Brazil hit a record high in ethanol consumption in July. The country’s ethanol industry group, the Union of Sugar Cane Industry Association (UNICA), says Brazilians used 1.55 billion liters, or about 400 million gallons, breaking a previous record of 1.51 billion liters in December 2009.
The national demand for light fuels increased 3.4% compared with July 2014 and 2.75% as compared to the previous month (June / 2015). Meanwhile, C gasoline consumption increased only 2.3% between June and July 2015.
According to UNICA Technical Director, Antonio de Padua Rodrigues, this continued expansion of biofuel consumption reflects the competitive price of the renewable front of its fossil competitor, gasoline.
“In many states, the price parity between hydrous ethanol and gasoline follows at levels lower than the technical ratio of 70% of vehicle efficiency. I draw attention to São Paulo, where the parity stood at around 62% and Mato Grosso with 60%, “noted Rodrigues.
Representatives from 12 African countries gathered in Nairobi recently to discuss the feasibility of establishing the Africa Geothermal Centre of Excellence (AGCE). The center would work to improve the continent’s institutional and infrastructural capacities including bringing and training geothermal scientists an engineers.
Oklaria Geothermal Plant in Kenya.
Around 600 million people in Africa lack access to grid electricity, with the number expected to rise to 700 million by 2030. As a result, the continent is increasingly looking to alternative energy sources to bridge that gap especially geothermal opportunities. With an estimated potential of 20,000 MW, geothermal energy could provide an answer to the continent’s energy shortage.
The majority of the potential energy source remains largely untapped in part due to a lack of skilled workforce. AGCE would address this issue and become the vehicle to training a talented geothermal energy workforce and thus open the doors to sustainable geothermal development.
During the workshop, the attendees reviewed a feasibility study that catalgoues the region’s needs and potential for geothermal. In addition, the group also created AGCE’s vision and developed its long-term sustainability.
The meeting was organized by the United Nation Environment Programme’s (UNEP) African Rift Geothermal Development Facility (ARGeo) and brought together country representatives, African governments, development partners, donors, civil society, private developers, technical institutions and academia. AGCE is expected to be established in Kenya, which is the main hub for geothermal technology on the continent, with a natural laboratory and a major geothermal agency.
Scientists in Scotland have identified which algae are the best for biofuels. This article from the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) says the researchers used a new technique to figure out which ocean-based strains had the highest oil content.
The screening revealed two marine strains, Nannochloropis oceanica and Chlorella vulgaris, which had a dry-weight oil content of more than 50 per cent. This makes them ideal sources of biofuel for vehicles and aircraft.
The results of the screening, part of the BioMara project, have been published in Nature’s online journal Scientific Reports and are likely to help bring forward research into algae as a source of biodiesel and other biofuels by a number of years.
SAMS scientists have demonstrated that Nannochloropsis, for example, is very efficient at converting nutrients, so it has the perfect combination of high levels of oil and high productivity.
The report’s lead author, Dr Stephen Slocombe, SAMS research associate in molecular biology, said: “In order to produce biofuels from micro-algae we will have to generate high yields, so we need to know which strains will produce the most oil.
“While there is a lot of work being done on micro-algae biotechnology – currently around 10,000 researchers across the world – no-one has identified a shortlist of the best performing strains and how their properties could be used.”
The research also identified algae varieties best for the health food industry.
Transportation biofuels use in Europe is up again, thanks in large part to biodiesel. This article from the Brussels Times says biofuels for transport increased by 6.1 percent in 2014 in Europe, following a decrease in the previous year.
It still remains lower than in 2012. Consumption of sustainable biofuels reached its highest level with 12.5 million tep (Mtep – million-ton equivalent of petroleum). The increase in the use of biofuels for European transport is mostly due to biodiesel (+7.8%), whereas consumption of bioethanol remained stable (+0.1%). Biodiesel represented 79.7% of biofuels consumption, and bioethanol 19.1%, when taking into account the energy content (instead of the metric volume).
In Belgium, total biofuels consumption reached 387,599 tep. Biodiesel represented 90.5% of total consumption in 2014, and bioethanol the remaining 9.5%. Like in other EU28 countries, Belgian biofuels were certified 100% sustainable. In Spain and in Estonia this percentage was 0%.
Thus it seems that use of certified sustainable biofuels following criteria established by the European directive Renewable Energies, reached its highest level in 2014, with 12.5 Mtep, 89.4% of total biofuels consumption in the European Union, and 4.3% of EU fuel consumption.
The article went on to point out that oil companies will be some of the biggest drivers in the biofuels market, and they are already the biggest producers of biodiesel.
A Dutch tank terminal has handled half a million tons of oil by rail, thanks in part to biodiesel. This TankTerminal.com story say the Botlek Tank Terminal (BTT) in the Netherlands is part of the company’s vision to provide all modes of transport and is a response to growing customer demand for rail transport.
The rack will initially be used to handle block trains with biodiesel but also palm and soybean oil have already been loaded from BTT’s tanks. The facility can also be used for other vegetable oils like sunflower and rapeseed oil. In future the facility can also be expanded to handle other oil products such as aviation fuels, gasoline and diesel.
The train loading/unloading station has two rail tracks with a length of 340 metres. A block train of 24 wagons can be handled with expansion possibilities up to 30 wagons. With a capacity of 400 tonnes per hour, six wagons can simultaneously be loaded or discharged. BTT offers a 24 hours a day, seven days a week service to their customers and accordingly two block trains per day can be handled.
BTT has 34 storage tanks, with a total storage capacity of 200.000 cubic metre (cbm). Of this capacity 130.000 cbm is suitable for the storage of clean fuels and 70.000 for biodiesel and vegetable oils. The current occupancy of the storage capacity is high. BTT can expand the storage capacity to 750.000 cbm on the new reclaimed land that has been completed last year.
Florida-based Lagosur says it will export biodiesel to Latin America. The company says it has aligned with customers in Peru, Bolivia and Chile to receive shipments of biodiesel and is working to launch various initiatives to bring state-of-the-art biodiesel generation technology to Latin America countries.
“We are proud to extend Lagosur’s business and thought leadership by exporting badly needed biodiesel to parts of Latin America not currently able to generate their own supply,” said Jorge Abukhalil, Lagosur’s Executive Vice President Business Development for Latin American Business. “We look forward to providing further value to our customers across Latin America by helping them to meet the growing energy demands for their business in a way that is both economical as well as environmentally responsible. “
DuPont and Chinese company New Tianlong Industry Co. (NTL) have signed an historic deal that will bring cellulosic ethanol to China. This DuPont news release says the agreement allows NTL to license DuPont’s cellulosic ethanol technology and use DuPont Accellerase enzymes to produce renewable biofuel from the leftover biomass on Jilin Province’s highly productive corn farms.
Combining NTL’s ethanol production expertise with processing technology, technical support and world-class enzymes supplied by DuPont, NTL will be able to produce cellulosic renewable fuel for the rapidly growing Chinese liquid biofuel market, which is projected to exceed 1.7 billion gallons per year by 2020.
“As we bring online the largest and most sophisticated cellulosic facility in the world in the State of Iowa in the United States, we are simultaneously working with leaders who share the same vision of producing the next generation of clean renewable fuels in their region,” said Jan Koninckx, global biofuels leader for DuPont Industrial Biosciences. “We are honored to have found such a strong partner in NTL. The company’s reputation for producing world-class grain ethanol makes it a superior candidate to put DuPont’s advanced technology to work to realize the additional economic and environmental benefits of cellulosic biofuel in China.”
“With its history of scientific innovation, collaboration and commitment to the ethanol industry, DuPont is an ideal partner for New Tianlong in our quest to bring the cleanest renewable fuel on the planet to China,” said SUN Guojing, general manager of NTL. “We look forward to working with DuPont over the coming years as we develop the biomass supply chain, construct a world-class facility, and produce fuel that delivers on the promise of reduced pollution and greenhouse gases. This project will augment our current excellent grade ethanol offerings and business and will make NTL the preeminent biofuel product supplier in China.”
This deal is expected to fill China’s aggressive goals for renewable energy, cutting its reliance on foreign oil and increasing employment opportunities for its large rural population.
Canadians believe in renewable fuels. A recent survey finds 88 percent of Canadians believe more renewable fuels should be produced in Canada and that government should do more to promote the industry. The poll was was commissioned by the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association (CRFA) and shows that 85 percent of respondents feel pride in Canada’s biofuels industry.
“This poll reinforces what the CRFA and our members have known for years: renewable fuels are important to and valued by the public,” said Andrea Kent, president of CRFA. “Eight in 10 Canadians believe renewable fuel products are clean, innovative and needed across the country. The renewable fuels industry also provides Canadians with over 14,000 jobs and generate $3.5 billion in economic activity every year.”
One in three Canadians would like there to be more support for renewable fuels, found the survey. In addition, when respondents learned of the current federal biofuels mandates, 31 percent said their impression of government action on climate change improved while sixty-seven percent also support increasing the level of biodiesel from the current mandate of 2 percent to 5 percent.
Ethanol has cut carbon dioxide emissions by more than 300 million over the last 12 years. Brazil’s sugarcane ethanol industry group UNICA says to get the same results from growing trees, it would be necessary to plant and maintain over 20 years more than 2.1 billion native plants.
Hosted on the site ‘ Verde Ethanol ‘, the Carbonômetro indicates the high potential of sugarcane biofuel helped the country to mitigate CO2 more than the sum of the annual emissions of Argentina (190 million tonnes), Peru (53.1 million tons ), Ecuador (35.7 million tons), Uruguay (7.8 million tonnes) and Paraguay (5.3 million tons).
For the consultant on emissions and Technology of UNICA, Alfred Szwarc, the result shows that sugarcane ethanol produced in Brazil is one of the cleanest energy alternatives commercially available worldwide.
“The reduction is quite significant. The data are of the same order of magnitude as the annual emission of CO2 from Poland (317 million tons), country considered one of the major global emitters of greenhouse gases, “says Szwarc.
The consultant notes that, despite its benefits, the global promotion of ethanol is still limited and needs more incentives, especially in Europe.
LanzaTech is partnering with two companies in the metals businesses to build a nearly $97 million ethanol plant. This company news release says LanzaTech, ArcelorMittal a steel and mining company, and Primetals Technologies, in the iron and steel industry, will construct Europe’s first-ever commercial scale production facility to create bioethanol from waste gases produced during the steelmaking process. The resulting bioethanol can cut greenhouse gas emissions by over 80 per cent compared with conventional fossil fuels.
The 47,000 ton ethanol/annum project, sufficient to fuel half a million cars with ethanol blended gasoline, will demonstrate the added value of recycling waste streams, not only by reducing emissions at source, hence reducing ArcelorMittal’s direct carbon footprint, but by keeping fossil fuels in the ground through the production of commodity chemicals and fuels that would otherwise be made from oil.
Approximately 50 per cent of the carbon used in the chemistry of steelmaking leaves the process as carbon monoxide. Today, this waste gas stream is either flared or used to heat and power the steel mill. In either case, the carbon monoxide is combusted and the resulting CO2 is emitted. LanzaTech’s technology, however, recycles the waste gases and ferments them with a proprietary microbe to produce bioethanol. Every ton of bioethanol produced, displaces 5.2 barrels of gasoline as well as reducing ArcelorMittal’s CO2 emissions by 2.3 tons.
The project will be located at ArcelorMittal’s steel plant in Ghent, Belgium, is anticipated to commence later this year, with bioethanol production expected to start mid-2017.