Biofuels International March/Apr 2017

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March/April 2017 Issue 2 • Volume 11

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Debunking cellulosic ethanol myths Making the case for secondgeneration biorefineries

Choppy waters beyond 2020 EU biofuels faces threat of a ‘lost decade’

Biofu stora els suppl ge em inside ent

Regional focus: biofuels in southeasxxxxxralasia Regional focus: Biofuels in Europe

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international Issue 2

Volume 11

March/April 2017 Woodcote Media Limited Marshall House 124 Middleton Road, Morden, Surrey SM4 6RW, UK

c ntents 4 News 12 Plant update 14 Incident report 16 Market analysis 18 Big Interview

MANAGING DIRECTOR Peter Patterson Tel: +44 (0)208 648 7082 EDITOR Liz Gyekye Tel: +44 (0)208 687 4183 DEPUTY EDITOR Ilari Kauppila Tel: +44 (0)208 687 4126 INTERNATIONAL SALES MANAGER Matthew Clifton +44 (0)203 551 5751 US SALES MANAGER Matt Weidner +1 610 486 6525 PRODUCTION Alison Balmer Tel: +44 (0)1673 876143 SUBSCRIPTION RATES A one-year, 6-issue subscription costs £150/€210/$275 Contact: Lisa Lee Tel: +44 (0)208 687 4160 Fax: +44 (0)208 687 4130

No part of this publication may be reproduced or stored in any form by any mechanical, electronic, photocopying, recording or other means without the prior written consent of the publisher. Whilst the information and articles in Biofuels International are published in good faith and every effort is made to check accuracy, readers should verify facts and statements direct with official sources before acting on them as the publisher can accept no responsibility in this respect. Any opinions expressed in this magazine should not be construed as those of the publisher. ISSN 1754-2170

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20 Chasing certifications Biofuel producers are encouraged to achieve sustainability certifications to prove that their products are environmentally friendly 22 The road beyond 2020 EU biofuels is facing the threat of a ‘lost decade’ 24 The three myths surround cellulosic ethanol Making the case for second-generation biorefineries 26 Entering into a new paradigm A circular economy has many obvious benefits for businesses, and some are moving the agenda forward 28 Cleaner marine shipping with advanced biofuels With the marine industry striving to drive down emissions, recent tests promise a bright future in marine use for biodiesel 30 The value of contracted piloting Piloting biofuel production provides invaluable knowledge, but there are many questions to answer before the programme can begin 32 Pushing the limits on yield The use of advanced fermentation organisms to achieve additional ethanol yield in fuel ethanol production 34 Sweet and small Fermenting microorganisms have been with us all through human history and our coexistence continues to this day 37 RED II: Room for improvement As the RED II debate heats up in the European Parliament and EU Member States, the industry is concerned about putting meat on the bones of the policy proposal 39 Storage supplement

March/April 2017 Issue 2 • Volume 11

international Powered by UPM BioVerno

53 Major tools for quality assurance International round robin tests for biodiesel and rapeseed oil fuel help maintain the quality of fuel products 54 From waste to riches A Portuguese company is exploring the possibilities of turning waste fats and oils into biofuel 56 Lignin’s time is now A Finnish-Swedish company is on a quest to make the most out of lignin

Debunking cellulosic ethanol myths Making the case for secondgeneration biorefineries

Choppy waters beyond 2020 EU biofuels faces threat of a ‘lost decade’

Biofue stor ls suppleage m inside ent

Regional focus: biofuels in southeasxxxxxralasia Regional focus: Biofuels in Europe

Front cover courtesy of UPM Biofuels

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Back to basics Liz Gyekye Editor


t dinner parties or in social situations I always come across one climate change denier who is never convinced about the need to tackle climate change. The denier will usually ask me what I do for a living. I will then respond that I “save the world with my words” and then the person normally wants to pick a conversational fight. I then launch into my green argument. It goes something like this. Scientific evidence shows that the dominant cause of the rapid warming of the Earth’s climate over the last half century has been the activities of people, which have increased the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Total global energy use, including all domestic and industrial usage, has increased twenty-fold since 1850. This growth was accompanied by a shift from traditional energy sources such as wood, wind and water power towards fossil fuels, first coal and then oil and natural gas, as industrialisation transformed the world. Today fossil fuels make up almost 80% of the world’s energy use. Hydropower, wood, biofuels made from plants, and nuclear energy together account for just under 20%. New renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind, represent about 2.5% but are growing rapidly. Providing clean, secure and affordable energy to everyone is one of the greatest challenges of the 21st Century, as population increase and economic growth cause a rapid rise in demand for energy.

Connect with more than 1,440 members on Biofuels International’s Linkedin page

More than a billion people worldwide still live without access to electricity, mostly in Africa and Asia. Some three billion rely on wood or other solid fuel for cooking, or kerosene for lighting, resulting in air pollution that causes millions of deaths each year. Outdoor pollution from burning coal and oil in power plants, industrial facilities and vehicles causes millions more deaths. Clean renewable energy solutions offer ways to meet energy needs without the adverse effects of pollution on climate and health. Sustainable biofuels can contribute to the bio-economy. It can also help the circular economy by generating protein and feed for the animal sector. It is also important to note biofuels’ role in producing cleaner, healthier air and providing wellpaying green jobs across the world. Hopefully, the climate change denier has run for the hills by now after hearing these facts. Elsewhere, one place industry delegates should certainly be running to is this year’s Biofuels International Conference & Expo, which will take place from 4-5 October in the historical city of Edinburgh. The conference is now in its 10th year and will be co-hosted with the Bioenergy Insight Conference & Expo. Attendees and exhibitors will benefit from a range of conference streams and presentations across the spectrum. Visit for more information. Best wishes, Liz

Join 1,000 followers of Biofuels International at @biofuelsmag

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choose wisely. Don’t get stuck at the starting line with a first-generation renewable fuel. The revolutionary IH2 technology converts virtually any type of non-food biomass feedstock – such as wood, agricultural residues, municipal solid waste, and algae – directly into fully fungible transportation fuels such as gasoline, diesel, or jet fuel. Developed by GTI and exclusively licensed by CRI Catalyst, this process can now take organic material and common everyday waste and turn them into fuel and export steam to help keep our world running smoothly. Let CRI help you find a first-place solution to help fuel your business. It is all part of our commitment to delivering innovation.

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bioethanol news Still handling biomass in the traditional way?

Clariant tests E20 product in Mercedes-Benz vehicles Global speciality chemicals company Clariant, Mercedes-Benz and speciality products company Haltermann Carless have tested the use of sustainable cellulosic ethanol from agricultural residues in a fleet test with Mercedes-Benz series vehicles over a period of 12 months for the first time in Germany.

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Sunliquid 20 was used for the test – a fuel produced by Haltermann Carless with a cellulosic ethanol content of 20% by volume (E20) from Clariant’s sunliquid plant in Straubing. The cellulosic ethanol allows greenhouse gas emission savings of up to 95% across the entire value chain without competing with food production or tying up agricultural land, according to Clariant. In a statement, Clariant said: “In the fleet test with Mercedes-Benz vehicles, sunliquid 20 exhibited very good combustion properties with a high degree of efficiency and identical consumption compared to today’s standard E10 fuel. “Due to the slightly lower energy density of E20 compared to E10, slightly higher fuel consumption was expected under the same operating conditions. The tests performed under laboratory conditions demonstrated variability in the consumption analysis in which additional consumption between 0 and 3% was observed.” “Developing and bringing solutions to the market for more sustainable mobility is one of the most important tasks in the transportation sector today. We are very pleased that sunliquid 20 has proven its high quality in the field test – with the same range and the same driving comfort,” said Martin Vollmer, chief technology officer at Clariant. Vollmer added: “Cellulosic ethanol from agricultural residues is a carbon-neutral fuel with great potential, which can be cost-effectively produced and used today. So that energy transition can succeed in the transportation sector, we urgently need stable framework conditions, such as the mandatory blending rate for advanced biofuels within the EU Member States.” “This is yet more evidence that Germany is a technology pioneer in the research and development of sustainable special fuels. As a specialty company and industry research partner, we are delighted to be able to produce a fuel with outstanding specifications and environmental properties that can demonstrate its usefulness in existing engines with existing infrastructure without any issues,” added Bruno Philippon, senior vice president performance fuels at Haltermann Carless. l

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bioethanol news Neutral Fuels ‘first’ in the world to create dairy waste-based biofuel Dubai-based Neutral Fuels has claimed to become the first company to successfully use butter, cream, and ghee waste as a feedstock for creating commercial biofuel.

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The company, already a provider of vegetable oil-based biofuels, said that the production of the new fuel will help Dubai meet its “zero waste by 2030” target. The new fuel is of the same quality as the vegetable oil-derived biofuel that Neutral Fuels produces. That fuel has powered McDonald’s UAE logistics fleet for more than four years, according to the company. Karl W Feilder, chairman and CEO at Neutral Fuels, said: “Dubai is one of the few places in the world with a proper clean energy vision and a commitment to achieving 100% recycling. “We concur with engineer Abdulmajeed Abdulaziz Saifaie, director of the waste management department, when he says Dubai has to shift from waste collection to sustainable and innovative waste management. This includes more recycling, more waste-to-energy plants, and more investment in this field. “We really want to inspire other companies to find new uses for their waste. Every dairy operation produces a small percentage of waste, plus it always has to dispose of outdated produce. Turning that into biofuel is the most useful thing to do with it.” According to research company Mordor Intelligence, the UAE is the second largest producer of dairy products in the Gulf region after Saudi Arabia and is expected to experience swift growth through 2021. The UAE’s annual fresh milk production is 167,000 tonnes, and every 1% of waste that is processed into biofuel will result in 1.67 million litres of biofuel, which will reduce the carbon footprint by 4,460 tonnes of carbon and equivalents. This, together with Neutral Fuels’ vegetable oil-derived biofuel, helps offset the UAE’s carbon footprint, reported as one of the largest in the world. The new biofuel will help to tackle climate change, the company said. Feilder attributed Neutral Fuel’s success in this innovation partly to a team of “reliable and high calibre graduate interns in Dubai, many of them women, who participated in the company’s research with fresh thinking, innovation, and enthusiasm”. He added: “While we create superb opportunities to help them bridge the worlds of academia and business, they help us with all the detail that goes into developing new ways of doing things. It is critically important that we share our knowledge and experience with the next generation of innovators, so that they can pass on the entrepreneurial spirit to everyone they meet.” l

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bioethanol news Trump reiterates support for US ethanol President Donald Trump has reiterated his support for American ethanol in a letter he sent to attendees of the National Ethanol Conference in San Diego, US. President Trump sent the letter to the conference on 21 February, 2017, as he was unable to attend. Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) President and CEO Bob Dinneen read the letter aloud to the delegates at the conference. “Rest assured that your President and this administration values the importance of renewable fuels to America’s economy and to our energy independence. As I emphasised throughout my campaign, renewable fuels are essential to America’s energy strategy,” Trump wrote. “As important as ethanol and the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) are to rural economies, I also know that your industry has suffered from overzealous, job-killing regulation. I am committed

Trump has reiterated his support for US ethanol

to reducing the regulatory burden on all businesses, and my team is looking forward to working with the Renewable Fuels Association, and many others, to identify and reform those regulations that impede growth, increase consumer costs, and

eliminate good-paying jobs without providing sufficient environmental or public health benefit,” Trump added. “We thank President Trump for reaffirming his support for the domestic biofuels industry and the RFS,” said Dinneen. “The RFS has cleaned the

air, reduced our dependence on foreign oil and boosted local economies. Donald Trump understands all this. Consumers benefit from this national policy and our industry looks forward to continuing to be the lowest cost, highest octane fuel in the world.” l

Poet-DSM plans on-site enzyme manufacturing facility at cellulosic ethanol plant Poet-DSM Advanced Biofuels will build an on-site enzyme manufacturing (OSM) facility in Emmetsburg, Iowa, pending state and local approvals. The facility will be integrated into the Project Liberty technology package, replicable in future facilities. Project Liberty is a cellulosic ethanol plant that uses corn cobs, leaves, husk and some stalk to produce renewable biofuel. For Project Liberty, the facility will directly pipe enzymes into the Liberty

production process without requiring downstream processing, stabilisers and other chemicals required for enzyme transportation. New enzymes developed by DSM are also expected to improve effectiveness of the enzyme mix, further reducing costs for the process. CRB has been awarded the contract for the design, engineering and construction management. Basic engineering is complete, and construction is expected to begin in late spring or early summer. Over the last 18 months significant design improvements have been made

to the plant and further investments to improve yields and make the process more consistent and reliable, the firm said. The facility is producing at a rate of 70 gallons per bone-dry tonne of biomass, near the target conversion rate, and is currently in a ramp-up phase. “Enzymes for cellulosic ethanol have been improving dramatically in recent years, and this is another leap delivered by our partner DSM in both cost and performance,” Poet president and COO Jeff Lautt said. “It will be a valuable addition to Poet-DSM’s integrated licensing package.” l

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bioethanol news Alliance BioEnergy makes bid to buy Ineos’ ethanol plant in Florida Alliance BioEnergy Plus announced it has submitted an offer to purchase a 145-plus acre ethanol plant previously owned by Ineos New Planet Bioenergy in Vero Beach, Florida. If successful, the company will begin to retrofit the front end of the facility immediately with its patented CTS process and quickly be converting local yard waste into cellulosic ethanol through an option agreement with the county. Ineos Bio broke ground on the plant in February 2011 and completed the $130 million (€122m) facility in 2012. On December 27, 2016, news channel TCPalm reported: “Ineos Bio announced it was putting its ethanol business – including the 8mmgy Vero Beach demonstration site – up for sale.” In a statement, Ineos Bio said, the economic drivers for the development of the technology (gasification fermentation) no longer aligned with the company’s strategic objectives. Though details surrounding the specific offer are covered by nondisclosure agreements, Alliance BioEnergy CEO Daniel de Liege said he has been encouraged by the response and support he has received from the county, chamber, economics development office and community. “County officials have been incredibly supportive of our effort to acquire the facility and understand the tremendous benefits we bring with keeping the facility open and saving dozens of jobs,” said De Liege. The offer signals a critical, yet exciting next step in the evolution of the patented CTS process. “This is primetime for us,” said De Liege. He added: “Our engineers and scientists have spent the better part of the last decade working tirelessly to perfect our technology and we have arrived at a point where we are ready to start putting it to work

commercially. A complete, high-tech facility already built provides the company with an opportunity to begin utilising the CTS technology to produce ICM_551x7_3_2_BFI.pdf high quantities of low-cost1 3/3/2017

cellulosic ethanol quickly and at a fraction of the cost compared to building from the ground up or other processes.” If successful and, up and 10:33:34 AM at capacity, sometime running

in early 2018, the facility will produce 8 million gallons a year of cellulosic ethanol valued at $33 million a year with a pre-tax profit of more than $24 million a year. l









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biodiesel news Cepsa completes buy of Abengoa’s biodiesel plant Spanish oil and gas firm Cepsa has formalised the purchase offer of Abengoa’s biodiesel plant in San Roque, Cadiz, Spain. The process concluded with Abengoa’s acceptance of Cepsa’s €8 million binding offer for the total purchase of the asset. The biodiesel plant is located next to a refinery owned by Cepsa in the Andalusiabased industrial estate of San Roque. Abengoa started operations at the plant next to the refinery in 2009, but stopped production in 2015. On its website, Abengoa states that the San Roque biodiesel plant is designed to process soy, rapeseed and palm oils, and 100% of the biodiesel produced at the facility is sent to the Cepsa refiner.

In a statement, Cepsa said it will continue to provide employment to the plant’s current 51 workers. Cepsa said it believes the acquisition of the biofuels production unit, which is due to be fully operative again during 2017, is a “great opportunity” because of the new synergies the operation contributes to the company. The company said: “Cepsa, one of Spain’s leading energy companies, has set the development and integrated management of its biofuel business as a target for the coming years, which it plans to achieve by optimising production and drawing on its experience and technical excellence. “With this operation, Cepsa continues to invest in Andalusia and its industrial

production, where it has operated for over 50 years, generating more than 3,600 direct jobs, 2,600 indirect ones and 6,000 more induced and temporary jobs.” Cepsa is the region’s leader in production with a turnover of more than €14.5 billion, 10% of Andalusian GDP. Cepsa in San Roque has more than 1,300 direct employees, 3% of the province’s total industrial sector. In 2016, Cepsa announced a fiveyear investment plan of more than €130 million to improve its petrochemical facilities in San Roque. The plan includes an immediate investment of more than €50 million in major projects to improve energy efficiency, safety and compliance with environmental regulations at its centres in Andalusia. l

Brookfield Business Partners buys 85% of Greenergy Canada-based business services and industrial company Brookfield Business Partners has agreed to buy 85% of UK biodiesel producer Greenergy’s business. Existing Greenergy management shareholders will invest alongside Brookfield Business Partners and will retain a 15% share in the business. As part of the process all existing non-management shareholders will exit the business. There will be no change

to company strategy and the current management team will remain in place. Andrew Owens, Greenergy chief executive, said: “It has been our long-standing aim to increase our access to capital through a strategic investor. The participation of Brookfield Business Partners will allow us to participate in larger-scale strategic mergers and acquisition activities to propel our business to its next phase of development.” Cyrus Madon, CEO of Brookfield Business Partners, added: “Our

investment in Greenergy expands our footprint in the European market through a business that provides an essential service and a track record of providing customers with reliable and competitive supply. “Greenergy is well positioned to continue growing its service offering for its long-term UK customer base, and we believe we can broaden the company’s operations outside of the UK by leveraging our global presence.” The transaction is expected to conclude in the second half of 2017. Its value has not been disclosed. l

Neste posts rise in operating profit Finnish renewable diesel producer Neste has posted a 6% rise in full-year operating profit to €983 million, compared to €925 million in 2015, helped by strong demand for its renewable products. In its 2016 full-year financial statement, the company stated that its renewable products business recorded a full-year comparable operating profit of €469m, compared to €402m in 2015. Speaking about its renewable products division, president and CEO, Matti Lievonen, said: “Our sales volumes reached 2.22 million tonnes, only 2% below the previous year, despite the scheduled major turnaround implemented at the Rotterdam refinery in the second quarter. A slightly higher share of the sales volume was allocated to the North American market compared to 2015. “In the US market the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalised increased volume mandates for biomass-

based diesel for 2017 and 2018 in November 2016. Feedstock optimisation continued, and the share of waste and residue feedstocks was successfully expanded to 78% of total renewable inputs in 2016. Acquisition of a new feedstock pretreatment facility in the Netherlands will further enhance our capability to process lower quality wastes and residues.” He added: “For the first time renewable products had the largest full-year profit contribution, which reflects the continuing strategic transformation of the company. I am very pleased to note that all business areas improved their result from the previous year. “We also generated strong cash flow and further strengthened our balance sheet. All key financial indicators showed improvement, and the return on average capital employed after tax reached 16.9%, which was over the long term target level of 15%.” Elsewhere, the company’s oil products division posted a comparable operating profit of €453 million (€439 million). l

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technology news Pine Lake beefs up ethanol plant production with Whitefox technology Pine Lake Corn Processors has become the first Iowa-based ethanol plant to install the Whitefox ICE membrane solution to increase production capacity and improve overall plant efficiency. Pine Lake, located at Steamboat Rock, Iowa, operates at 35 million gallons per year. The Whitefox ICE bolt-on solution gives the plant an additional 10% ethanol capacity by removing process bottlenecks. Pine Lake CEO, James Broghammer

said that “the impact of the Whitefox ICE became evident almost immediately. Overall I see a better performing plant with increased capacity and lower steam consumption per gallon of ethanol produced just by eliminating the mole sieve recycle stream to the rectifier”. After two months of operating the system, Pine Lake has decided to expand its Whitefox ICE unit by a third. The additional expansion is expected to come online in the second half of 2017. Gillian Harrison, CEO of Whitefox, said: “We are proud to deliver the first Whitefox ICE solution in Iowa to Pine Lake

Corn Processors. James Broghammer and his team have been key to ensuring the successful execution of the project and we have been impressed with his insight and hands-on approach. We look forward to delivering the next phase of the expansion later in the year.” In a statement, Whitefox said: “Pine Lake has taken a lead in showing how plants can get more from their existing infrastructure and improve the profitability of every gallon of ethanol. This project shows how important rural America is in efficiently producing low‐carbon renewable fuels.” l

ICM to build showcase biorefinery US biofuels technology company ICM will build a new stateof-the-art biorefinery – called ICM Element – next to its headquarters in Colwich, Kansas. The facility will showcase the company’s technologies. In a statement, ICM said: “We see every individual as an integral element to the success of the planned 70 million gallons per year revolutionary plant estimated at a cost of $175 million (€166m) to build. ICM plans to be the majority owner and is in current discussion with

investors who also see the vision and value of the project to the industry.” ICM president Chris Mitchell explained: “Element will strive to be one of the most energy efficient manufacturers of ethanol in the industry with the deployment of multiple new technologies including our ICM gasification unit.” The ICM patented gasifier technology is capable of fully converting biomass and forestry feedstocks into producer gas or syngas, while co-generating a biochar product that has many applications in agriculture and other industries, the company said. Producer gas, derived from air-

blown gasification platforms, is ideal for local combined heat and power applications, industrial power and heating/drying applications. Mitchell said: “As a result, we will produce one of the lowest cost, highest value ethanol gallons on the market while bringing increased revenue to one of America’s most essential elements: the US agricultural industry.” Element will also be the first full scale deployment of ICM’s patent pending Generation 1.5 Grain Fibre to Cellulosic Ethanol Technology (Gen 1.5) process producing up to five million gallons of cellulosic ethanol per year. l

Pacific Ethanol to install Edeniq technology at Madera plant Pacific Ethanol, a California producer and marketer of low-carbon renewable fuels, and Edeniq Inc, a biorefining and cellulosic technology company, announced they have entered into a technology licensing and purchase agreement to enable the production of cellulosic ethanol at Pacific Ethanol’s Madera, California, plant using Edeniq’s Pathway and Cellunator Technologies. The Madera plant has a total annual production capacity of 40 million gallons, and is expected to produce up to one million gallons per year of cellulosic ethanol with Edeniq’s Pathway process. Installation is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2017. Neil Koehler, Pacific Ethanol’s president and CEO, said:

“Consistent with our strategy to improve yields and increase production of advanced biofuels at our plants, we are expanding cellulosic ethanol production to our Madera facility. We began producing cellulosic ethanol using Edeniq’s technology at our Stockton plant in December 2015, and the resulting bottom line contribution is significant. Once commercial scale production is reached at Madera, we expect the technology will increase earnings by over $2 million (1.8m) annually. “We will be working with the EPA to qualify this production for generating D3 cellulosic RINs, which provide an important premium, and we expect the approval to be received near or shortly after we begin commercial operations. We are also working with the California Air Resources Board to qualify our cellulosic production at both our Stockton and Madera facilities for additional carbon credit under the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard.” l

10 march/april 2017 biofuels international

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biofuels plant update

Plant update: Europe Abengoa


Location Lacq, France End product Bioethanol Construction / expansion / Spain’s debt-laden renewable energy acquisition producer Abengoa has shut down its Lacq facility in the aftermath of an “incident” Completion date June 2016 Comment Speaking to Biofuels International, Abengoa didn’t define the incident, but said operations would be resumed as soon as possible

Egregor Biotech

Abengoa Location San Roque, Spain End product Biodiesel Capacity 200,000 tpy Construction / expansion / Abengoa has sold its Spanish acquisition biodiesel facility to oil refiner Cepsa Completion date January 2017 Investment €8 million

Abengoa Netherlands Location Rotterdam, Netherlands End product Bioethanol Capacity 380,000 tpy Construction / expansion / Abengoa’s Rotterdam plant has closed acquisition and the company’s Netherlands business has filed for bankruptcy Completion date May 2016

Borregaard Location Sarpsborg, Norway End product Bioethanol Construction / expansion / Norwegian biorefinery operator acquisition Borregaard has decided to invest NOK 63 million (€6.8m) in a project including an upgrade of a bioethanol plant and a facility to capture and store biogas Project start date September 2016 Completion date 2017 Investment NOK 63 million (€6.8m)

Cargill Location End product Feedstock Construction / expansion / acquisition

Project start date

Location Wilton, UK End product Bioethanol Construction / expansion / Germany-headquarted bioethanol acquisition producer CropEnergies has announced that it is ready to operate its mothballed Ensus bioethanol plant Project start date February 2015 Completion date September 2016

Netherlands and France Soy and rapeseed oil Soy and rapeseed Global agribusiness Cargill will sell two of its European-based oilseed processing plants and businesses to Bunge August 2016

Location Komi Republic, Russia End product Bioethanol Feedstock Unusable timber, sawmill residues Capacity 100,000 tpy Construction / expansion / Egregor Biotech and Evolution Group acquisition is planning to construct a bioethanol plant in the forest-rich Komi Republic in Northern Russia Project start date February 2016 Investment RUB15 million (€177,000)

Global Bioenergies Location Leuna, Germany End product Isobutene Construction / expansion / Global Bioenergies, a French acquisition renewable fuels company, has received an official permit to commence operations at its Leuna demo plant Project start date December 2016 Completion date End of 2017

Maabjerg Energy Center Location End product Feedstock Construction / expansion / acquisition

Holstebro, Denmark Bioethanol, biogas Agricultural residues Plans to build Denmark’s first biorefinery have come to a halt as a result of lack of political support and financing issues Project start date 2011 Completion date October 2016 Investment 753 million krona (€101.3m)

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Location Sluiskil, Netherlands End product Biodiesel Construction / expansion / Finnish renewable diesel producer acquisition Neste has signed an agreement with Electrawinds ReFuel on the acquisition of a former biodiesel plant in Sluiskil in the Netherlands Designer/builder Electrawinds ReFuel Project start date January 2017 Completion date H2 2017

Pannonia Ethanol Location Dunaföldvár, Hungary End product Bioethanol Feedstock Corn Construction / expansion / Hungarian bioethanol producer acquisition Pannonia Ethanol has successfully completed a €135 million credit facility agreement with a consortium of Hungarian banks Project start date November 2016 Investment €135 million

Project start date Completion date

Sunshine Kaidi New Energy Group Location Kemi, Finland End product Biodiesel Feedstock Wood materials Construction / expansion / Sunshine Kaidi New Energy, a Chinese acquisition renewable energy giant, is planning to build its first European biodiesel plant Project start date February 2016 Completion date 2019 Investment €1 billion


RenFuel Location End product Feedstock Construction / expansion / acquisition

Location Pietarsaari, Finland End product Cellunolix ethanol Feedstock Sawdust Capacity 50 million l/y Construction / expansion / St1 has begun the analysis and signed acquisition letters of intent with Alholmens Kraft and UPM on an ethanol plant in the Alholma industrial area in Pietarsaari Project start date November 2016 Completion date 2020

Bäckhammar, Sweden Lignol lignin oil Paper industry residue RenFuel and Nordic Paper have signed an agreement to build a production test facility in Sweden to test manufacture an advanced biofuel based on lignin April 2016 Early 2017

St1 Hønefoss, Norway Cellunolix bioethanol Forestry residues 13.2 million gpy St1’s Norwegian subsidiary Smart Fuel plans to build a bioethanol plant at the site of a former paper mill Project start date August 2016 Completion date 2021

Location La Mede, France End product Biodiesel Feedstock Used cooking oil, residual oil, vegetable oil Construction / expansion / French waste management specialist acquisition Suez and oil giant Total have teamed up to collect and recycle used cooking oil in France Project start date December 2016 Comment Cooking oil collected by Suez will be processed to biodiesel in Total’s La Mede facility

Location End product Feedstock Capacity Construction / expansion / acquisition

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*This list is based on information made available to Biofuels International at the time of printing. If you would like to update the list with any additional plant information for future issues, please email

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biofuels incident report A summary of the recent explosions, fires and leaks in the biofuels industry Date



Incident information


Tennessee, US


Ethanol spilled from a tanker truck near Ashland City, Tennessee, after one of the tanker’s tyres blew out. The force of the blown tyre damaged the tank, which sprung a leak. The roadway was closed for several hours while the spill was cleaned and the leak stopped.


Louisiana, US

American Commercial Lines

The Second Circuit of US Court of Appeals has reversed a ruling that a marine pollution insurer must pick up the tab for more than $3.5 million (€3.3m) in defence costs that American Commercial Lines racked up defending claims tied to a massive oil spill. The coverage dispute stems from a July 2008 incident in which a tanker loaded with styrene and biodiesel collided with an ACL barge that was carrying heavy fuel along the Mississippi River. The barge split in two and discharged the entire load of unrefined, tar-like oil into the river.


New York, US

Western New York Energy

Fire crews arrived at WENE’s Medina ethanol plant out of what the company called an “abundance of caution”. No fault or incident happened at the plant, but the large amounts of steam produced by venting a corn oil storage tank brought the rescue crews to the facility.


Colorado, US

Sterling Ethanol

Approximately 500 gallons of lye, used as a cleaning solution, spilled to the soil from Sterling Ethanol’s Colorado plant. Some of the chemical may have entered a nearby river, but at the time of writing pH tests of the water showed no signs for concern. The cause of the spill was unknown.


Washington, US

Gex-X Energy Group

Richard Estes, 77, has been sentenced to nearly nine years in jail and ordered to pay $4.3 million (€4m) after pleading guilty to conspiracy to launder $39 million via biofuels company Gen-X. Estes and others around the US set up shell companies and circulated a single batch of biofuel through them, claiming tax credits by each time marking the batch down as newly produced. Gen-X claimed to create biodiesel from vegetable oils, but it is unclear whether a drop of fuel was ever produced at the company.

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An Austrian company has developed an innovative technology for waste-based biodiesel production

Trimming down the process


hen using environmentallyfriendly biofuels, the development of new, sustainable technologies is more important these days than ever. Political demand for biofuel technologies with high greenhouse gas-saving potential leads to the preference of biofuels using waste material as feedstock. In particular, all kinds of oil and fat feedstocks will play a significant role in the future feedstock mix for biofuels. The sustainable treatment of such materials requires specialised process technology, as feedstock quality varies from day to day and impurity levels are high. Traditional biodiesel technologies are not applicable, as they are only designed for high-quality vegetable oils. BDI’s patented RepCat process was developed with the goal to avoid the disadvantages of sodium or potassium catalystbased biodiesel technologies. Their main disadvantage lies in the limited content of free fatty acids (FFA) in the feedstock and the salt content in the produced glycerin phase, requiring costly by-product treatment as well as costly catalysts and chemicals. The process explained The core of BDI’s RepCat process is a continuous oneor two-stage reactor system, operated at a pressure above 50 bar and a temperature above 200°C. These conditions result in a stable and robust process to handle fluctuating feedstock quality even without timeconsuming settling processes or expensive separators. The number of stages is defined by the FFA-content in the

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feedstock, with a limit of 15% for a single stage system and up to 100% for two stages. In the RepCat reactors, esterification and transesterification with methanol take place simultaneously. The use of a heterogeneous catalyst is key to making the reaction as efficient as possible. The catalyst is synthesised on-site and reused within the process. The reuse of the catalyst is one of the main process characteristics of the RepCat process and therefore reflected in its full name – Repeatable Catalyst system. In addition, this special catalyst is not sensitive to feedstock impurities, and the usual problems with heterogeneous catalysts like catalyst poising – when using waste-based feedstock – are not an issue. After flashing off methanol and water, methyl ester and glycerin are distilled simultaneously in the BDI highend distillation system, followed by a phase separation. First, the dried flow is distilled over top in a multi-stage rectification column. Gentle distillation at low pressure avoids product degeneration and unwanted back reactions. The bottom product is transferred into a short path evaporator in order to “squeeze out” methyl ester residues and maximise product yield. Low surface loads, fine vacuum conditions, and special column internals secure lowest possible entrainment and highest biodiesel quality, surpassing EN14214 requirements. Monoglyceride below 0.1% and sulphur reduction from 100ppm down to below 10ppm are guaranteed.

In BDI’s RepCat, process esterification and transesterification take place simultaneously

Since there are no salts generated in the whole RepCat process and glycerin is distilled over the top, the glycerin quality achieved is salt-free with a concentration above 96%. Consequently, by-product treatment is reduced to a simple methanol-recycling column. Industrial applications The RepCat process secures higher profitability in biodiesel production from waste materials. This is achieved through a 90% reduction in costs of catalyst and acids, up to 70% more income from glycerine, and savings in staff costs due to easy operation of the continuous process. In addition, the extremely compact size of the RepCat process is perfect when space availability is limited. Altogether, this is why Biodiesel Kärnten decided to implement BDI’s RepCat when the company installed a new process line to double its capacity. “Varying feedstock qualities are our daily business. With BDI’s RepCat process we achieve the best results due to

its simple and stable operation on one side, but also highest product quality on the other side,” says Werner Stulier, plant manager at Biodiesel Kärnten. An alternative application of the RepCat reactor system is using it as a preesterification unit. BDI’s high-FFA esterification takes advantage of the special process conditions and reduces FFA levels up to 90% per stage. Due to the easy integration into an existing process, it is a good fit when higher FFA flexibility is necessary – e.g. for using trap grease or fatty acid distillates. Numerous applications using BDI’s technology in sizes from 5,000 to 75,000 tonne per year have been built worldwide, with the latest one for Argent Energy at its new facility in Elsmere, UK. Avoiding costs for catalysts, acids, and enzymes in combination with the insensitivity regarding varying feedstock quality are the big advantages. l For more information: This article was written by Hermann Stockinger, VP of global sales at BDI - BioEnergy International. Visit:

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biofuels market analysis An update on the US biodiesel market

New unknowns for maturing US biodiesel industry by Brian Milne

Brian Milne, product manager, Schneider Electric


oy-methyl ester 100% biodiesel physical spot prices were under pressure at key trading hubs in the US midway through the first quarter in very limited trade as the loss of a $1 gallon blending credit and weakening values for Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) pressed prices lower. The downturn comes despite New York Mercantile Exchange ultra-low sulphur diesel futures trading rangebound near better than 1-1/2 year highs on the spot continuous chart, with spot biodiesel typically priced at a differential to the futures contract. Producers would likely see a higher value for their product if not for the loss of the blending subsidy, which could make a comeback, while D4 biomassbased diesel RIN prices

would likely be 20% or more above the $0.90 they were trading at in mid-February. “The nominations of Carl Icahn as special adviser on regulatory reform and Scott Pruitt as the head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have sent RINs prices down meaningfully since both have criticised EPA regulations with regards to RINs,” said the Bank of America Merrill Lynch in an early February weekly advisory. RINs are birthed with the production or importation of a qualified renewable fuel under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), and are used by obligated parties, which include oil refiners and importers, to show compliance with volume requirements set annually by the EPA under the RFS. ‘Regulatory Freeze Pending Review’ “Policy uncertainty on US renewable-fuel standards has escalated further since President Trump invoked a ‘Regulatory Freeze Pending Review’ on EPA regulations, including the RFS programme,” said commodity analysts with the bank. RIN values surged in late November 2016 after the EPA issued its finalised volume requirements under the RFS

that were 480 million gallons more than their proposal issued seven months earlier in May 2016. In short order however, the bloom was off the rose as the fate of the RFS became increasingly unknown. The regulatory freeze is temporary, aimed at a rash of new rules and regulations rolled out during the final days of the Obama administration. Expectations are the 2017 Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) will be implemented and enforced. “However, RFS targets beyond 2017 may be thrown into doubt,” write analysts with the Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “A review may not necessarily aim at abolishing the programme but rather acknowledge that Congress’ volumetric targets for biofuel are unrealistic and seek an administrative change in the structure of the programme.” The 2017 RVO for biomassbased diesel is 2.0 billion gallons and at 2.1 billion gallons for 2018. Biodiesel can also be counted against the advanced biofuels mandate, with EPA setting the final demand requirement for advanced biofuels this year at 4.28 billion gallons. Biomass-based diesel The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) thought the EPA set the biomass-based diesel

RVO for this year and for 2018 too low, challenging the agency’s method in setting those targets with a lawsuit. The EPA disagreed in its brief to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in mid-February in response to numerous plaintiffs and disparate complaints. Oral arguments are scheduled for April 24. Referring to the annual mandated volume targets, research firm LMC International, said “on its face, a boon to the industry, but well short of installed capacity and the industry’s proven ability to produce,” in a June 2016 study conducted for NBB. The Energy Information Administration indicates there are 97 US biodiesel production plants with capacity of 2.293 billion gallons. The supply of biodiesel and renewable diesel reached a record high of nearly 2.9 billion gallons in 2016, and surged to a record monthly rate of more than 340 million gallons in December, according to data from the EPA Moderated Transaction System. Domestic production last year increased roughly 400 million gallons from year prior to 1.8 billion gallons. Bone of contention US imports of biodiesel surged to more than one

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billion gallons in 2016 from 670 million gallons in 2015, and have been a bone of contention for US producers. “[A] surge in biodiesel imports into the US [began] in 2013, initially due to the EU placing anti-dumping duties on Argentine biodiesel and then buoyed by the January 2015 decision of the EPA to allow Argentine biodiesel to qualify for RINs,” explained LMC. “Given the sharp contrast in the economic activity associated with domestically sourced versus imported biodiesel, a move toward greater self-sufficiency in biodiesel sourcing and away from imports could have tremendous positive ramifications for the US economy – ones that will only grow with market size,” said LMC in their study. Several states offer incentives or demand mandates for biodiesel in addition to the federal programme. Paul Nazzaro with Advanced Fuel Solutions notes the decade-long effort in developing bioheat for the US Northeast, a new market for biodiesel with demand projections ranging from 200 million gallons to one billion gallons at full market saturation. New York City currently mandates 2% biodiesel in heating oil which increases to a 5% blend requirement in October. During NBB’s annual National Biodiesel Conference and Expo held in mid-January in San Diego, California, Nazzaro spoke of a potential 700 to 800 million gallon

market for biodiesel in California that could assist the state in meeting its Low Carbon Fuel Standard. Yet there are “deficiencies in supply” with the higher mandate, with roughly 70% of biodiesel produced in the Midwest while the major demand centres are in the US Northeast and along the US West Coast. This creates a logistical challenge since there are no pipelines to move B100 biodiesel, and outside barging waterborne transport is cost prohibitive because of the Jones Act – a 1920 maritime law that requires all goods transported by water between US ports to be carried on US built, owned and flagged ships and crewed by US citizens. Biodiesel movements are chiefly done by rail and truck. EIA data shows producers in the Midwest PADD 2 railed 192 million gallons of biodiesel to the other four PADD regions in 2015. Chris Kankousky with Union Pacific Railroad said he sees parallels with the ethanol industry. l

NYMEX ULSD futures spot continuous chart

EPA qualified biomass-based diesel supply volume

Market analysis spot prices

For more information: This article was written by Brian Milne, who manages the refined fuel’s editorial content, spot price discovery activity and cask market analysis for Schneider Electric. Milne has nearly 20 years’ experience in the energy industry as an analyst, journalist and editor. Tel: + 1 952 851 7216


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biofuels big interview The sustainability agenda is moving forward and remains a big topic for 2017

A sustainable solution


EDcert was founded on 26 February, 2010, by leading associations and organisations in the German agricultural and biofuel sector and approved as a certification system on 20 July, 2010, by the Federal Agency for Agriculture and Food (Bundesanstalt für Landwirtschaft und Ernährung – BLE) to fulfil the requirements of the German Biomass Sustainability Ordinances (BioSt-NachV and Biokraft-NachV). Liz Gyekye catches up with REDcert’s managing director Peter Jürgens.

the leading sustainability certification schemes in Europe, especially in Germany and Poland. In fact, the scheme provides a service to 24 countries.

How are your clients finding the biofuels market at the moment? We feel that biofuel stakeholders are in a subdued mood at the moment. The greenhouse gas (GHG) quota implementation in the EU Member States directly affects the value of biofuels according to their GHG saving threshold and has therefore shifted markets and product flows. Operators within the biofuels sector will always have a kaleidoscope of markets to contend with, so long as there is no level-playing field concerning the biofuel quota regulations in all European Member States. As a result of this, they may have few or no perspectives for growth.

How is REDcert2 going? One year after starting the REDcert² system, a couple of leading companies which provide feedstock for the food industry have joined the system. The close linkage between the REDcert-EU and the REDcert² system provides a couple of synergies and a cost-efficient certification approach. We see a growing demand for proven sustainable biomass production in different sectors. REDcert is prepared to provide its services and the REDcert² system to additional branches.

Since it started in 2010, what achievements has REDcert brought about? REDcert has gained broad support from a wide range of stakeholders and has established itself as one of

What is set to be the next biggest trend for the biofuels/ bioliquids industry? In relation to the issue of the GHG quota obligation and its ongoing implementation for the whole of Europe, the pressure on operators is constantly growing to optimise the GHG “performance” (saving threshold) of their biofuels.

What do you think of the argument that voluntary sustainability schemes should be made mandatory? Voluntary schemes provide the opportunity to react immediately to market trends and can include criteria which may go beyond the minimum legal requirements. They also facilitate multi-

Peter Jürgens, managing director at REDcert

stakeholder dialogue concerning sustainability criteria. If mandatory means a “certification” or inspection by 29 different national authorities in each European Member State, one can be sure that this will never lead to a harmonised approach to sustainability. Some schemes are criticised for not going far enough to ensure biofuels are sustainable. Do you have any views on this? Directive 28/2009/EC defines criteria for sustainable biomass production and the

GHG savings of biofuels, but doesn’t address detailed criteria for a reliable and robust certification process. In addition to this, the European Commission lacks the appropriate resources to systematically monitor certification schemes and bodies. Therefore, some schemes like REDcert have defined their own requirements on a robust and transparent certification process, which go far beyond the minimum requirements addressed by the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) and by the European Commission in the recognition process.

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However, “some” does not mean “all”. That’s why we welcome the amendment of the RED where some reporting obligations for certification schemes have been introduced. This will, of course, improve the transparency of the certification, but further engagement from the European Commission would help to assure a level playing field for certification schemes. What can be done to convince the public about the sustainability of biofuels and the part they should play in a low-carbon world post 2020? The public debate mainly focuses on the negative impact of first-generation biofuels (e.g. ILUC). The various positive impacts of biomass production for

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biofuel/energy purpose is often simply ignored. One gets the impression that biofuels are used as a pawn for a general debate on agriculture, where other branches using biomass are not really discussed. A more serious debate based on scientific facts would be highly recommended. What do you think of the European Biodiesel Board’s call for an industry-wide initiative to ensure the verification of wastes and residues? EBB’s initiative is in general welcome, as far as the goal of more transparency and safety in the production of wasteand residue-based biofuels is concerned. Nevertheless, as far as such initiatives are based on the voluntary engagement of operators, there will never be a 100%

coverage of the market, which automatically leads to a distortion of competition. A real breakthrough would be a harmonised European approach, which will be made mandatory for all operators. Unfortunately, the European Commission has so far denied any claims on this. What do you think will represent the biggest challenge to the biofuels industry? Several challenges must be faced when pushing ahead with the European decarbonisation strategy. Managing appropriate sources of sustainable feedstock and adjusting the production capacity according to regulatory and market requirements are two of them. In addition to this, more investments in the development of new

technologies related to third and fourth-generation biofuels are needed to provide sufficient quantities with a reasonable cost/effort balance and a serious contribution to the climate protection goals. What next for REDcert? Our core business – our biofuel certification scheme – will be accompanied by a growing request for sustainable feedstocks by several other branches. REDcert is prepared to integrate all the branchspecific requirements under the umbrella of the REDcert² scheme with a strong focus on the market and its specific demands, the quality and transparency of the certification process and – as previously mentioned – the potential synergies which are expected along the chain of custody. l

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biofuels sustainability Biofuel producers are encouraged to achieve sustainability certifications to prove that their products are environmentally friendly

Chasing certifications


etting legal sustainability requirements for biofuels and bioliquids has been a pioneering undertaking by European Parliament and Council. The Renewable Energy Directive (RED) and Fuel Quality Directive (FQD) have triggered the transformation of the entire market. This has been achieved in a very short period of time. It is a unique success story, in particular if compared with the still slow and fragmented developments towards sustainable and deforestation-free supply chains in food, feed and chemical markets. Sustainability certification for biofuels and bioliquids can be used as a blueprint for those markets. The RED/FQD sustainability requirements are being implemented by voluntary schemes recognised by the European Commission (EC). International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC) was recognised by the EC as one of the first schemes in 2011. In 2016, the EC adopted the decision to re-recognise the ISCC for another five years. Since ISCC’s start of

operation, more than 13,500 certificates in more than 100 countries have been issued. The share of certificates related to waste and residues is more than 40%. The demand for advanced and indirect land use change (ILUC)-free biofuels will increase in the future. ISCC already certifies such fuels, e.g. wood-based, municipal solid waste (MSW)-based, and crop residue-based biofuels and non-bio renewable fuels. ISCC is also working on certification options for low ILUC-risk agricultural feedstocks (e.g. double cropping, alternative land use systems). Furthermore, ISCC has become a leading certification system for the growing market of biomethane. ISCC is also active in the market for biojet fuel and in overseas markets that are currently starting to implement sustainability requirements comparable to those in the EU. Significant improvements and investments have been incentivised by the mandatory sustainability requirements for biofuels and bioliquids (e.g. GHG emission savings, avoidance of land use change) and are being verified through

voluntary scheme certification. One core asset of a voluntary scheme is its credibility. In essence, voluntary schemes have to ensure the integrity of the entire programme and have to invest in a continuous improvement and development of new tools to ensure reliable results in cost-efficient processes. In the following, some examples of ISCC’s approach and innovative solutions to achieve tangible impact and credibility are presented. Certification features ISCC applies a high sustainability standard and strict rules of implementation and verification. ISCC-certified supply chains are deforestationfree and sustainable, and compensation for new plantings is not allowed. The protection of valuable habitats and biodiversity is strengthened through the programme. Development on high carbon stock areas, such as peatlands and wetlands, is not allowed. ISCC has developed and implemented a comprehensive guidance package to assess

grassland and to differentiate biodiverse grassland from non-biodiverse grassland. ISCC provides a comprehensive GHG calculation method, guidance, emission factors, and also focused GHG trainings for companies and auditors to ensure consistent application in the scheme. ISCC supports the implementation of GHG reduction technologies and methodologies, e.g. in the palm oil sector. Currently, GHG methane emissions of POME ponds are measured by ISCC to assess the impact on methane emission reductions from different technologies and to provide GHG values for new technologies being used by palm oil producers. Other projects deal with the impact of changes of agricultural production systems on soil carbon stocks. ISCC also works on social, environmental and economic improvement. In regional stakeholder meetings, ongoing projects and innovative solutions are being presented to system users, auditors, and other interested parties. Lately, social issues are gaining importance in the public debate, e.g. child labour, migrant workers, labour rights and – in some regions – food security. Assessments of compliance are in practical terms often difficult, which is why ISCC works on providing additional guidance and relevant information to auditors. Monitoring LUC

Figure 1- Biodiversity information provided by GRAS. Brazil is used as an example in the picture.

The ISCC Integrity Program is an essential part of ISCC’s quality and risk management. The objective is to monitor compliance of certification bodies and certified companies with the ISCC requirements. Three independent ISCC

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Beginn Textboxen, Bilder etc.. (6,54 auditors conduct von der integrity Mitte | 2,98 von oben ) audits. In 2016, ISCC conducted 64 integrity 219 155 205 assessments in Europe, Asia 66 0 0 and Latin America. Deficits have 73 96 96 been detected especially in 170 0 96 the areas of traceability, mass178 178 balance and GHG calculation 178 as well as land use change. 21 67 158 Deficits and non-conformities detected can result in a withdrawal of certificates Linke Begrenzungslinie (e.g. nine certificates (13,02 von der have Mitte | 0,73 von links) Untere Begrenzungslinie been withdrawn in 2016), (8,14 von der Mitte | 1,38 von unten) suspensions Obere fromBegrenzungslinie certifications (8,89 (3,03von vonder derMitte Mitte||0,63 1,7 von vonoben) oben) (five companies) or issuance of warnings (six companies (6,54 Beginn Textboxen, Bilder etc.. (5,43 der Mitte | 4,32 2,98 von oben ) in 2016) andvon “yellow” (two companies in 2016) and “red” carts (none in 2016) for 219 155 66 certification bodies. 205 These 0 0 results help to further96 improve 73 170 96 the system as it provides 0 96 valuable feedback for system 178 178 users, auditors and ISCC. 178 ISCC is using innovative 21 67 technologies to increase 158 effectiveness and to reduce costs for system users. Remote sensing-based technologies help auditors conduct risk Untere Begrenzungslinie assessments (8,14 and (6,82 von der verify Mitte | 2,93 1,38land von unten) use change (LUC). Global Risk Assessments Services (GRAS) is a new tool providing comprehensive sustainabilityrelated geo-referenced information on biodiversity, LUC, carbon stock and social indices. GRAS provides a compilation of different layers from national and international databases on biodiversity. The information is immediately available and presented in a very userfriendly way. In figure 1, Brazil is shown as an example. The

Sourcing Area and Deforestation Heatmap

50 km

Burn Scars November 2014

LUC December 2015

Landsat Imagery 2015, Pansharpened and Enhanced

Figure 2 – Detecting LUC with GRAS, establishment of a palm plantation in 2010 18 © GRAS GmbH: For personal use only. Reproduction and distribution is prohibited.






Figure 3 – Conversion of grassland in Europe in 2008 © GRAS GmbH: For personal use only. Reproduction and distribution is prohibited.

maps differentiate clearly between no-go and risk areas. This helps conduct the risk assessments, and saves time and costs in audits. GRAS also provides carbon maps and important information regarding social issues on a country (and partly regional) level. A key functionality is the detection of LUC. Auditors and companies use GRAS to verify the occurrence of LUC by using a simple-to-interpret yet powerful greenness index called

Figure 4 – Reliable verification and traceability with ISCC and GRAS

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Detailed Analysis

Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI). Using EVI time series from the year 2000 until today, GRAS users can differentiate among the types of green cover, see the history of the land use, and – most importantly – detect the exact point in time of LUC. It enables the user to identify deforestation, replanting activities, grassland conversion and cropping activities (see examples in figures 2 and 3). Combining ISCC with GRAS helps with the conduct of

audits and increases the credibility of sustainability certification at the same time. Automated systems In order to further improve the audit and certification process, ISCC has developed an electronic tool called Audit Procedure System (APS) to increase the efficiency of the Rechte and Begrenzungslinie audit process decrease the (13,02 von der Mitte | 0,73 von links) costs of certification. The tool assists auditors in conducting audits and makes the documentation process easier. ISCC’s checklists and audit procedures are continuously adapted and further developed to guarantee best practicality, such as the Excel-based farm procedure, which automatically hides criteria that are not applicable, or an Excel tool helping to identify chemicals prohibited under ISCC. APS also generates automatic summary audit reports which can be published on the ISCC website. This contributes to increased transparency. ISCC works continuously on improving the integrity and credibility of certification. Frequent multi-stakeholder dialogues on sustainability and its practical implementation and verification help to improve, increase and implement sustainability requirements. Though sustainability certification is a substantial step into the right direction, sustainability and deforestation challenges cannot be tackled by certification alone. As the major growth area lies within smallholders who are difficult to certify, it is necessary to go beyond certification. Implementing the ISCC Landscape Approach can mitigate sustainability and deforestation risks caused by smallholders through certified units acting as role models and supporting rural development in the region. l 27

For more information: This article was written by Norbert Schmitz, managing director at ISCC System, and Myriel Camp, system manager at ISCC System. Visit:

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biofuels regional focus

The road beyond 2020 EU biofuels is facing the threat of a ‘lost decade’ By Colin Ley


iofuels specialists in Europe are concerned that the 2020s will become a lost decade for climate and environmental protection in relation to the transport sector with some major opportunities to develop alternative fuels being lost while governments wait for the electrification of road vehicles to take over from today’s fossil fuels-based structures. It’s a concern voiced to Biofuels International by the Renewable Energy Association’s head of Renewable Transport, Clare Wenner, and by Joachim Lutz, CEO of Germany’s bioethanol producer, CropEnergies, both of whom believe chances are currently being missed to transition transport from a fossil fuel base to a broader energy platform. “There is a view at the political level that the only option is to go for the electrification of road and rail transport,” says Wenner, adding that, as a result, the potential for alternative fuels to oil to be developed as an

intermediary step is being lost. “Many politicians have got vastly ahead of the market on this issue; ahead of consumer readiness to switch to new systems, and way, way ahead of the availability of renewable electricity sources to supply the transport sector.” ‘Excellent chances’ Lutz agrees, commenting that there are ‘excellent chances’ across Europe to increase the role of renewable energy in transport, especially through the use of biofuels, but that insufficient progress is taking place at present. “Currently, there is an EU policy in place to increase renewables in the transport sector to 10% by 2020,” he says. “The challenge, however, is to define a policy beyond 2020, without which the impact of renewable sources of energy on the road is going nowhere. “Look at the European Commission’s draft proposals for post-2020, for example, and you won´t find an obligation to replace fossil fuels by renewables in the transport sector. In addition, the existing, established and

clean renewable fuels which are already available from arable crops are supposed to be reduced after 2021, which would benefit fossil fuels. “At the same time, EU proposals post-2020 will set growth targets for alternative fuels, if approved, including cellulosic ethanol, as well as electricity from renewable sources, solutions which are simply not commercially available right now. “In effect, the implementation of the current proposals will fail to reduce an alarming dependence on oil in transport, resulting in more fossil fuels being burnt in cars in the future. There is the real threat therefore that, if introduced as it stands, the EC’s plan will turn the 2020s into a lost decade for climate and environmental protection on Europe’s roads.” Having spent a considerable amount of time and effort working with NGOs in Brussels in recent years, most noticeably during the often difficult Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC) debate, Wenner observed that many of those involved had reached the point where they would rather see the transport sector depending on fossil fuels over the next

few years before switching directly to renewable sources of electricity, rather than bothering with an intermediary alternative fuels phase. “I find that a surprising position to take,” she says. “To my mind we should be throwing everything at the current emissions issue. The transport sector in Europe is currently 95% reliant on oil and accounts for 20% of EU emissions, making it the biggest single sector emitter of carbon and a ‘pretty poor’ story in general. “We need to be working on low-carbon fuels and we need to explore as many different types of fuel as possible to ease Europe’s emission problems, rather than just waiting for electricity to save the day,” says Wenner. Commitment to new projects The innovation, technology and infrastructure to produce alternative biofuels is certainly not lacking across Europe: just the political drive and desire to encourage investors to commit to new projects, content in the knowledge that governments will stay

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with new developments for a reasonably long-term period. “Looking towards the next generation, we need to reduce fossil fuels and cut GHG emissions,” says Lutz, adding that if the European Commission really wants to achieve its goals it needs to provide a safe development background for renewable fuels made from arable crops, while also encouraging renewable fuels to be made from residues and/or waste. When the politicians get it wrong, however, there tends to be both an immediate and a long-term price to pay, a point highlighted recently by Jan Koninckx, global business director for Biofuels at DuPont Industrial Biosciences. “Advanced biofuels will not see investors in Europe,” he warns. “After you pull the rug from underneath the conventional biofuel industry, advanced biofuel investors will not step on the same rug.” It doesn’t help, of course, that would-be investors into Europe also have the official launch of the UK’s Brexit negotiations and a steady stream of Member State presidential and parliamentary elections to cope with in 2017, especially coming on top of a significant downturn in European-based funding for renewables. While global investments in renewable energy continue to increase, rising to above €260bn last year, European investments have dropped by more than half since 2011 to €44bn. As a result,

the EU currently accounts for just 18% of total global investment in renewables, which is down from close to 50% just six years ago. It would be wrong to suggest the European fallback is solely due to policy decisions at Member State of EU level, however. Economic downturn “The financial crash had a huge effect on the sector, not only in its direct impact on investors but also on the ability of several governments to continue

seeking places and projects which are as free from policy influence as possible. In the midst of such difficulties, of course, some countries find a way to keep pressing forward in their renewable initiatives, including the promotion of advanced biofuels. Denmark, for example, won plaudits earlier in the year for committing to the implementation of its 0.9% advanced biofuels blending mandate by 2020, for use in transportation. The move is designed to boost the use of second-generation biofuels

Denmark is focusing on a range of solutions which embrace the whole spectrum of wind and solar power, biomass and biofuels subsidising renewable power and heat in their respective countries,” says Wenner. “Who knows, however, maybe without the financial crash more resources would have been made available to support the sector and we would be in a different position today.” As it is, governments across Europe have had to adjust their budgets, resulting in reduced incentives for investors who, not surprisingly, have looked for other places to put their money, ideally

in the country and puts Denmark ahead of other less ambitious EU Member States. The Danish government’s requirement, which will apply to all suppliers of transport fuels, including gasoline, diesel and gas, will be addressed through the use of all kinds of advanced biofuels. The national plan also fits with the country’s target of reducing its dependence on fossil fuels by 33 % over the next ten years, putting Denmark well on the way to becoming entirely free from fossil fuels by 2050.

While some others in Europe appear to lack the desire to make the necessary renewable changes and commitments, Denmark is focusing on a range of solutions which embrace the whole spectrum of wind and solar power, biomass and biofuels. It’s envisaged, in fact, that this will result in nearly half the country’s electricity being provided by wind power by 2020, alongside another 20% which will come from biomass; all the time leaving space for advanced biofuels to play its part. In addition, the national energy strategy is seen as offering the country’s businesses a “great chance to move into the heavy league of successful super green companies”, to quote from the Danish government’s official energy website. This vision on the country’s energy future not only translates into greater efficiency measures being applied to businesses within Denmark but also heralds the opening of doors for Danish companies to become bigger players within an “enormous global market for green technology, services and systems”. For those still on the outside, meanwhile, but starting to look in, the Danish message is simple and direct. “This market,” concludes the Danish government, “is only going to grow once more governments follow in the carbon-light footsteps of Denmark.” l

Background information The UK-based Renewable Energy Association was established in 2001 as a not-for-profit trade association, representing renewable energy producers and promoting the use of renewable energy. REA’s members cover the whole spectrum of technologies and renewable energy applications, including electric power, heat, CHP, transport biofuels, biomethane to

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grid (“green gas”) and the production of compost. Members comprise generators, project developers, fuel producers and distributors, equipment manufacturers and distributors, those in organics recycling and service providers, ranging in size from major multi-nationals to sole traders. Based in Mannheim, Germany, CropEnergies is a leading European

manufacturer of “sustainably produced bioethanol” for the fuel sector, operating from modern production facilities in Germany, Belgium, the UK and France. The company manufactures approximately 1.3 million cubic metres of bioethanol per year from cereals and sugar beet. In addition to its European network, the company has trading offices in Brazil, Chile and the USA.

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biofuels cellulosic ethanol

Novozymes and St1 teams visiting North European Oil Trade’s cellulosic ethanol plant in Kajaani, Finland

The three myths of cellulosic ethanol in Europe Making the case for second-generation biorefineries


hroughout Europe, countries are taking different approaches toward their carbon neutrality goals. But they all have one thing in common – they are each taking meaningful steps toward decarbonising the transportation sector, which makes up more than 25% of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the EU. One political development is the European Commission’s Clean Energy Package, which states that advanced biofuels must make up at least 3.6% of the EU’s overall fuel mix by 2030, gradually increasing as that date approaches. The rationale for this decision lies in the development of the fuel’s CO2 footprint on its way to becoming emissions neutral and, eventually, emissions negative.

The Clean Energy Package creates opportunities for investors in a variety of energy technologies, including advanced biofuels, renewable electricity and hydrogen. None of these technologies, however, will be a “silver bullet” for our transportation emissions dilemma, which needs all good solutions to decarbonise transport including existing sustainable conventional biofuels. In reality, some forms of energy may be better suited for different segments. Hydrogen, for instance, may be a preferred option for long-distance hauling vehicles, while electricity may work well for urban vehicles traveling short distances. Low-carbon biofuels like bioethanol – no matter what generation – have an important role to play in certain segments, including

most cars and buses. In fact, assuming that cellulosic ethanol, also known as 2G or advanced ethanol, will provide approximately one-third of the fuel to meet the proposed 2030 3.6% blending obligation would necessitate at least 44 largescale cellulosic 50 kilotonne per year biorefineries. And yet, myths about advanced biofuels persist. Myth #1: There is no demand In essence, the European Commission (EC) – through its drafted, binding mandate – shall create a 2.2 billion litre per year market for cellulosic ethanol by politically incentivising demand. But this does not make the demand any less real. In parallel, individual Member States are enacting their own policies to meet their shorter

term targets, and many have already reported they have introduced or plan to introduce a binding target for advanced biofuels by 2020, including Germany, France, Italy, Denmark, Slovakia and Finland, to name a few. These policies further build the business case by imposing stiff penalties on the fuel suppliers that fail to meet their blending obligations. Italy, for example, already has a penalty mechanism in place of €945 per tonne, on top of the cost of the petrol substituted, which creates premium 2G ethanol prices. Myth #2: There are no working large-scale plants Some assume that biomassto-ethanol conversion technology is at a stage where only small demo plants

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exist, but this is simply not the case. There are seven large-scale cellulosic ethanol plants constructed on different continents fed with different biomass like agricultural residues, wood and energy crops, all in all representing more than €2 billion worth of “steel in the ground”. To put the situation in context, let us use technology readiness levels, a common method of classifying the maturity of a rising technology. Levels 1 through 4 happen in a laboratory or pilot plant. Levels 5 through 7 then involve core process conversions in a demo plant. Levels 8 and 9, the highest levels, take place at commercial scale. That is where the cellulosic ethanol industry is today. At level 8,

the first-of-their-kind full-scale facilities have shown through steep learning curves that the process technology is scaled up and reaches expected performance regarding yield, utilisation and stability. Already, facilities such as the 40,000 tonnes of EtOH (ethanol) per year Beta Renewables’ plant in Italy, in operation since 2012 based on the Proesa technology, and Shell/Cosan joint venture Raizen’s facility in Brazil, are proving the case. Currently commissioning plants like the North European Oil Trade’s saw-dust-based plant in North Finland, which utilises Cellunolix technology developed by St1, are on their way to showcasing the technology

of tomorrow. The cellulosic industry is now on the way to entering level 9, where the CAPEX- and OPEX-optimised versions of processes are realised and the new wave of production facilities is rolling out as greenfield or as 1G co-locations. Myth #3: There is not enough biomass As a matter of fact, the net amount of sustainable biomass in Europe is sufficient to substitute 15-20% of the total fossil fuels used by the continent. Germany alone creates about 10 million tonnes of dry matter per year of fully sustainable biomass, which could satisfy the supply needs of more than 30 cellulosic

standard ethanol plants. Having dispelled these three common myths, the fact remains that Europe must continue to make use of all available decarbonisation possibilities, starting with sustainable first-generation biofuels, if we are to achieve the goals set by the EC and, ultimately, the Paris Climate Agreement. When it comes to meeting the clean energy needs of Europe’s future, there are plenty of opportunities to go around – and more than enough room at the table. l

For more information: This article was written by Melich Dietrich Seefeldt, head of Biorefinery Business Development in Europe, Middle East & Africa at Novozymes. Visit:

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biofuels circular economy A circular economy has many obvious benefits for businesses, and some are moving the agenda forward

Entering into a new paradigm


ccording to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the circular economy is “one that is restorative and regenerative by design, and which aims to keep products, components and materials at their highest utility and value at all times, distinguishing between technical and biological cycles.” It is turning the conventional linear value chain model-make, use, disposeon its head and intentionally and systematically pushing the concept of resource, product and materials reuse for the greatest value. Driving

maximal use, reducing waste throughout the product and system lifecycle while (re)generating value and

entering lucrative new markets and building smarter cities. This rings similar to what biofuels brings to the

The biofuels sector has a great deal to gain from the circular economy wealth systematically. This new paradigm delivers win-win closed loop solutions that yield attractive environmental and financial outcomes throughout the value system all the while creating jobs,

Enerkem’s biofuels facility in Alberta, Canada

economy. No longer thought of as a buzzword, the circular economy has the potential to unleash a three trillion dollar global economy, according to McKinsey & Co. and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. Creating value from waste

is a smart way forward for business, government and civil society in our resource-limited reality. A new way forward Today, more and more cities and companies across sectors are ‘going circular’ and shifting their mindsets and operations to retain as much as possible from all points along the value chain. From Unilever and Nike to Philips Lighting, London and Hong Kong, as well as global economics shape-makers like the World Economic Forum, there is resounding recognition of the need for and long-term business benefit of adopting these new operating principles. A new way forward. Houston-based trash hauler Waste Management, for example, is leading the pack in its sector by leveraging the valuable role garbage – the very problem for which the company exists – can play in the transition to a circular economy. The company provides both sustainability solutions (via reusing and recycling) and smart business alternatives to a marketplace in need of innovation to drive clean, renewable energy and a healthy bottom line. Enerkem is a biofuels and clean chemicals producer whose business was founded on the premise of harnessing waste for its greatest value. The company enters the market where, in the noncircular, linear business context, products and services reach the end-of-life stage:

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at the point of disposal and waste, when goods and byproducts are either dumped into landfills or incinerated. It’s a circular economy business model at its core.

technology, can help reduce carbon dioxide emissions, aid in extended producer responsibility and meet the growing world demand for renewable chemicals.


Diverting waste away from landfill

In Enerkem’s system, the carbon still contained in non-recyclable and noncompostable municipal solid waste (MSW) otherwise destined to landfill is recycled and converted into methanol, ethanol or other renewable chemicals. In less than five minutes, waste materials that are chemically and structurally heterogeneous are broken down and converted into a pure, stable and homogeneous synthesis gas (also called syngas). This syngas is then converted into renewable fuels and chemicals which, when produced using Enerkem’s

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As part of a comprehensive municipal waste-to-biofuels initiative in partnership with the City of Edmonton and Alberta Innovates – Energy and Environment Solutions, in 2013 the company built Enerkem Alberta Biofuels, a full-scale commercial facility that produces methanol – and eventually ethanol – from MSW. The facility generates revenues both from the sale of its methanol and from tipping fees received by the City of Edmonton for garbage processing. This facility is supporting the city in reaching its goal of

boosting a waste diversion rate from 50% to 90%. Our full-scale commercial facility is the first collaboration between a waste-to-biofuels producer and a municipality to address waste disposal challenges. In 2016, Enerkem obtained certification from the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification system for the Alberta facility, making it the first ISCC-certified plant in the world to convert MSW into biomethanol. ISCC certification opens the door to exporting biofuels to European markets. Enerkem Alberta Biofuels has become a model for communities and other municipalities, urban and rural, around the world that are considering smarter ways to manage waste and create value. Enerkem’s technology, in partnership with the City of Edmonton and Alberta Innovates, is taking tangible

steps toward closing the loop of the circular economy. The biofuels sector has a great deal to offer and gain from the shift to a circular economy, as evidenced by Enerkem’s work with the City of Edmonton and its chief innovation champion, Mayor Don Iveson. Sustainable strategies in forward-thinking cities, smart business solutions by biofuels and waste management leaders, as well as the confidence we see from the investor community, are palpable and exciting. We look forward to playing a role in this shift and continuing to be inspired by the leaders at the forefront of this new, circular way forward. l For more information: This story was written by Marie-Hélène Labrie, senior VP of Government Affairs and Communications at Enerkem. Visit:

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biofuels marine biofuels With the marine industry striving to drive down emissions, recent tests promise a bright future in marine use for biodiesel

Cleaner marine shipping with advanced biofuels


an operating marine vessel. “We are extremely proud to bring in UPM as a new partner in our ground-breaking test programme. This cooperation will help to further accelerate the supply of sustainable biofuel to the global maritime industry,” says Dirk Kronemeijer, CEO at GoodFuels Marine. The marine industry is currently looking for costefficient ways to reduce shipping emissions in compliance with new international regulations. Sulphur emissions can, for instance, be reduced by equipping the vessels with sulphur scrubbers, but this is a costly investment. “UPM BioVerno is a sustainable, competitive fuel that can be used in marine engines without any additional investments, which makes it a cost-effective alternative in reducing shipping emissions,” notes Mannonen.

Sustainable biofuels enable shipping companies to reduce the CO2 emissions of their vessels by up to 8090%. Biofuels also eliminate sulphur oxide emissions, and reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by approximately 10% and particulate matter emissions by 50%. Current estimates predict that biofuels could account for 5–10% of all marine fuels by 2030. “The successful test is an important step for us, as it opens up a new customer segment for UPM BioVerno in the future,” says Mannonen. The Netherlands leads the way The Netherlands is a frontrunner in the reduction of CO2 emissions. The Dutch environmental organisation Natuur & Milieu is encouraged by the test results achieved by GoodFuels and Boskalis. “This project is a true example

for both the shipping and the biofuels industry of the successful utilisation of waste- and residue-based biofuels,” says Maarten van Biezen, mobility policy director at Natuur & Milieu. The test was performed in the first half of 2016 during dredging operations for the Marker Wadden EcoIslands landscaping project. The test resulted in a CO2 saving of 600 tonnes for the duration of the project. Marker Wadden is a large-scale project in the Markermeer in Central Netherlands. Islands and wetlands are being constructed to restore the area’s delicate ecosystem. The wetlands will provide important nesting areas for birds, and the underwater landscaping will create new spawning grounds for fish. The new nature reserve helps protect endangered animal and plant species. There are also plans to Source: Straystone / Boskalis

aritime transport is looking for new ways to reduce carbon dioxide and sulphur emissions. At the beginning of 2017, the Marine Environment Protection Committee of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) adopted a global sulphur cap requiring all ships to use fuels with a maximum 0.5% sulphur content, as of 1 January, 2020. Recent tests on a dieselpowered dredger in the Netherlands yielded promising results for UPM BioVerno diesel. The tests were performed by dredging and marine specialist Boskalis and GoodFuels Marine, a provider of sustainable marine biofuels. “This was the first time that UPM BioVerno was tested in a marine vessel. So far, it has been used in road traffic, where it performed excellently in all diesel engines,” says Sari Mannonen, head of UPM Biofuels. UPM BioVerno is produced at UPM’s Lappeenranta Biorefinery, Finland. Shrinking carbon footprint GoodFuels, Boskalis and marine engine manufacturer Wärtsilä have established a consortium running a two-year pilot programme to accelerate the roll-out of sustainable biofuels in the marine industry. UPM BioVerno is the first woodbased biofuel to be tested in

Boskalis vessel EDAX cutter suction dredger has successfully used biofuel in bio/fossil blends going up to 50%

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Source: Straystone / Boskalis

develop the Marker Wadden area as an important destination for nature tourism. Marine biofuels promoted in CNN In January 2017, a CNN film crew visited UPM Lappeenranta Biorefinery and Mannonen was able to espouse the benefits of using advanced biofuels for the marine sector. They also interviewed Dirk Kronemeijer from GoodFuels. In an Eco Solutions programme entitled ‘The sustainable fuel growing on trees’, Mannonen discusses the process of making UPM’s wood-based diesel fuel. UPM BioVerno diesel is derived from crude tall oil, a residue of UPM’s own pulp production, which mostly originates from Finnish forests. Mannonen explained UPM’s commitment to sustainable forestry by saying how

Dutch Marker Wadden Eco-Islands in the middle of the Markermeer lake

UPM uses every piece of the wood when a tree is taken out of the forest. The company knows the origin of its wood and plants 50 million new seedlings per year. As some 90% of the trade moves through oceans,

the pollution from the mode of transport affects us all. Kronemeijer said that the GoodFuels would be working in conjunction with UPM to supply the BioVerno diesel to the shipping industry. He also commented that the

world need to get rid of “dirty” fossil fuels used in marine as soon as possible. l For more information: This article was written by Matti Remes, freelance journalist, and Anneli Kunnas, communications manager at UPM. Visit:


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Piloting biofuel production provides invaluable knowledge, but there are many questions to answer before the programme can begin

The value of contracted piloting


n developing new and existing fermentation processes, there are many unknowns that need to be characterised to deliver the right solution to the full scale design. Production capacity, recycle stream impacts, waste generation, and supply logistics are all critical to realising a commercially competitive process. However, there are many other variables such as environmental compliance, product specifications, intellectual property, and equipment specifications that, if ignored, can burn the light out on a bright idea. To remedy this development need, the right solution is to pilot a production process. It is, however, not always straightforward to make this critical step. Whereas initial applied research creates a considerable level of confidence at relatively low cost, gaining the “how”

Six-litre bench scale fermenter

information provided by the pilot fermentation carries a comparatively substantial amount of cost. Unfavourable scaling factors make pilot scale fermentation processing expensive for the amount of product generated. If pilot cost is the metric used to assess piloting value, board members may waffle. This metric is not consistent with the overall goal of product development: it is not how much product can be made, but how easy it can be made when properly scaled for economics. The goal of piloting is knowledge. Questions to ask There are several scales of piloting, and some or all may be of value, depending upon the kind of questions that need answers. Bench scale (less than 10l) is often used for qualitative questions, while pilot development units employ individual unit

operations to determine things like mass balance uncertainty. Integrated pilot trials at large scale start to address some of the control and unit operation interplay questions, followed by demonstration scale where extended runs can prove out failure mitigation, process stability, and input variation factors on a process. Integrated demonstration, where the process is running at 1/100 to 1/10 scale, crystallises the process with little scaling risk for the commercial system and provides representative product sampling for potential customers. Defining critical questions early on is of utmost importance to passing into commercial scale with realistic expectations on fermentation. Process developers must begin with the end in mind, understanding what success looks like, and working from that point backwards into the development plan. Some of the basic relevant questions to define early on are: 1. What is the scale of the proposed commercial-scale system? Some aspects of liquid fermentations scale quite easily, while factors like agitation and cleaning can present issues at benchtop scale compared to integrated operation. 2. Is the fermentation aerobic, microaerobic, or anaerobic? Aeration and agitation are key design and control features for fermentation and can vary considerably. 3. What is the recovery

process? Downstream handling of fermentation broth can define the needed pilot scale more than the fermentation step. Distillation, filtration, and centrifugation can vary quite considerably with scale, especially in processes with high temperature sensitivities due to state and viscosity. 4. Which of the critical unit operations can be scaled back down in a relevant way once larger scale correlations are established to facilitate further optimisation? Well defined fermentation scaling questions can be integrated and framed through integrated techno-economic analysis (TEA) models. These models, varying from a collection of integrated spreadsheets in simple cases to full process models using process software, allow for questions to turn into correlations. Also, the dynamic nature of multiple unit operations and other economic factors may be tested across a wider range of conditions that may be impractical to test at the high operating cost pilot facility. TEA models that integrate unit operations help safeguard against “silo operations” where ideal processing performance between two systems are assumed, but cannot physically exist at the same time. Models can also be used to define startup training, contingency

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planning, cost sensitivities, and optimisation pathways for secondary R&D activities.

second-generation biomass to ethanol processes. The facility can integrate with a fuel ethanol plant on the same site, where ICM has successfully developed its recent process technologies (SMT, FST, 1.5G, 2G). The facility includes many scales of aerobic and anaerobic fermentation capacities where the team operates and completes extended fermentation trials for internal projects and external collaborators. l

In or out? A common question posed during a fermentation piloting activity is whether to pilot internally or externally. Conducting the piloting process internally has the benefit of keeping the experiences and process designs in-house. However, piloting internally often comes with significant cost from building up complete permitted facilities with skilled piloting manpower which later may no longer be needed after reaching development milestones. Conversely, experienced external piloting facilities can come with diverse unit operation selections, scales, skilled operations,

ICM scientist Rick Brunner with shake flask scale fermentors

and engineering, as well as waste handling and compliance processes already implemented, but brings some risk of technology exposure. Determining the right solutions for a given technology depends on the level of

risks, timeline flexibility, and current level of process knowledge of the production. ICM has operated a process development facility in St. Joseph, Missouri, funded in part by a US Department of Energy grant to develop


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biofuels fermentation The use of advanced fermentation organisms to achieve additional ethanol yield in fuel ethanol production

Pushing the limits on yield


s margins between product value and inputs costs continue to put pressure on producers of fuel ethanol facilities to operate more efficiently, particularly as blend requirements fluctuate seasonally, there is a competitive advantage for producers in being able to yield more ethanol from less grain, cane, cellulosic, or other sugarbearing feedstock. Recent developments in enzyme technology have allowed for improved separation of carbohydrates from protein, and improved conversion of less readily fermentable carbohydrates into readily fermentable carbohydrates. Recent developments in yeast technology have allowed for more efficient

use of exogenous enzymes for completing hydrolysis of carbohydrates, and for reduction of glycerol production associated with yeast growth in fermentation, allowing for reduced byproduct formation and increased ethanol yields. Glycerol production from another source, osmotic stress placed on yeast, remains one of the largest by-products of fermentation. Other carbohydrates present in fermentation, particularly those in the form of fibre containing both hexose (C6) and pentose (C5) sugars, remain unutilised or underutilised in many processes. The economics of the production of ethanol from biomass feedstocks like corn and sugarcane, are dramatically influenced by

the yield of fuel ethanol that can be produced from the feedstock. This is because the input costs to the process (feedstock purchase, energy, fermentation inputs, labour, etc.) are divided by the amount of product produced from those inputs. Although there is variation among them, traditional yeast strains used to carry out these fermentation processes have a ceiling to the ethanol yield they can achieve (mass of ethanol produced per mass of sugar fermented). However, the tools of genetic engineering can fundamentally alter the height of this ceiling. Traditional methods Saccharomyces cerevisiae, commonly called yeast, is found in our daily lives, in the air we breathe, and

Fig 1: Development and adoption of TransFerm, the first advanced yeast strain widely used by the US corn ethanol market

on the foods we eat. Yeast has a long history of use by humans over thousands of years in connection with the fermentation and preservation of foods like bread, wine and beer. Today, because it can be easily grown and delivers consistent production results, it is the most widely used industrial microorganism with more than 2.2 million tonnes of yeast produced each year worldwide. It is also the microorganism of choice for basic research, serving as the model eukaryotic organism for the study of the fundamentals of biology and genetics for many decades. The performance and characteristics of yeast are determined by its genetic code, which is passed on from one generation to the next. This code is physically carried by the sequence of chemical subunits called deoxyribonucleic acids (DNA) within the organism. Genetic engineering refers to the process of purposely changing the DNA sequence of a particular organism to accomplish some purpose. In the case of S. cerevisiae, the ability to manipulate its DNA dates back to 1978. Since that time, the genome (all of an organism’s DNA) of yeast has been completely sequenced and many key biological discoveries have consequently been made. The development of new genetically modified yeast strains for fuel ethanol production has also been pursued. In particular,

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Mill/ facility

Plant size Number of Ethanol yield (million l ethanol ferms comparing increase per year)

Glycerol reduction

Enzyme reduction

1 416


2.9% 21% 45%




1.6% 40% 30%




2.0% 37% 25%




2.0% 30% 40%

5 132 88

1.7% 26% 28%

Table 1: Results from commercial-scale testing of TransFerm Yield+ in corn mills

methods of increasing the yield of ethanol by reducing by-product glycerol formation, enzyme expression, and accessing new types of sugars not normally fermented by yeast (e.g. xylose) have all been demonstrated. Until recently, however, none of these technologies had been implemented during commercial production of ethanol. Working together In 2011, Mascoma and Lallemand introduced the first genetically modified yeast to the corn ethanol market in the US. This first product was called TransFerm, and it was a strain of industrial yeast that produced an important enzyme called glucoamylase for breaking down starch into simple sugars that is added to the corn to ethanol process (see fig 1). TransFerm was groundbreaking in several ways. First, being a genetically modified yeast, it had to have acceptance by regulatory agencies in the US, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Working with both agencies to meet their requirements, testing data and information were produced and reviewed to show that the product was safe. Second, TransFerm was

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also the first strain to deliver new value to US ethanol producers by reducing their costs associated with external enzyme purchase. The technology was proven through extensive testing from the laboratory (4ml) to pilot (12,000l) to commercial scales (2 million litres). Commercialscale trials were run to prove to the customers the value the strain was delivering at their production facilities. Within two years, this product was being used by 20% of corn ethanol producers. A more complex product called TransFerm Yield+ (TFY+) was recently brought to the market by Lallemand Biofuels & Distilled Spirits. TFY+ combined a new technology to reduce byproduct glycerol formation and increase ethanol yield with the core capability of producing glucoamylase. Commercial-scale testing with TFY+ today routinely delivers >2% yield increase of ethanol per input of corn to the process, along with >30% reduction in needed enzyme (Table 1). Because this yield increase comes with no need for additional process additives or other costs, it delivers increased margins directly to the producers. The initial testing of the product happened in late 2013 and 2014. To date, TransFerm Yield+ is in use at more than 50% of the

US corn ethanol production facilities and moving into other areas of the world as well. Red tape The main challenges with the introduction of a biotechnological yeast are two-fold. The first area are the regulatory requirements of each region. There is no universal way to approve this type of organism and every country or region has specific requirements to confirm the safety of the product. This can be a rather costly and time consuming process, especially when organisms of this type have not been implemented into this market previously. Lallemand continues to work with the proper regulatory agencies to help educate them on not only the benefits of these products, but how the organisms are handled and how they impact (or do not impact) the environment. Secondly, as technology becomes more readily available it is sometimes difficult to actually implement that into the marketplace. Naturally people are hesitant to try new things. Economics can play a big role on when new technology gets introduced. If a plant is making healthy margins, it is very hard to get them to move off standard operating conditions. Many companies make claims of yield increase or the latest and greatest technology that

will save them money and increase their output. However, one bad trial can cost a company a substantial amount of revenue based on a less than optimal trial result. Lallemand goes through a very rigorous implementation protocol in lab, pilot, and field testing before it releases a product to market. To date, TransFerm Yield+ has been used to make more than five billion gallons of ethanol and Lallemand has converted many production facilities over to using biotech yeast. The company continues to fine tune the organism to provide even more yield increase, enzyme production, etc. It is continuously looking into other technologies that it can produce using a yeast platform. The sky is the limit in this area. The number of technological advances in fermentation has been astronomical over the past few years. For many years, simple bread yeast was used to convert sugars to ethanol, and while the process of fermentation remains relatively the same, the technology involved in order to crack the yield improvement barriers or enzyme production within that cell has been remarkable. l For more information: This article was written by Craig Pilgrim, VP of marketing and product development at Lallemand Biofuels & Distilled Spirits. and John McBride Sr., director of R&D at Mascoma. Visit:

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biofuels fermentation Fermenting microorganisms have been with us all through human history and our coexistence continues to this day

Small and sweet


ith the biofuel industry slammed by low oil prices and low natural gas costs, innovators continue to seek methods to expand the biomass base and value-added products. Advances in fermentation are key to this success. In a statement about a recent US Senate hearing, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) noted that DuPont, POET/DSM, Quad County Corn Processors, East Kansas Agri-Energy, CHS, Adkins Energy, ICM, Valero, and many others are showing that advanced and cellulosic biofuels are real and are poised for growth in the years ahead. With fermentation a key process, all of these companies are building on what they have learned from enhancing productivity of fermentation that began thousands of years ago with the first wine production. For example, DuPont described their recent efforts to improve the performance of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. “This yeast species used for ethanol production faces significant stressors during industrial fermentation. Ethanol titers as high as 15% w/w. Temperature excursions beyond 35°C. Lactic and acetic acids present in the mash. Commercially successful yeasts overcome these stressors in part by synthesising trehalose, a non-reducing disaccharide to enhance their stress tolerance. Most of this trehalose ends up outside the cells, resulting in 0.2% w/w by the end of fermentation or about 50% of the DP2 measured by HPLC. Converting this trehalose to dextrose by

applying a trehalase during fermentation can enhance ethanol yields by as much as ½ to 1% at plant scale.” “DuPont’s scientists in Leiden, the Netherlands; Palo Alto, California; and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, worked together to discover and express a fungal trehalase that converts all of the extracellular trehalose during fermentations in as little as 35 hours at an economical dosage. First commercialised for the US market in 2013, trehalase is now in use worldwide in products such as DuPont’s Distillase XP.” Beyond simple sugars and starches Looking beyond the simple sugars of fruits and starches in grains brings us to the world of cellulose, hemicellulose, pectin, and lignin, beginning with the fibres of grain kernels. Since the 1970s, scientists have sought to increase the value of corn to ethanol fermentation by converting not just the starch, which makes up 72% of the kernel by mass, but also the fibre, which could add as much as 10% additional ethanol without requiring additional feedstock. Corn kernel fibre has many virtues as a cellulosic feedstock: an existing supply chain, little lignin, and susceptibility to multiple pre-treatment chemistries. In 2014, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognised that corn kernel fibre qualifies as a crop residue for the creation of D3 cellulosic ethanol renewable identification numbers (RINs). DuPont created the Optimash F product line

Energy beets being weighed at the field lab at University of Maryland Eastern Shore

to efficiently convert pretreated corn kernel fibre into fermentable sugars. These products are the result of applying knowledge gained during almost two decades of investment in cellulosic enzyme discovery, development, and production technologies. While today’s product can convert only 75% of the total sugars in corn kernel fibre, prototypes due to undergo testing as early as 2017 hold the promise of increasing that to 85% and beyond. To date, Quad County Corn Processors in Galva, Iowa, has produced almost five million gallons of cellulosic ethanol using Optimash F enzymes. If all US ethanol plants were to adopt one of the corn kernel fibre conversion technologies (also known as Gen 1.5) being marketed today, as much as an additional billion gallons

of cellulosic ethanol would be produced per year. Other companies such as Edeniq and D3MAX also make cellulosic sugars in corn kernel fibre available for fermentation. Despite the fact that yeast has been the mainstay of scientific research into genetics, physiology, biochemistry, and cell biology for years, modified yeast for fuel ethanol production remained in the lab. Today, however, genetically modified yeasts deliver glucoamylase to convert dextrins during fermentation, divert more carbon from low value coproducts to increase ethanol yields, and convert the five carbon sugars liberated by Gen 1.5 pretreatment and enzymatic hydrolysis. The key to these achievements lies in creating modified yeast strains that are sufficiently robust to be made into the

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Research Center and the University of Wisconsin. There, yeast was given no choice of food other than xylose so that it evolved through mutations to be able to consume it. Also at the University of Illinois, researchers are working on this having merged S. cerevisiae with another strain of yeast and then induced mutations that allow it to efficiently ferment xylose. Root crops

Cellulosic ethanol process

preferred active dry form and function flawlessly in million gallon fermentors. Agriculture residues – Beyond grains Using corn cobs, leaves, husk, and some stalk harvested by farmers primarily within a 40-mile radius, Project Liberty is the product of a joint venture between POET, one of the largest US ethanol producers, and DSM, an international leader in biotech and life sciences. POET-DSM’s process uses enzymes to break down the cellulose from biomass into fermentable sugars, which are converted to ethanol. The non-fermentable lignin and other waste product is separated into solids and liquids and sent to a solid fuel boiler or anaerobic digester to produce renewable energy. The venture’s first commercial-scale plant, located in Emmetsburg, Iowa, will have a capacity of 20 million gallons per year, later ramping up to 25 million gallons per year.

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As a demonstration plant, this facility will prove the process for licensing to enable cellulosic ethanol production to spread across the US and internationally. An initial lifecycle analysis of Project Liberty demonstrates an 85-95% reduction of greenhouse gases when compared to petrol. These GHG savings are due to a number of factors, including: • Utilisation of a feedstock that is already being planted, with minimal added fertiliser inputs • Production of steam and biogas to offset natural gas use at the facility itself and the adjacent starch ethanol facility • Environmental benefits inherent to bioethanol over fossil fuel petrol DuPont has pioneered the development and use of Zymomonas mobilis for the fermentation of five- and six-carbon sugars derived from cellulosic biomass concurrently at high rate and high efficiency. Zymo builds less of its own biomass

and produces very little glycerol, and therefore is more metabolically efficient at converting sugars to ethanol than yeasts. While in grain alcohol the spent yeast is sold with the protein-rich distiller’s grain at animal feed prices to offset the cost of sugar converted to cell biomass, in cellulosic ethanol there is no such readily available high value outlet for the spent fermentation cells. Therefore, in cellulosic biomass-based ethanol, there is a stronger driver than in grain-based ethanol to maximise the metabolic yield of the sugar to ethanol rather than cell biomass. In addition, zymo has a high production rate per unit of cell mass, which leads to increased volumetric productivity in the fermentation process. DuPont has modified Zymomonas so that it can deal better with contaminants and so that it can consume glucose, xylose, and arabinose effectively. Others working on this challenge include researchers at the Great Lakes Bioenergy

Low levels of lignin in biomass, the part of cell walls that enables plants to “stand up”, makes release of carbohydrates for fermentation considerably easier. Janice Ryan-Bohac has been promoting the benefits of industrial sweet potatoes as a fuel feedstock since at least 2008, including a stint about giant vegetables on a 2010 David Letterman show. Another root crop, cassava, is widely available in Africa and Asia for fermentation to ethanol, and biorefineries in the EU ferment sucrose from sugar beets for fuel ethanol. To move beyond the “low hanging” sugars and starches in these crops, test plots of Plant Sensory System’s energy beets have been planted in Florida and Maryland. Derived from sugar beets to grow in hotter, more humid environments, the root biomass of energy beets is intended for energy production, with residual proteins available for animal feed. Like corn kernels, they have little lignin. In addition to the sucrose stored in the root, energy beet plant cell walls contain large quantities of polysaccharides such as pectin, hemicellulose, and cellulose that can be converted to sugars for biofuel production. Atlantic Biomass of Frederick, Maryland, in conjunction with Hood College, has developed a sequential enzyme system that, without chemical

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biofuels fermentation pretreatment of the biomass, converts those cell wall polysaccharides into fermentable sugars and releases residual sucrose that mechanical processes leave behind. Research beginning in 2009 by Atlantic Biomass showed the absence of an acid- or temperaturebased pretreatment reduces both energy use and the cost of removing the pretreatment chemicals, and that it eliminates formation of fermentation inhibitors. In addition to commercially available enzymes, the genetically engineered thermostable pectin methylesterase (PME) JL25 from Atlantic Biomass was used in the testing. Other companies focused on production of biomass sugars include Sweetwater Energy, Renmatix, Leaf Resources, American Process, Zeachem, and others. The US Department of Energy published a list of those who responded to a Request for Information about their cellulose-to-sugar production capabilities. DuPont’s joint venture with Tate & Lyle has operated a fermentation plant to produce propane-diol (PDO) from sugar for close to ten years. It uses DuPont process technology, as well as a highly modified fermentation organism that efficiently converts sugar to PDO. Additionally, DuPont has also supported its joint venture with BP in the development of a special yeast for the production of butanol. For that purpose, the yeast was equipped with a patented pathway to produce butanol, and ethanol production was disrupted. Fermentation to oils Fermentation by microbes to produce oil avoids some of the challenges encountered by producing oils from algae and cyanobacteria, such as the destruction of the single cell organisms to extract the

oils. Yanna Liang of Southern Illinois University provides a bit of modern history in her chapter on microbial oils in Commercializing Biobased Produces: Opportunities, Challenges, Benefits and Risks. “Between the periods of the two World Wars, researchers, especially those in Germany, started to explore oils produced by oleaginous microbes. Unfortunately, these early efforts did not end up with commercialscale production of microbial oils due to the absence of industrial scale fermentation technology and genetic tools to modify target microbial strains,” Liang writes. “In the 1980s and 1990s a significant amount of research was once again devoted to oleaginous microorganisms, yeasts, and microalgae, with the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Aquatic Species Program (ASP) being a wellknown example. But due to cost-related issues, work on research related to production of low value biofuels and biochemicals stopped. “Today, crude glycerol, a co-product of biodiesel production, gains value when fermented to produce a myriad of products,” she concludes. Liang provides a number of references that illustrate that fermentation of, for example, hydrolysates of sweet sorghum bagasse can produce microbial oils in oleaginous yeast strains. She points out current challenges, one being inhibition and another being the cost of substrate and fermentor. To improve the efficiency of current fermentors, in her chapter she explores efforts being made with genetic/ metabolic engineering of microbial species for producing microbial oils, maximising oil production from oleaginous microorganisms. But that is not all. In addition, the USDA National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research in Peoria, Illinois, has a collection of oleaginous yeast that have been selected

based upon their ability to grow on hydrolysates, ferment mixed sugars, and produce high titers of lipids. Cassandra Breil, Alice Meullemiestre, Maryline Vian, and Farid Chemat in France are also evaluating the performance of several alternative biobased solvents for extracting lipids from yeasts. A team from the University of California, Riverside, are currently adapting the CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing system for use in a yeast strain that can produce lipids and polymers. The research involves the oleaginous yeast Yarrowia lipolytica, which converts sugars to lipids and hydrocarbons that are difficult to make synthetically. They found that Y. lipolytica, through the application of CRISPRCas9 will allow scientists to tap into its potential to make not only precursors to biofuels, but also polymers, adhesives, coatings, and fragrances, that is long-chain hydrocarbons that have higher value than fuels. Sarah Nightingale’s article in explains the potential impact. Microorganisms rule the world Everyone knows about the products of fermentation. Call it whiskey, whisky, moonshine, bourbon, rum, beer, wine or thousands of other names, or other products of fermentation like saurkraut, vinegar, yoghurt, or cheese. People around the world and through human history have lived with and benefited from microorganisms that ferment. Even now, in a renewable transportation fuel industry built on fermentation, many may be familiar with corn ethanol, but unaware of many other uses of fermentation to make fuel and other bioproducts. Fuel ethanol production from grain has delivered rural employment, lowered petroleum imports, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions from transport.

Innovation continues to improve its production efficiency and profitability. These recent examples show innovation delivered via fermentation: • In grain ethanol converting yeast metabolites to enhance ethanol yield • Converting corn kernel fibre to additional ethanol • Converting agricultural residues (the rest of the corn plant) to ethanol and renewable electricity • In cellulose, hemicellulose, and pectic sugars from root crops exemplified by energy beets • Modifying yeast to increase the ethanol yield per ton of feedstock • In cellulosic ethanol fermentation using a bacterium • For fermentation to products other than ethanol • With oleaginous yeast strains And there are many others in development. If you think about it, you can’t help but conclude, as others have going back to Antonie Philips van Leeuwenhoek, that microorganisms rule the world. Occasionally, humans find ways to make those microbes and their enzymes work for us. l For more information: This article was written by Joanne Ivancic, executive director at Advanced Biofuels USA. Visit: www. References: Yeast evolution offers hope for cellulosic biofuel, by Kari Lydersen, Midwestern Energy News, November 15, 2016 http://midwestenergynews. com/2016/11/15/yeast-evolutionoffers-hope-for-cellulosic-biofuel/ Articles about Dr. Janice Ryan Bohac and industrial sweet potato http://advancedbiofuelsusa. info/?s=%22RyanBohac%22&x=0&y=00 Giant Sweet Potato May Be Viable Ethanol Feedstock, by Joanna Schroeder,, October 6, 2010 http://energy.agwired. com/2010/10/06/giant-sweet-potatomay-be-viable-ethanol-feedstock/ Chapter 8: Update on Research and Development of Microbial Oils by Yanna Liang Commercializing Biobased Products: Opportunities, Challenges, Benefits, and Risks, 2015, 166-189 DOI:10.1039/9781782622444-00166

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As the RED II debate heats up in the European Parliament and EU Member States, the industry is concerned about putting meat on the bones of the policy proposal

RED II: Room for improvement


he future of the EU biofuels markets is at a crossroads, yet again. In late 2016, the European Commission (EC) proposed a comprehensive revision of the Renewable Energy Directive (RED), containing the EU’s key regulatory provisions on biofuels. The original directive had been adopted in 2009 and then amended in 2015, after the particularly tortuous legislative passage of the so-called ILUC1 Directive. The ILUC Directive modifications constituted a major, and quite unprecedented, U-turn in policy terms with the imposition of a 7% cap on crop-based conventional biofuels. This cap was then justified by an unsurmountable wave of concern regarding the carbon footprint of crop-based biofuels steered, upon the basis of different scientific reports, by environmental NGOs and other actors from the civil society. The latest EC proposal to revise the RED continues the path laid out by that policy U-turn. The original RED compelled EU Member States to comply with a 10% target of use of renewable energy in the transport sector by 2020 to be mostly fulfilled with biofuels. No such specific transport target exists after 2020, but the EC is proposing ways to circumvent this absence, only for certain biofuels in the market, though. In essence, the new proposal contains two major elements designed to drive the EU biofuels markets as from 2020, if not earlier: on the one hand, the cap on crop-based conventional biofuels is maintained at 7%,

but it will now progressively decrease every year until reaching 3.8% in 2030. On the other, a number of alternative fuels are to be incentivised via an incorporation obligation to be imposed by Member States on fuel suppliers. This incorporation obligation would be applicable to advanced biofuels2, biofuels produced from organic wastes and residues, biogas, renewable fuels from non-organic origin, waste fossil fuels, and electricity. Concerning the cap on crop-based biofuels, the EC has publicly stated that civil society’s perceived formidable opposition to crop-based biofuels, orchestrated around the ILUC concept, was too powerful to ignore, and indeed it conditioned the proposal. A progressively decreasing cap would represent a lethal blow to the crop-based biofuels industry, hence the mounting major opposition from the concerned industry at-large, which not only concerns biofuels producers, but a diverse ensemble of industries from the commodities sector, farmers, and investors. Major flaws As for the incorporation obligation, the idea is in principle simple: fuel suppliers would need to comply with a blending mandate which starts at 1.5% in 2021 and increases progressively until reaching 6.8% in 2030. However, the actual design of the obligation is somewhat more cumbersome as it consists of three buckets: i) one sub-target for advanced biofuels, ii) a section for biofuels

produced from wastes and residues capped at 1.7%, and iii) the remainder of the obligation, to be populated by other alternative fuels subject to the obligation (biogas, electricity, etc). This design is probably one of the major flaws of the proposed revision of the RED – why capping the contribution of completely sustainable biofuels from wastes such as used cooking oil and/or animal fats if they have top greenhouse gas savings, produce no ILUC and do not compete for the food and feed markets? Besides the cap and the incorporation obligation, the proposed revision of the RED contains a third set of provisions dealing with the sustainability of biofuels. Here lies a major opportunity to improve the draft legislation: if the highest levels of sustainability and traceability are ensured through the imposition of an ambitious, clear and solid sustainability framework, the proposed limitation in the legislation would not be needed. Fine-tuning The EC proposal for a revision of the RED taking now the first steps of its legislative

passage, a process during which members of the European Parliament and EU Member States negotiate and amend the EC’s draft. In Brussels, all signals indicate that the process will be long and harsh as the stakes are too high for many actors representing a wide array of feedstocks, technologies and investments. The legislative passage of a directive is more than high season for lobbying, it is actually the time to improve and fine-tune the flawed elements of the EC proposal. From EWABA’s perspective, sustainability should be paramount: sustainable biofuels with the highest greenhouse gas savings should obtain the highest levels of promotion. An unjustified cap on biofuels from waste would actually hamper the EU’s ambitious objectives for the decarbonisation of the transport sector. l For more information: This story was written by Angel Alvarez Alberdi, secretary general at EWABA. Visit: Footnote: 1 Indirect Land Use Change 2 The Commission has regrettably opted for a very narrow definition which identifies advanced biofuels as those produced from a list of feedstocks in an annex, excluding from this category biofuels from waste entirely worthy of the advanced status.

What do you think of the EC’s RED II? Join the conversation on Biofuels International’s LinkedIn page

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March/April 2017


New Horizons

The bulk liquid storage sector is growing int he US

Digital collaboration

Four ways to improve tank terminal operations

Storage supplement

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biofuels news

Vopak beefs up biofuels capabilities with new infrastructure at Deer Park Dutch tank storage company Royal Vopak has announced that it will expand its Texasbased terminal.

230.500 m3 storage capacity for flammable and non-flammable liquids 163 tanks, 15 different tank sizes ranging from 156 m3 to 6.600 m3 40.000 m3 stainless steel tank capacity in 2015 Four jetties to handle barges and seagoing vessels with max. draught of 9.30 mtr and 22.000 mt DWT 30 (un)loading bays for tank trucks, tank containers, flexitanks and rail tank cars

Vopak’s Terminal Deer Park will now add 868,000 barrels of new capacity to its current 7,013,787 barrels. In a statement, the company said that the “zero emission infrastructure” is optimally equipped for the storage and handling of biodiesel, renewable diesel, and ethanol. The new features at the terminal include one tank pit, “good connectivity” to ship and barge docks and an automated 24/7 truck loading and unloading station, with capabilities for handling four trucks; simultaneously resulting in fast truck turnaround time. It will also include a connection to the existing ethanol unit train railcar header, enabling a turnaround of less than 48 hours. In a statement, Vopak said: “The new automation capability that streamlines the truck loading and unloading represents a critical time advantage for Vopak’s customers and the Port of Houston. To ensure its customers receive the

maximum benefits from this key location, the company has continued to invest in the Deer Park terminal’s rail infrastructure capabilities.” New terminal in Johannesburg Elsewhere, the company announced that a new 100,000m3 terminal will be built in Johannesburg following an investment by Vopak and its partner Reatile. The new facility in Lesedi, in the Gauteng province will be connected to Vopak Terminal Durban via the Transnet multi product pipeline. It will consist of six tanks, eight truck loading bays with vapour recovery system and a pipeline connected to the state-owned new multiproduct pipeline (NMPP) for refined petroleum products. The NMPP runs from the Port of Durban to Gauteng where currently around 70% of South Africa’s fuel demand is concentrated. The pipeline reduces the need for road transportation. Vopak Terminal Durban and Vopak Terminal Lesedi will be the first major open access to independent tank terminals connected to the NMPP, connecting the Port of Durban with the Gauteng province. l

Heated and insulated storage tanks First come, First serve (no slotplanning) Nitrogen supplies and mixing possibilities of Chemicals, Biofuels, Lube Oils 24/7 service for vessels/barges/rail tank cars

STANDIC B.V. is located at the Juliana Dock in the seaport of Dordrecht. Position: Latitude 51’49N and Longitude 4’40E COMMERCIAL CONTACT Paul Voogt, George Franka Tel: +31 78 652 86 45 - VISITING ADDRESS Wieldrechtseweg 50 - 3316 BG Dordrecht, The Netherlands - Tel: +31 78 652 86 50 Fax: +31 78 652 86 26

Vopak’s Deer Park terminal in Houston, Texas

2 march/april 2017 biofuels international supplement

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Your global storage partner for biofuels

New capacity dedicated for biofuels

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Pipeline connection to industry

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As a global storage provider we take pride in storing and handling your products with care. We operate a global network of tank terminals located at strategic locations along major trade routes. With a history of 400 years and a focus on sustainability, we ensure safe, efficient and clean storage and handling of bulk liquid products for our customers. For more information

Storing vital products with care biofuels international supplement

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4 march/april 2017 biofuels international supplement

suggests there is still a lot of scope to grow. Terminals, especially brownfields, frequently lack the digital maturity to fully capitalise on digital opportunities as they present themselves. Aligning the supply chain will have a considerable impact on the terminal’s operating efficiency and therefore also on reducing costs and improving customer service.

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Four ways to improve tank terminal operations industry. The exciting thing is that this has overlapped with a technology revolution, bringing a series of Historically, low crude oil price levels have strongly increased the importance of efficiency across the

new digital technologies and applications that impact on the productivity of the oil industry. Tank terminals need to evaluate their supply chain capabilities and pursue development according to their needs. Nowadays, considerable time is wasted on data sharing between companies, since there is no protocol for communication between them. The following model helps with digitising and aligning data sharing with tank terminals.

Digital collaboration


he availability of advanced digital technologies, such as big data, analytics, cloud and connected devices, is driving new opportunities to integrate storage terminal operations. Research conducted by Accenture into collaboration at tank terminals has created an outline of the current digital maturity in the market, and suggests there is still a lot of scope to grow. Terminals, especially brownfields, frequently lack the digital maturity to fully capitalise on digital opportunities as they present themselves. Aligning the supply chain will have a considerable impact on the terminal’s operating efficiency and therefore also on reducing costs and improving customer service. Historically, low crude oil price levels have strongly increased the importance of efficiency across the industry. The exciting thing is that this has overlapped with a technology revolution, bringing a series of new digital technologies and applications that impact on the productivity of the oil industry. Tank terminals need to evaluate their supply chain capabilities and pursue development according to their needs. Nowadays, considerable time is wasted on data sharing between companies, since there is no protocol for communication between them. The following model helps with digitising and aligning data sharing with tank terminals.


It is critical that businesses not only agree to communicate and work together, but they must also begin to function as a single entity, in a synergistic

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system. This process involves integrating and working various verticals to achieve the desired outcome, enabling demand-driven responsiveness, achieved by seamless execution across an end-to-end integrated network. Terminals, LSP’s and other stakeholders must work towards a unified system and synchronise with each other.


There is a need to identify the coordination mechanisms that help address the uncertainty in the supply chain. This includes developing global data standards and policies related to data sharing and security, and encouraging transparency in operations.


Visibility is the capability to track products in transit from refineries to terminals and when arriving at the final destination. Creating dashboards with KPI’s coming from heterogeneous

biofuels international supplement

data-sources enhances the decision-making capability by allowing privileged users to make changes on demand and redirect the supply. Where vendors often focus on one domain-specific aspect, real business benefits will come from a data driven end-to-end approach.


Process automation is transforming supply chains into a simple, fast, and automated way of processing routine transactions. Robotic process automation tools are a way to cut costs, improve administrative quality, eliminate keying errors, speed up processes and link applications together. Machine learning explores the study and construction of algorithms that can learn from and make predictions on data. New digital technologies often provide quick efficiency benefits in small, incremental steps and may be developed

in an agile way, whilst closely cooperating with the business they serve. Companies should think about how to take advantage of digital technology and its opportunities to increase revenue or to reduce costs. Organisations that master the right mix of digital supply chain capabilities will be best positioned to innovate, compete and succeed in an entirely digital business future. The world of digital communication will soon become the norm and not the exception. l

For more information: This article was written by Eduard J. Smits, manufacturing IT for manufacturing execution systems, and Martijn Verleisdonk, graduate intern at Accenture. Visit: Eduard J. Smits will be speaking at StocExpo Europe 2017 in Rotterdam, 28-30 March

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biofuels interview

The bulk liquid storage sector is growing in the US

New horizons By Liz Gyekye


estway Terminals last year rebranded with a new name, new logo and new growth strategy. It is now called Contanda. As a leader in bulk liquid storage solutions for more than 60 years, Contanda continues to evolve and focus on what CEO Jerry Cardillo calls a transformation and growth journey that he expects will more than double its size in five years. Liz Gyekye catches up with him to find out how the company has evolved.

How are you finding the biofuels market at the moment and how is that impacting on Contanda? The biofuels market is very, very active. For Contanda, biofuels is very active on the West Coast and Gulf Coast, primarily. It’s a combination of the opportunities being created from valuations around renewable identification numbers (RINS) under the renewable fuel standard programme and the low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) that is boosting the biofuels industry.

We are also seeing a lot of interest in our storage and transloading capacity. We’ve almost doubled how much biodiesel we are storing year over year. So, we have almost doubled the amount of tanks that we have put in biodiesel storage and this is still growing. How do you see the future panning out? The interest in renewable products continues to be strong and there is still a lot of support for that in the US, particularly in the West Coast.

If you are manufacturing diesel you have to have enough RINs to cover a percentage of your products.As long as the regulations stay in place, I think we are going to see growth in this area. How much capacity are you seeing in the biofuels market? Nationwide, Contanda has around 7m barrels of storage. Of course, we always have tanks undergoing maintenance. So, you can never really say we have 7m barrels active.

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ourselves as a petrochemical, hydrocarbon and agricultural storage company. So, we are currently on a significant growth phase in Houston, Baltimore, Stockton, California, and Grays Harbor, Washington.

Jerry Cardillo, CEO at Contanda

Right now we have just under 500,000 barrels in biodiesel and this is growing. We have around 115,000 barrels of storage capacity that is under construction right now. I can see a good percentage of that going into the biodiesel market. We are also looking at projects in Stockton, California, the state of Washington, and Houston, Texas for more expansion. A lot of it is being driven by the RINs, the LCFS and biofuels market. Talk to me a bit about Contanda’s rebrand? We are in a growth phase. There is a bit of history to this. ED&F Man was established in 1783 and is a molasses trading company. In the 1990s, they acquired Westway Terminals and Westway Feed. They started building terminals around the country to receive their molasses and then blended the commodity and sold it to various customers. In 2009, the feed and the terminal division went public. In 2013, a private equity firm from Stockholm, Sweden, EQT bought Westway Terminals. However, it did not buy Westway Feed. Westway Feed went back to

the ED&F Man portfolio. As Westway Terminals progressed from 2014 to 2015, people automatically thought of molasses storage. This is because it still had such a long history, plus the same name and a very similar logo to Westway Feed. So, in 2016, we started on

How did the name Contanda come about? We wanted a company with less than three syllables and when you Googled it, it had to be unique with no results. Of course, it means something now when you Google it now, but it did not when we announced it. It’s got a little flair to it. It’s got an international flair to it. It’s exciting times here. Contanda’s growth strategy is to double its capacity in five years. So, we have 7m barrels of storage. In 2022, we would like to have 14m barrels of storage in a variety of growth projects around the country. It’s exciting stuff. What are your biggest opportunities? I think the biggest opportunities for biofuels storage for Contanda will continue to be in three areas

In our markets we are seeing growth and this growth is partly related to the RINs and LCFS a new journey to transform ourselves into business more focused on petrochemical and hydrocarbons. We moved the headquarters from New Orleans to Houston. The plan to move our headquarters was partly to separate us from this process. We also wanted to get closer to our customer base and our largest asset portfolio is in Houston. Elsewhere, we changed our name as part of that growth strategy to rebrand

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– the Northwest of the US, West Coast of the US and Gulf of Mexico in the US. We are focused on those three growth areas as we speak. We are working on three projects (some bigger than others). They are all tied to either renewable diesel, biodiesel, ethanol and methanol storage. In our markets we are seeing growth and this growth is partly related to the RINs and LCFS. We haven’t seen any negative impact from anti-dumping duties.

Where do you expect demand to come from? The aviation industry is very much experimenting and is consuming small portions of renewable fuels. It’s cleaner burning and very efficient, but it is more expensive in some cases. It depends on the credits that you get on the back of it. On the diesel side there is a lot of confidence in this product. We primarily store biodiesel, but ethanol is a big part of our growth plans. We have 16 terminals in 12 different states. We also have one in Hamilton, Canada. The trend for us has been strong interest in renewables in all platforms year over year. What will represent the biggest challenge to biofuels? We are in a space that is being driven by mandates or regulation by certain states or the government. They do not last forever. We are keeping a keen eye on renewable diesel in the West Coast and what’s going on in Canada and Mexico as well. Is the low oil price impacting at all? The low oil price is helping gasoline and diesel consumption stabilise because demand begins to stabilise on the gasoline side of the equation. Cars are getting more efficient. Anything else? In November 2016, we bought a steel company. We were on a journey to expand our commodity base. The business is doing very well. It’s based in the Houston ship channel. It was a good investment and good business that we purchased. We are excited to have it and for it to be part of our portfolio. Instead of terminaling just liquids, we are terminaling steel. If you believe that the current administration is about to focus on infrastructure growth, it is an interesting business to own and doing very well. l

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biofuels storage A European liquid bulk storage operator gives an insight into its operations

Making waves By Liz Gyekye


esta Terminals is an independent liquid bulk storage operator in Europe with a total of approximately 1.6 million cubic metres of petroleum products and biofuels capacity at three terminals in Antwerp, Belgium, Flushing, the Netherlands, and Tallinn, Estonia. Here, Liz Gyekye interviews Vesta’s CEO, Martijn Notten. How are you finding the current biofuels market at the moment? The Amsterdam-RotterdamAntwerp (ARA) market is relatively active with a continuous barge movement and regular vessel exports within the EU. However, this market is subject to uncertainty due to unclear or changing governmental regulations, not only hindering investments, but also long-term commitments from traders. How much capacity are you setting aside for biofuels storage? We currently have 35,000 cubic metres used for biodiesel storage, although

we could extend that capacity if there is additional interest. Our terminal in Flushing, close to Antwerp, is well positioned for that. Biofuels are only handled at our Vesta Terminal Flushing (VTF 2) terminal with two biofuel dedicated berths. Increase in throughput can still be handled through the same tanks and infrastructure. Therefore, we don’t foresee expansion needs for the storage and handling of biofuels in the short term. Looking at Europe, is the implementation of anti-dumping duties on key producing countries like Argentina and Indonesia affecting your operations at all? These duties have been in place for several years already, but the lack of non-EU imports did indeed change the flow substantially. Fewer largesize (20-40kt) FAME cargoes arrive in the European ports for breaking bulk, but the intra-EU activity has picked up. Within ARA more barges are now dedicated for FAME transport due to the increased flows, and exports from the region to destinations

such as Germany, France, UK, etc. are very regular. What is Vesta’s growth strategy? Biofuels storage can be complimentary for clients and we are pleased to be able to offer this service. The lack of clarity on legislation makes it difficult to heavily invest on this segment but we at Vesta are dedicated to improve our competitive position by delivering an excellent service and increasing our footprint in the region. What are your views on higher blending targets and lower import duties? The higher blending targets currently only exist towards 2020, after that we need to wait for Brussels to give a clear direction. Lower import duties are possible towards the end of the year, but it is unlikely that the import flows will reoccur as we have seen prior to 2013 (Argentina and Indonesia) and 2009 (USA). What do you think will represent the biggest challenge to the biofuels storage industry?

Vesta’s Antwerp terminal

Getting clarity on legislation remains one of the biggest challenges in this industry. As it has been the case for the last couple of years, clients mainly commit on a shortterm basis due to the lack of a strong legislative framework. Does Vesta have any plans for expansion? Not for biofuels at the moment, due to the lack of clarity on biofuels policy. Are there any innovations helping the company to expand (trends in storage tank material changes i.e.)? We have not been looking at innovative measures as we do not need any further investments to handle biofuels. Our biofuels storage terminal in Flushing was upgraded to a first-class standard a few years ago. All tanks at this terminal are insulated and coated, can be heated, have the possibility to inject a nitrogen blanket, and have round pumping facilities through jet nozzles to allow efficient blending. Have there been any new trends in trade routes? Vesta Terminals is not involved in trading, but indeed our clients have relatively steady flows. We prefer not to disclose these to the market. Where do you expect demand to come from? This is not our business or in our control. What we try to do is stay on top of developments in the market to capture business opportunities. That all starts with an open mind and a good communication with our customers. l

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biofuels biofuels storage Risk-based inspection systems and advanced non-destructive testing methods are helping storage tank owners comply with ever-increasing stringent regulations

Separating the good from the bad


or owners of aboveground process storage tanks, including both atmospheric and pressurised storage systems such as bullets and spheres, tank inspection programmes are normally based around EEMUA 157 and/or API 653. According to both of these standards, the purpose of an inspection is to determine if tanks are safe for continued service in terms of their mechanical integrity. Originally, inspection plans were strictly regulatory compliant, utilising traditional manual, non-destructive testing (NDT) techniques such as visual, ultrasonic and settlement surveys, which were used for both in-service and out-of-service inspections. To help tank owners comply with ever-increasing stringent regulations, risk-based inspection (RBI) systems and advanced non-destructive testing (ANDT) methods can be used to assess the condition and mechanical integrity of an individual tank or a complete tank farm. This tank-specific RBI approach enables owners to focus their inspection on those assets that have the highest probability of potential problems. It also considers the consequences of such a failure. As a result, out-of-service tanks that exhibit potential problems can be inspected, while continuing to operate assets that are in “good” condition. Acoustic emission inspection A combination of inspection methods can be used to

monitor and grade the condition of tanks. One of these is techniques is acoustic emission (AE). The application of mechanical or thermal stress to a material results in elastic energy being stored in that material. The stress field sustained by the material tends to concentrate at localised mechanical instabilities, which exist in almost all practical mechanical structures. If the applied stress is high enough, the material will fail at such local stress concentrations and crack, until the propagation of the crack is such that the material has become stressfree and the stored elastic energy has been dissipated.

The identification, location and evaluation of structural defects and active cracks in pressure vessels, pipelines and storage tanks is now routinely applied to process plants. But active cracking is not the only source of AE. Chemical processes such as corrosion spalling, fracture and debonding are very emissive. AE process for tank floors The AE arising from the corrosion process on the floor of a storage tank, for example, will travel through the product in the tank, through the tank wall and into the sensors

Acoustic emission should be thought of as condition monitoring for a static plant

The method by which this energy is released is a steplike process, where the crack grows in a chaotic cascade of distinct, discrete snaps. Each snap provides a discrete pulse of energy that propagates throughout the surrounding material in the form of a transient elastic wave. The frequency content of these pulse-like transient waves is broadband, ranging from a few KHz to a few MHz. Much of this is in the ultrasonic region, detectable by using specialised AE sensors.

attached to the outside. A ring of sensors can be used to pinpoint the location of the AE from within the tank and so, in the space of an hour or so, provide a very detailed picture of where the corrosion is, and how bad it is. Tank floors remain largely unseen and are traditionally non-inspectable during operation. Normally, this involves costly shutdown and decontamination followed by detailed local inspection. Often, this is executed from an inspection schedule

according to a predetermined period of time in service. To know when the condition of a tank justifies being taken offline and cleaned out, in order to prioritise and target inspection and maintenance activity accordingly, is of huge economic (and environmental) benefit to tank owners. AE sensors are mounted on the wall around the tank’s circumference and connected to a data acquisition system. To assess the condition of the tank floor, a window of one hour is required to gather enough data for a valid statistical assessment of the floor. To achieve a “quiet hour”, all activity likely to cause product movement must have been stopped and the tank allowed to settle for a period of 6 to 12 hours. Agitators, heater coils, level measurement systems, etc. must all be turned off. Disruption to operations is thus no more than one working day per tank. The result of the condition monitoring exercise is a tank floor grading, from A (no damage) to E (major repair required). Also, plots are presented to show the locations of any particularly active areas and/or potential leak sites. UK inspection service provider Mistras has conducted more than 1,000 such tests on tanks in Europe alone and more than 3,000 worldwide. Huge savings to be made The overall tank floor and potential leak grades can be used by plant management to

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A combination of inspection methods can be used to monitor and grade the condition of storage tanks

prioritise tank inspection and maintenance programmes. Cost savings from the use of this technology are very clear. If the vessel is in good condition, leading to the deferral of internal inspection, savings are enormous. The cost of preparing a large crude oil tank for internal inspection can reach £350,000 (€413,474) and for large cryogenic tanks up to £750,000. More than 50% of the “suspect” tanks inspected by Mistras were proven not to require subsequent offline inspection and maintenance, saving millions of pounds for refinery and distribution terminal operators. For pressure vessels, the figure increases to 95%. This reveals how poorly targeted most shutdown maintenance is. At the other end of the scale, the sceptic might suggest that a £7,000 AE assessment that confirms that a suspected poor vessel does not need to be opened for repair is money wasted. However, costs can be measured in safety and environmental terms, as well as in pounds. It is important to treat the AE method as complementary to other methods. This is

because, unlike ultrasonic testing, AE integrity assessment does not detect static, non-growing defects, nor does it measure their size. On the other hand, it will detect and locate regions of overstress or areas where microstructural problems exist, which are structurally significant and which are easily missed by conventional localised methods. The effectiveness of both methods is improved by using them together. AE should be thought of as condition monitoring for a static plant – a tool for determining which tanks need conventional inspection, where and when. It should not be assigned to, or used by, inspection departments. It is a management tool to be employed by senior maintenance personnel with a direct interest in managing maintenance budgets and directing inspection personnel to where they are really needed. There is often a temptation to repair tanks simply because they are offline, particularly when inactive cracks not identified by AE are found by other methods. Unnecessary repair often introduces new

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stresses to the vessel which were otherwise not present. Annular ultrasonic testing Tank Annular Long Range Ultrasonic Testing (TALRUT) is an automated long range ultrasonic technique developed by Mistras to qualitatively map the condition of the annular. The system wall needs to be free of obstructions. The method involves sending long-range ultrasonic signals into the tank from the outside annular (which must be in reasonable condition). The tank itself does not need to be removed from service. Indications are compared to a test plate in order to evaluate the severity of corrosion. This technique can be used on steel and fibreglass tanks and vessels. Remote UT crawlers and cameras can also be used to map the thickness of hard to reach areas. To more accurately determine the extent of potentially flawed areas, Magnetic Flux Exclusion (MFE) or Low Frequency Electromagnetic Technique (LFET) scanning tools can be used to inspect 100% of the

tank floor. Characterisation of defects is performed using traditional non-destructive testing techniques including ultrasonic, penetrant, magnetic particle and vacuum box inspections. Conclusions All in all, the tank-specific RBI approach allows owners to concentrate inspection on those assets that have the highest probability of potential problems. It also considers the consequences of such a failure. As a result, out-ofservice inspection of tanks that exhibit potential problems can be recommended, while continuing to operate assets that are in good condition. The continued operation of healthy tanks, along with large reductions in budget spent on preparing tanks for traditional internal inspections (including cleaning, degassing and waste disposal) provides tank owners with better profitability and improved operational effectiveness. l

For more information: This article was written by Tim Bradshaw, general manager of UK operations at Mistras. Visit:

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biofuels event preview StocExpo Europe returns to the Ahoy Rotterdam on 28-30 March, and what a return it is. From innovative exhibitors to top names in the industry, our show preview will give you an idea of what to see and who to talk to

Back to Rotterdam


tocExpo Europe, the world’s leading international event for the tank terminal industry, returns to the Ahoy Rotterdam on 28-30 March, after a year in Antwerp. The three-day conference and exhibition will bring together thousands of storage professionals from across the globe to network, learn, share knowledge and do business. Nick Powell, StocExpo and Tank Storage’s divisional director, says: “Not only is StocExpo Europe the largest event of its kind, but it is also perfectly placed in the ARA region, the world’s largest oil trading hub. In the last seven years, we have seen a 20% increase in the region’s storage capacity, reinforcing its strategic importance to the international market, and making a show like ours more vital than ever. “We have so much on offer this year – an expanded show floor, more educational and practical talks from leading international experts as part of our revamped conference programme, and the first edition of the global Tank Storage Awards. Everywhere you look there will be an opportunity to learn more about the industry.” Innovative suppliers Innovation is, as always, right at the heart of the show, spanning the entire supply spectrum – from pumps and valves, loading equipment and coatings through to roofing, tank cleaning and degassing. More than 200 organisations from across the globe, including Honeywell, Emerson Automation Solutions,

Verwater, Endress+Hauser, Siemens and Silverwing, will be using the show to launch new products and services to the dedicated audience of buyers and leading decision makers. For example, Implico Group will be introducing its new handheld solution for railcar handling. By allowing staff at trackside to be directly connected to the terminal management and automation system – OpenTAS – workers can enter current loading data without detours or delays, speeding up the entire process. Avalon Automation will be presenting the latest release of ALIAS, its configurable TAS solution that offers contracting, order management, scheduling, inventory control, orderbased loading, order to cash, conditional billing, KPI reporting, and more. It helps to drive down risk, avoid human errors, and structurally reduce operational costs. Emerson Automation Solutions will be launching TerminalManager, a single application for managing the commercial and operational aspects of the terminal. This results in faster order to cash, more efficient customer communications and improved asset utilisation. Emerson will also be showcasing TerminalScheduler, its fully featured software system for planning and scheduling operations within a tank farm or terminal. It organises and consolidates all of the information needed to perform both long-term and short-term scheduling. After listening to its community of operators,

Arflu has designed a dual expanding plug valve that eliminates the common problems that occur during operation. The valve has a backseat, the stem packing is accessible from the outside, and it can easily be changed even under pressure. The Lightning Master stand will feature its movable arm grounding system – MAGS. This patented bypass conductor system for external floating roof tanks is simple, gravity-powered and reliable, having been through a simulated wind test in excess of 2,000,000 cycles without wear or failure. Systems Navigator is going to present its new cloud solution called Dropboard. It assists liquid bulk terminals in planning, scheduling and operational logging. The tool includes smart scheduling algorithms and takes full advantage of big data, which helps the terminal and its customers by reducing turnaround times, waiting times and berth occupancy. FSP-Tech produces tank safety showers for indoor and outdoor applications. It will be demonstrating how these showers, made from stainless steel, save costs and increase safety when compared to conventional safety showers. Verwater will be displaying its full spectrum of industrial and tank-related maintenance and project services, such as jacking, civil works, piping and mechanical, turnarounds, protective coatings, E&I, panel building and engineering. StocExpo Europe 2017 provides Jabitherm Rohrsysteme with the perfect platform to showcase its pre-insulated pipes,

which are ideally suited for those involved in the chemistry and oil/gas/ LNG-transfer industries. Presserv will be presenting its proven solution for soilside corrosion for tank floors and chime seal. The Tank Brigade, a division of the Presserv Group, specialises in tackling soil-side corrosion for aboveground storage tanks and sealing chime areas to eliminate the ingress of moisture. By utilising the latest technologies from STOPAQ for chime sealing and CorroLogic for soil-side corrosion of tank floors, the Tank Brigade is able to provide a fully-engineered solution, including survey, recommendations, application and after-care service for inservice tanks, out-of-service tanks and new builds. New conference format In addition to a packed exhibition hall, StocExpo Europe 2017 will also play host to a brand-new conference format, designed to boost networking and enable terminals, traders, oil majors and investors to learn from one another. The event is also now CPD certified, helping delegates meet their Continuing Professional Development point requirements. All sessions will begin with a “speed networking” session, whereby delegates will be encouraged to introduce themselves to the other people at their tables and to exchange business cards. The new roundtable format and networking lunches are designed to ensure delegates maximise

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networking opportunities with industry peers. The conference programme will consist of seven expert panel sessions hosting more than 30 speakers from oil majors, tank terminals and financial institutions. The exclusive terminal management session on day one brings together senior figures from four of the top independent terminals in Europe: Abel Noordanus, commercial manager at Odfjell, Martijn Notten, CEO at Vesta Terminals, and Walter Wattenberg, CEO at LBC Tank Terminals. To give a customer’s perspective, these industry leaders will be joined by Laurent Hatzopoulos, manager of third party storage at Shell Trading. This expert panel will cover issues affecting terminal efficiency, new investments, ways to increase throughput and the many other challenges a terminal manager faces, such as regulatory compliance. The second panel switches to the critical issue of terminal safety and features Margit Blok, global HSE director at VTTI, Rene Braaksma, HSE manager at NuStar Energy, and Ian Travers, a world safety expert on process safety at the tank farm. Panel three looks at growth and investment opportunities throughout the Mediterranean,

featuring Luis Sala, managing director at Tepsa in Spain, and Effie Miluten, deputy general manager of Commerce at EAPC in Israel. Day two of the StocExpo Europe conference looks further afield to global markets, which begins with a discussion on the global supply and demand trends impacting trade flows and the storage sector. These include the status of the US shale market, the effect of sanctions being lifted against Iran, and the impact of the US exports ban being lifted. A further panel discussion featuring VTTI’s commercial analytics manager Onur Capan and leading experts from Dutch Oil Industry Association, PJK International, and Wood Mackenzie will then cover the status of the oil industry, storage capacity utilisation rates, the refining sector and future oil price forecasts. Day two also provides the investor’s perspective, with two top terminal investors – Evren Nergiz, business development manager at Zenith Energy Management, and Iain Macleod, managing partner at iCon Infrastructure – considering recent M&A deals, the reasons behind high valuations within the sector plus an assessment of future opportunities. On day three, Theo Olijve,

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managing director of Odfjell’s Rotterdam terminal, will be giving an interactive presentation highlighting how game-changing drone technology can be used to inspect tanks. The last panel session of the event switches its focus to the storage market in Asia, particularly the challenges and opportunities in helping China build up its national reserves and grow its independent storage market. The StocExpo Europe 2017 conference then ends with another new feature – three “Technology in Action” sessions. During these, terminal operators and leading equipment providers explain how technologies are improving terminal performance or safety. This includes a case study on Baltic Tank, delivered by the company’s deputy managing director Olli Rantala, plus talks on running loading operations more efficiently while avoiding odour complaints, deploying pre-insulated pipe systems and the automation of railcar dispatching. The awards

will be revealed during a gala dinner and awards ceremony following the conclusion of day two of the show at the Floating Pavilion. The panel of judges are a “who’s who” of leading authorities from across the tank terminal spectrum, and includes the likes of Margit Blok, global HSE director at VTTI, Walter Wattenbergh, group CEO at LBC Tank Terminals Group, and Earl Crochet, business development director at Kinder Morgan. Categories will range from Safety Excellence in Bulk Liquid Storage and The Best Port, through to the Most Invaluable Product Award. A few tickets are still available to book online. Powell concludes: “2017 is definitely our most exciting year to date in terms of what we are able to offer our visitors. We have innovation bursting at the seams, international suppliers in abundance, and more key names than ever involved in our conference programme. For anyone involved in the tank storage industry, StocExpo Europe 2017 is a must.” l

Attendees of StocExpo Europe 2017 will not only have the re-vamped conference programme, but also new for 2017 is the inaugural Global Tank Storage Awards. Winners

For more information: To find out more about StocExpo Europe 2017 and to register, please call +44 (0)20 8843 8800 or visit:

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International round robin tests for biodiesel and rapeseed oil fuel help maintain the quality of fuel products

Major tools for quality assurance


or an efficient quality management system, different tools should be taken into account. One of them, for example, is a certification according to ISO 9001 or a similar system. ISO 9001 includes the minimum requirements for a quality management system that need to be fulfilled to ensure a good quality of the products and to meet all regulatory requirements. In producing companies, a major part of the quality assurance of every product is the analysis of intermediates and the final product. This does not only apply to e.g. chocolate, drugs, or rubber tyres. Fuels – and especially biodiesel – are no exemption to this rule. Reliable monitoring and testing of the product properties are essential. The analyses can be done by in-house or in external laboratories. Unannounced samplings and their analyses by external laboratories can serve as additional monitoring. In any case, reliable measuring results are a prerequisite for a safe production. For that purpose, regular checks of all methods used in the laboratory are indispensable. For self-monitoring and to check their own measuring competence, for comparison

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to other laboratories and for identification of any necessary improvements, the participation in round robin tests is an important instrument for all in-house, service, and research laboratories. The participation in round robin tests is even requested by accreditation authorities and some custom authorities. Moreover, the collection of data in round robin tests is an important contribution for the supervision of test methods by standardisation committees. Round robin tests To perform a round robin test, identical samples are sent to every participant. The participants analyse these samples in their own laboratories with their own devices but according to the same defined standard methods. The measuring values are collected by an independent body and evaluated regarding mean value, repeatability and reproducibility. From this data, standardisation committees can estimate how good a method is and if there is a need for revision. In April, AGQM (Arbeitsgemeinschaft Qualitätsmanagement

Quality check materials can be used in everyday laboratory practice

Biodiesel/Association Quality Management Biodiesel) and FAM (Fachausschuss für Mineralöl- und Brennstoffnormung/Mineral Oil and Fuels Standardisation Committee) are going to conduct their annual international round robin test for biodiesel and rapeseed oil fuel again. Since 2008, every year around 50 laboratories from Germany, Europe, North and South America, Asia and New Zealand take part. Each participant receives two different samples of each component and analyses them for selected parameters of the applicable standards (EN 14214 for biodiesel and/or DIN 51605 for rapeseed oil fuel). After the round robin test, all participants receive a detailed anonymised report in German and English languages, as well as a certificate with individual results. This certificate is recognised by accreditation and custom authorities as verification of measuring competence. In addition, all results are presented in a workshop, which offers the opportunity for discussions with other experts. In former workshops, a lot of suggestions for improvement came up and could be included in the following test rounds. For example, a second part of the FAME round robin test was introduced including additional parameters like viscosity, flashpoint, methanol content, and cetane number that are not typical for the everyday business but service laboratories are occasionally asked for. Also new parameters are introduced, like the kinematic viscosity determined by Stabinger

viscosimeter (EN 16896), which will be a parameter in 2017 for the first time. Well-referenced materials Another tool for quality assurance and to check the methods used in the laboratory are quality check (QC) materials. They are specified by qualified laboratories in round robin tests so that they can be considered well-referenced materials. From its annual round robin test, AGQM obtains three different QC materials that can be provided on request. With QC material multi-reference (MR), a multitude of parameters of EN 14214 can be checked. QC materials OS and MeOH are used to check the methods for oxidation stability (according to EN 14112 or EN 15751) and methanol content (according to EN 14110). The two last ones are provided in vials, guaranteeing stability and accurate values. QC materials can be used in everyday laboratory practice as they can be handled like any regular sample. Their regular use has many advantages, like additional check of the measuring precision and identification of handling, device or systematic errors by steady documentation of the measuring results. When keeping in mind all these tools – certification, unannounced samplings and regular checks of the methods used in the laboratory by participation in round robin tests and/or use of QC materials – the quality of products can be verified at all times and thus kept on a very high level. l For more information: This article was written by Maren Dietrich, quality manager at AGQM. Visit:

march/april 2017 39

biofuels biodiesel from waste

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A Portuguese company is exploring the possibilities of turning waste fats and oils into biofuel

From waste to riches


n March 2016, an announcement was made regarding ENC Energy technology for oil extraction/ recovery from waste fats, oils and grease (FOG). With the construction, commissioning and industrial operation of the demonstration plant in Santa Maria da Feira, Portugal, now called Resiway, the process engineering design concept was validated. The project embodies the concept of the circular economy, where materials are returned to the production cycle through reuse, recovery and recycling. With this technology, Resiway produces organic oil from waste FOG to be used as a feedstock in second-generation biodiesel production. With the lack of renewable materials to fulfil the goal of having 10% of road transport fuel consist of renewable fuels, such as biofuels, by 2020, biodiesel producers are being urged to incorporate alternative waste feedstocks into used cooking oils (UCO). This gives the waste FOG industry a whole new growth

perspective and value, along with an environmentallyfriendly solution for waste management and treatment. Moreover, fuel producers are also required to reduce the greenhouse gas (GHG) intensity of the EU fuel mix by 6% by 2020, compared to 2010. Resiway’s plant is considered a point of origin of acidic oil, leaving the installation with net zero GHG emissions, as per its ISCC certificate, which attests that the material received and processed in its unit is from residual waste sources. The process Resiway’s process consists of the oil fraction recovered from FOG-containing waste sludge from various industrial activities (i.e. fish canning, poultry and food processing into margarine, broths and ice-creams, etc.) and from grease traps. The oil is recovered through physical/ mechanical separation, such as decantation and centrifugation, with the entire process taking place at a temperature higher

than 80°C. The waste received is mainly composed of oil, water and solid fractions, out of which only the oil fraction is recovered and valorised in the process. The solid content is forwarded for valorisation by composting and the water is pre-treated and drained into the municipal sewer. The oil recovered by the physical separation process still contains numerous contaminants, such as waxes, gums, and emulsions, so it has to go through a refining step to fulfil the market and Resiway’s clients requirements. The operation of the plant should be adapted to the source of the waste received, as each type of waste has different characteristics that require adjustments to the machinery in order to obtain the highest recovered FOG yield possible. On average, the Resiway process has a yield higher than 95%. After the first stage, an acidic oil, which is an oil with a high content of free fatty acids (FFA>75%), is produced. The Resiway plant is also able to produce a low acidity oil

350 300


250 200 150 100 50 0




APR Waste




Low acidity oil

Figure 1: Resiway’s waste reception and oil production in 2016






Acidic Oil

Figure 1: Resiway’s waste reception and oil production in 2016

(FFA<1%) in a second noncatalytic glycerolysis stage. 2016 in numbers In 2016, Resiway received around 2,300 tonnes of waste containing FOG, from which it produced almost 650 tonnes of oil, mainly oil with a high FFA content, as shown in figure one. The majority of the waste intake (50%) came from the food processing industry (margarine, broth and icecream industries), while 27% came from the fish canning industry and 23% from grease traps, along with brown grease (sludge from municipal wastewater treatment plants). On average, the waste is composed of 30% of FOG, 40% water and 30% of a solid fraction in two forms, one sedimentary and another non-sedimentary (less dense than water). Part of Resiway’s expansion plans for the next few years consists of the validation of new income waste streams with potential for FOG extraction, and the applicability/ adjustment of its process for these new streams, such as sludges from poultry, meat processing industry, dairy industry, and food processing sectors not explored so far. Resiway believes in the potential of the European market for its technology. It is also the company’s ambition to expand the business and the concept to other countries strategically selected, based on the industry sectors present in the area and the demand of oils produced from residual waste. l For more information: This article was written by Ana Matos, technical director at Resiway. Visit:

40 march/april 2017 biofuels international

The majority of the waste intake (50%) came from the food processing industry (margarine,

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JUNE 12-13


JUNE 13-14


JUNE 13-15





A Ride Into the Wild Chris Morgan, Motorcycle Enthusiast and Wildlife Ecologist Join Chris Morgan for a backroad adventure into the wild as he shares his journey into some of the most remote places on Earth in search of bears, tigers and wolves. Host and narrator to award winning productions for PBS, BBC, National Geographic Television and The Discovery Channel, Morgan will use stunning images from his work to deliver an inspiring message that will leave attendees wanting to brave the unknown in pursuit of their dreams.


biofuels international march/april 2017 41

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biofuels biochemicals A Finnish-Swedish company is on a quest to make the most out of lignin

Lignin’s time is now


ften, it is presumed that lignin has numerous applications but limited business opportunities. Once separated from cellulose, the bio-based polymer is regularly used for energy purposes by the pulp industry. It is burned to produce heat, steam and electricity, which generates more energy than the pulp mill uses. However, Finnish-Swedish company Stora Enso has been extracting and commercialising lignin as part of its strategy to become a renewable materials company, increasing its offering of bio-based solutions. Lignin is the second most abundant organic polymer in the world after cellulose and has a high functional versatility. Compared to conventional raw materials such as phenol and formaldehyde, lignin is also easier to handle – which is why phenol replacement has been a priority for Stora Enso. Phenol has many issues – it is hazardous, volatile in price, and difficult to handle and store while its smell and toxicity causes issues in manufacturing facilities. Refined lignin can be a replacement for oil-based phenolic materials that are used in resins for adhesives e.g. in plywood, veneer applications, laminates and insulation material. In the future, lignin could also be developed into carbon fibre and carbon black applications.

Lignin is an ideal candidate for producing new materials and intermediates. Investing in new separation technology In 2013, Stora Enso began commercialising dried Kraft lignin at its Sunila pulp mill in Finland, which has an annual production capacity of 370,000 tonnes of softwood pulp and 50,000 tonnes of Kraft lignin. In a pulp mill, cooking chemicals that are used to extract cellulose fibres from wood are recycled in the recovery line. Black liquor contains cooking chemicals (white liquor) and the residues from wood, mainly lignin. In the recovery boiler, chemicals are recovered and the rest – mainly lignin – is burned for energy. At Sunila, Stora Enso extracts part of the lignin from the black liquor before it goes to the recovery boiler. After lignin is extracted, it is treated with chemicals, washed and pressed to reduce the moisture content. After pressing, the moisture content is around 65%. The lignin is then dried in a ring dryer to achieve 95% dry content, and finally packed. Lignin extraction is not new. However, the difference in Stora Enso’s installation is that lignin produced at Sunila is much purer and has a higher dry content, making it more suitable as a fuel to use in a lime kiln. Stora Enso has the

capacity to both sell and burn lignin and in Sunila’s lime kilns it is burned to generate energy, which has led to dramatic carbon emission reductions. Sunila is now running practically fossilfree in normal operations. It was important to minimise pulp mill operation disruptions when installing this new technology. Safety was also another priority. Lignin is a very dry powder with small particles, and therefore risks from fire and explosions needed to be considered. An inert environment is required to mitigate the explosion risk and good safety procedures are required in the process due to the use of certain hazardous chemicals. Other softwood pulp by-products Tall oil and turpentine are also by-products of the softwood pulp production process. Crude tall oil (CTO) is a biobased chemical, which is extracted from the Kraft wood pulp manufacturing process. With further processing, CTO derivatives, such as rosin, have applications in the adhesive and rubber industries, and fatty acids, which can be used in the production of soaps and lubricants. Crude sulphate turpentine (CST) is another bio-based chemical extracted from the pulping process, which can be used in a wide range

of applications after being refined, such as solvents, thinners and adhesives for the chemical industry. CST also has applications in flavourings and fragrances for the food and cosmetics industry. New application opportunities Stora Enso’s lignin opens up many new application opportunities. As a freeflowing brown powder with high dry content and superior dispersibility, it can be stored for a long time. With a higher reactivity and purity, the lignin is high-quality and consistent from batch to batch. Due to its high dry content, transportation costs are also reduced. Stora Enso is working with partners to develop new, innovative products based on wood and other secondgeneration biomasses. Lignin is an ideal bio-based substitute, providing a nontoxic alternative and making it a good candidate to replace fossil-based materials. Stora Enso hopes that lignin’s new business opportunities are increasingly recognised and that brand owners will become more aware of lignin’s potential as a more sustainable and efficient product with a predictable cost structure. l For more information: This article was written by Kirsi Seppäläinen, senior VP of communications at Stora Enso Biomaterials. Visit:

Stora Enso’s Sunila mill

42 march/april 2017 biofuels international

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Edinburgh l 4-5 October 2017

• Meet over 200 industry experts • Organised by the world’s ONLY global Biofuels magazine • Co-hosted with Bioenergy Insight Conference & Expo • Excellent networking opportunities



• Free conference pass, lunches and access to networking functions for all sponsors and exhibitors • Fantastic opportunity to highlight your company’s products and services at this established event • Join in the 10 year celebrations • Limited stand and sponsorship options

The Biofuels International conference offers delegates involved in the biofuels markets an opportunity to hear key speakers in the industry whilst giving plenty of opportunities to openly discuss topics. An event not to be missed Henk Wolthaus, Head of Biofuels Strategy, Varo Energy

Exhibition space is limited and cannot be added to, so make sure you don’t miss out. Book the best position now.

To find out more contact Matthew Clifton on 020 3551 5751 – biofuels international

march/april 2017 43

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Cellulosic ethanol from agricultural residues THINK AHEAD, THINK SUNLIQUIDÂŽ

Highly efficient sunliquid is an economic and sustainable process to generate biobased products from lignocellulosic biomass. It opens up new feedstocks not only for fuel, but also for sustainable chemistry from untapped resources – like cellulosic ethanol from straw.

44 march/april 2017 biofuels international

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