com

Published in Biofuels
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The National Trust has announced it is to install a 300kW biomass boiler at Ickworth House which will supply all of its heating needs.

The project is part of five pilot schemes costing a total of £3.5 million, that the National Trust is to invest in over the next year.

If successful the trust will spend ten times that on another 38 properties, generating half of its energy from renewable sources, and halving its fossil fuel consumption by 2020 – saving £4 million a year.

Patrick Begg, Rural Enterprises Director at National Trust, said: “Through our work we show that renewable technologies can be made to work in some of the country’s most sensitive landscapes and historic environments.”

“Like householders everywhere we are facing rising energy bills. We spend more than £6 million each year heating and powering the places in our care.”

“By investing in renewable energy production we can reduce our energy bills and invest more in vital conservation work around the country. It will put renewable energy at the heart of conservation.”

The pilots are being run in conjunction with green electricity supplier Good Energy.

The National Trust’s four million members will also be able to support the programme by signing up for renewable electricity with Good Energy.

The company will pay the Trust £40 per year for each new customer signing up to its dual fuel tariff via the National Trust.

If 5 per cent of member households adopted the tariff it would raise £3.8 million for investment in a low carbon future and see 95,000 households powered by clean, green renewably sourced electricity.

Juliet Davenport, CEO of Good Energy, said: “Britain is blessed with abundant sources of natural power and we hope people will be inspired when they see how National Trust properties can generate renewable power in harmony with the environment.

“Together we hope to inspire people to switch to green electricity, reduce their energy usage and if possible generate their own renewable power at home.”

The National Trust spends nearly £6 million a year to heat and power its estate - 300 major historic houses, plus office buildings, visitor centres and 360 holiday cottages - and without action it forecasts that rising oil and gas prices would take this to £7.5 million by 2020.

However, the renewables investment programme is expected to reduce operational energy costs by £4.3 million from 2019 and provide an expected 10 per cent return on investment, thanks to lower fuel costs and schemes such as the Feed-in Tariff and Renewable Heat Incentive.

Mr Begg said: “A major focus of the programme will be to dramatically reduce the Trust’s reliance on oil from 20 per cent to 3 per cent.

“This not only protects it from volatile and rising prices, but also reduces the risk that oil spills will pollute water courses, gardens and buildings.

“Two of the trial properties, Plas Newydd and Ickworth, are the Trust’s largest users of fuel oil.”

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A European Parliament report into the EU’s proposals for addressing the problem of indirect land use change (ILUC) in its biofuels policy will propose today (17 April) the application of unique ‘factors’ to account for differences in biofuels performance.

These would recognise the specific indirect greenhouse gas emissions estimated to occur due to displaced agricultural cultivation from crops grown for fuel.

“Obviously ethanol will benefit from the introduction of ILUC factors as they have lower values and biodiesel and feedstocks used for them might not meet the sustainability criteria anymore,” said Eric Gall, a spokesman for MEP Corinne Lepage, the Parliament's rapporteur.

The report, to be launched today, says that the EU’s proposed 5% cap on biofuels’ share of the transport mix by 2020 should differentiate between the best and worst performers, when greenhouse gas calcuations are take into account.

EurActiv understands that Lepage’s report will propose introducing sustainability criteria which do this in both the Renewable Energy Directive and the Fuel Quality Directive.

Isabelle Maurizi, project manager for the European Biodiesel Board, told EurActiv yesterday (16 April) that ILUC was “a young science”, and “too immature” to underpin legislation.

But Lepage indicates that she considers it robust enough to be integrated into European law.

At the same time, in order to protect investments, a “grandfathering clause” is proposed until 2017, which would exempt a quantity of biofuels from the ILUC legislation, so long as their market share stands below the 2010 production level, when biofuels had a 4.27% market share. Eighty percent of that is made up of biodiesel. 

As ethanol would still meet the sustainability criteria despite ILUC, it would not be capped.

The grandfathering clause will be extended from 2018 to 2020, measured against 2008 production levels. But public subsidies should stop in 2018 for biofuels that do not bring significant reductions, LePage's report says.

For "advanced” or second-generation biofuels, the report advocates a safeguard clause for woody biomass and agricultural residues. The proposal would be linked to the Framework Directive on Wastes so as to combat fraud, for example the use of cooking oils in biofuels blends.

A multiple counting proposal by the Commission is left in the legislation, while a sub-target of 1.5 % for the use of biofuels in providing electricity for transport is slated.

As an energy efficiency measure, Lepage also proposes a 12% reduction in total energy use in 2020, compared against current projected levels.


Next steps:
1 July 2014: New biofuels installations must meet a 60% greenhouse gas saving threshold


1 Dec. 2017: Biofuels installations in operation before 1 July 2014 must meet a greenhouse gas saving threshold of 35%


31 Dec. 2017: The Commission will submit a review of policy and best scientific evidence on ILUC to the European Parliament and Council


1 Jan. 2018: Biofuels installations in operation before 1 July 2014 must meet a greenhouse gas saviong threshold of 50%


1 Jan. 2020: Deadline for 10% of EU's transport fuels to be sourced from renewable energies.


2020: European Commission will not support further subsidies to biofuels unless they can demonstrate "substantial greenhouse gas savings"


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Wednesday, 17 April 2013 15:02

Sieving silica sieves from biomass ash

shutterBurning biomass for heat and power could produce as much as 2000 TWh by 2020, which would produce 4–15.6 million tonnes of waste ash, per year, in Europe alone. To address the problem of what to do with all this waste, scientists in the UK have developed a method to convert this ash into mesoporous silica.

Although some of the waste ash produced from the combustion of biomass is currently used in construction, most of it ends up in landfill. Therefore, extracting alkali silicates, which can be used in cement, detergents, catalysts and catalyst supports, is one way of reusing the potentially huge quantities of ash due to be produced in the future.

The team, led by Duncan Maquarrie at the University of York, developed an efficient route for extracting the silicates by forming alkali silicate solutions. The silicate solutions were converted into the porous silica, MCM-41, a useful catalyst and molecular sieve. ‘We have to become more sustainable and re-evaluate what we currently call waste,’ says Maquarrie. ‘While most of our work (and most of everyone else’s) has been focused on the organic side of things, it is important to remember that there are always inorganic waste streams and that they can become valuable resources too.’

‘When talking about biomass utilisation, most people would think of the organic part of biomass. However, there are a large portion of inorganics in biomass which have drawn much less attention,’ says Xiaoming Wang, an expert in environmental catalysis from BASF, US. ‘This works sheds light on the future use of inorganic waste from biomass combustion.’

The team hope to expand this work to assess whether the performance of MCM-41 is affected by the silicate source and if ash from plants that have taken up metals during their lifetime can be used to make metal loaded catalysts.

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The Prince of Wales brought his environmental and whisky interests together as he opened a biomass plant and a whisky bottling centre at a 173-year-old distillery on Tuesday.

Charles, known as the Duke of Rothesay in Scotland, was at Glen Grant distillery and the Helius Corde plant in Rothes, Moray at the start of a three-day visit to the north of Scotland.

He met staff and toured the distillery to see how the whisky is matured and bottled.

Wearing a Stuart Hunting kilt and green tweed jacket, Charles unveiled a plaque on a pyramid of whisky barrels outside the distillery and quipped: "Is this the emergency supply?"

The new bottling plant produces 2000 bottles an hour, which are mainly exported to mainland Europe and Asia.

Glen Grant managing director Dennis Malcolm said Charles's visit is the first by a member of the royal family in around 50 years.

"Our last royal visit was by Princess Margaret in 1959 so it was nice to have another member of the family up today to mark the new site," he said.

"The Prince is certainly a big whisky fan and I think he asked more questions about the bottling hall than I've done. He wanted to know how many bottles we can produce in an hour, what we do if it breaks down and where all the bottles go."

At the end of the tour Charles chatted with children from the nearby Rothes primary and nursery school.

Senior nursery nurse May Wilson said the children watched a video earlier in the day, just to make sure they recognise him.

"Most of the nursery children only know about princes from fairytales, so this is a first to actually meet a royal and they loved it," she said.

"He asked them if they enjoyed their Easter holidays and joked that they will all have to wait a long time before they can try whisky."

Earlier in the day Charles had a tour and opened the new Helius Corde heat and power biomass plant, designed to recycle the waste created from making whisky.

It takes pot ale and draff by-product from 12 distilleries around Speyside and recycles it as animal feed. It also creates electricity by burning draff and woodchip.

Operators say it will generate 8.32MW of electricity every year which will be sent back to the National Grid, enough to power 9000 homes.

Alan Lyons, chairman of Helius Corde, said: "The Prince was very much into the fact that we're using recycled woodchip and with our environmental credentials as we aim to maintain low C02 levels. It was a delight to have him here and he really took time to speak to all the workers and showed an interest in what they do and the whole process of the plant."

During the visit to the neighbouring Rothes businesses, Charles was accompanied by Scotch Whisky Association chief executive Gavin Hewitt, who organised the tour.

Mr Hewitt said: "It's been an excellent day and the opening of these new sites shows the strength of the industry, and is great for Rothes and Speyside.

"I was asked to suggest opportunities for a royal visit and I thought this was the ideal site as it has an environmental aspect as well as the traditional whisky making. I knew Prince Charles had a great interest in both those areas and he was particularly impressed by the Helius plant and was fascinated by how it worked.

"He thoroughly enjoyed his visit and always likes to show his support for this particular Scottish industry.

"There were a couple of bottles given to him, one at each site, and I could see the delight in his eye and no doubt he'll add it to his cabinet and can enjoy a wee dram when he puts his feet up later."

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