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Policy and practice – is Europe really ready for advanced biofuels?

Advanced biofuels for Europe are key to reducing emissions in the national transport sectors. There have been commercial breakthroughs in fuels and technologies, new policy measures and business model changes have been adopted. But is Europe really ready for advanced biofuels?

Advanced networking opportunities are also high on Svebio’s Advanced Biofuels Conference agenda.

This is one of the questions to be addressed during the Swedish Bioenergy Association (Svebio) 5th Advanced Biofuels Conference that will take place on September 17-19, 2019, in Stockholm, Sweden.

Here the latest European policy, energy system transition to renewable fuels, partnerships, along with world-class R&D and new technologies – with all the leading companies will be presented. The event aims to provide insights on the latest on renewable transportation fuels, novel technologies and what is going on in biofuels policy and new production capacity – take for instance insights from Clariant, Scania, and UPM Biofuels.

50 000 tonnes of advanced cellulosic ethanol with the new sunliquid plant” with Dr Gloria Gaupmann, Head of Public Affairs, Technology & Innovation, Clariant, Germany

Straubing outside Munich, Germany is where global specialty chemical major Switzerland-headed Clariant AG operates a cellulosic ethanol demonstration facility producing ethanol from various feedstock such as cereal straw, corn stover, and bagasse. Built in 2012, the Straubing facility uses Valmet’s hydrothermal pre-treatment technology (steam explosion) followed by Süd-Chemie’s proprietary “sunliquid” process technology (hydrolysis, fermentation, and distillation) – Süd-Chemie began in 2009 with developing the process and the company was acquired by Clariant.

Although licensing the sunliquid technology is the preferred business model, Clariant broke ground in September 2018 on an own commercial-scale sunliquid plant which is being built in Podari, Romania.

Groundbreaking ceremony on September 12, 2018, for Clariant’s new sunliquid cellulosic ethanol plant in Podari, Romania (left to right): H.E. Urs Herren, Ambassador of Swiss Confederation; Claudiu Mares, State Secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture; Anton Anton, Minister of Energy; Paula Pîrvănescu, State Secretary at the Ministry of Business Environment, Commerce and Entrepreneurship; Christian Kohlpaintner, Member of the Executive Committee, Clariant; Ion Prioteasa, Dolj County Council President; Philippe Mengal, Executive Director, BBI JU; Constantin Gheorghita, Mayor of Podari; Oliver Kinkel, Head of Region Europe, Clariant; Dragos Gavriluta, Clariant Project Director sunliquid Romania; Markus Rarbach, Head of Business Line Biofuels & Derivatives, Clariant and Martin Vollmer, Chief Technology Officer, Clariant.

At the same time, the company is engaged in several European biochemical and advanced biofuel projects – after all, ethanol is a platform chemical and cellulosic-derived second-generation ethanol with very low greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is perhaps an attractive option.

Biofuels – The fastest way to cleaner transport” with Henrik Henriksson, CEO, Scania, Sweden

As far as global heavy vehicle manufacturers go, Scania – the Swedish (green)truck, bus and engine manufacturer – is something of a pioneer. While involved in various heavy vehicle electrification and hybrid projects, the company also develops biofuel powertrain solutions based on internal combustion engines (ICE) for today – indeed its acclaimed V8 engine celebrates 50 years of service this year.

According to Scania, the new 540 hp DC13 166 engine is primarily intended for applications and customers where lots of power and drivability are in demand while weight sensitivity or limitations such as front-axle loads hinder the use of Scania’s slightly heavier V8 engines which start at 520 hp. News of the new engine option generated much interest amongst Swedish timber hauliers that visited the Scania stand at the Mittia Skogstransport tradeshow in Ljusdal that opened August 16, 2019.

According to Scania, the new 540 hp DC13 166 engine is primarily intended for applications and customers where lots of power and drivability are in demand while weight sensitivity or limitations such as front-axle loads hinder the use of Scania’s slightly heavier V8 engines which start at 520 hp. News of the new engine option generated much interest amongst Swedish timber hauliers that visited the Scania stand at the Mittia Skogstransport tradeshow in Ljusdal that opened August 16, 2019.

Powertrain options include (bio)gasbiodiesel/HVO and ethanol (ED95) – the latter pioneered by Scania and SEKAB. Furthermore, the company has committed to slash its own operational greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 50 percent by 2025 compared to 2015, thanks in part to a SEK 1.5 billion (≈ EUR 140 million) investment in a new foundry.

From Paris to Practice – How to scale up the advanced biofuels industry” with Panu Routasalo, Vice President, UPM Biofuels

Global forest industry major UPM caused a stir back in 2015 when it opened its ISCC and RSB certified biorefinery in Lappeenranta, Finland to convert crude tall oil (CTO) from its pulp operations into renewable diesel, naphtha, turpentine, and pitch. UPM has plans for a possible second biorefinery in Finland that would use RSB certified mustard seed oil.

For years crude tall oil (CTO), a residue from the pulp industry, has been used in Sweden and Finland as feedstock (left) to produce renewable diesel fuel for transportation, with a recognised high climate benefit.

In the meantime, UPM is investing around US$3 billion in a new greenfield eucalyptus pulp mill in Uruguay. In addition, the company has taken a firm position in the biochemicals and bioplastics sectors having recently rolled out 100% wood-based liquid packaging solutions and has just launched the world’s first 100% wood-based label film.

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