Hot Spots Around the World: Who’s Adding What, Where in Biofuels

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South America

In Brazil, ICM has completed startup and commissioning of the FS Bioenergia dry-mill corn ethanol plant. The plant is  a joint venture between U.S. – based Summit Agricultural Group and Fiagril Ltda of Brazil — and is Brazil’s first standalone  corn ethanol project.

The ICM-designed ethanol plant is located in the middle of Mato Grosso, Brazil’s Corn Belt, near the city of Lucas de Rio Verde, enabling the region to benefit from the alternative use of local corn production.  The plant has the ability to produce feed products purposely manufactured from distillers grains, such as high fiber product and a high protein product.

The driver for corn ethanol in Brazil? In part, the country’s new RenovaBio policy, aimed at reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 43%, driven by the commitment made at the 2015 Paris Climate Conference. Current industry forecasts estimate that domestic ethanol demand is expected to increase by 60% in 2018. By 2030, RenovaBio could result in domestic demand for as much as 40 billion liters of ethanol.

In 2017, Brazil produced an estimated 27.7 billion liters (7.32 billion gallons) of ethanol. The demand for ethanol versus the current level of production has a gap of approximately 3 billion liters. This gap is expected to grow to 5 billion liters by 2022, which is currently filled by imports. Brazil’s recent increase on taxation of imported ethanol will stimulate growth in local production.

The wave could move beyond Brazil and into Argentina and Indonesia. In 2016, Argentine ethanol production in the country was 889 million liters, production in 2017 increased by around 13%, to 1 billion liters, while industry analyst forecast a record production year of 1.12 billion liters in 2018.

ICM’s technologies and equipment solutions are currently used in ACA Bio Cooperative Limitada (ACA Bio), a 400 m³ per day nameplate capacity (40 MGY) in Villa Maria, Cordoba, Argentina, FS Bioenergia, Brazil’s first standalone corn ethanol plant, a 530 m³ per day nameplate capacity (50 MGY) in Lucas do Rio Verde, Mato Grosso, Brazil, and several other bolt-on integrated technologies in Paraguay.

South Asia

In India,  India’s flagship oil company Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited has given a Letter of Acceptance and $2.5M milestone payment to Praj Industries for its proprietary technology, basic engineering and design package.  It’s a major milestone towards commencement of work a 9.6 million gallon per year (36.5 million liter) 2nd Generation ethanol biorefinery at Bargarh, Odisha. The biomass feedstock will be sourced from the local farming community.

Praj had signed MOU with BPCL in Dec, 2016. Praj also has MOU in place with Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) signed in Sept, 2016. The Letter of Acceptance was awarded to Praj after the performance evaluation of its 2nd generation integrated biorefinery demonstration plant located in Maharashtra.  It is an indication of recognition of biofuels for their contribution to improved air quality in high-density urban centers. They also provide an impetus to reduced dependence on crude imports for the country.

“We are excited about the growth prospects of renewable fuels and chemicals with the establishment of our 2nd generation ethanol technology. This techno-socio-economic model is aimed at bringing additional revenue stream to the farming community while striking a balance between India’s growth aspirations and environment,” said Praj executive chairman Pramod Chaudhari.

Europe

In Finland, UPM is studying biofuels development opportunities by starting an environmental impact assessment (EIA) for a possible biorefinery in Mussalo, Kotka, in south-eastern Finland. A Kotka Biorefinery would produce approximately 500,000 tonnes of advanced biofuels for transportation, made from several renewable and sustainable feedstocks — and a different raw material base and technology than in the current UPM Lappeenranta Biorefinery.

“We are looking into the use of several new feedstocks that fulfill sustainability criteria, such as wood residues and other sustainable wastes and residues. In addition to this in Uruguay we are testing a winter cropping concept with Brassica carinata for biofuels’ raw material. Oil from turnip rape-related carinata would be one of the possible raw materials for the Kotka Biorefinery,” says Petri Kukkonen, Vice President of UPM Biofuels Development.

The study is in the very early stages and the EIA process normally takes approximately one year. EU and national policies on biofuels will also play an important role in the final assessment of the possible investment.