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Why Can't We Do This? (Cellulosic Ethanol/Biogas/District Heating)

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Is this just too communal/cooperative like to be accepted here in the USA? We want our new factories bio facilities built somewhere we do not have to see them- would nimbys prevent the hauling in of cellulosic material into cities if located in brownfields near housing? Would folks accept ethanol as fuel if they see it as not competing for food, providing their heat, and natural (bio) gas for cooking and industry?


Novozymes joins Danish biofuel plant project Thu Apr 26, 2012 12:30pm IST  * Says takes minority stake to lend support

* Project aims to bring plant on stream in 2016

By John Acher


COPENHAGEN, April 26 (Reuters) - Danish enzymes producer Novozymes has joined a group that plans to build a bioethanol and biogas plant in Denmark by 2016 as part of efforts to ramp up industrial production of advanced fuels from plant waste, the company said.


The other partners in the Maabjerg Energy Concept consortium are Danish state-owned DONG Energy [DOENRY.UL} and local utilities Vestforsyning A/S, Struer Forsyning A/S and Nomi I/S.


Poul Ruben Andersen, Novozymes vice-president for bioenergy, told Reuters the company was making a "symbolic investment" but had agreed with the partners not to disclose the amount.


Novozymes, the world's biggest producer of industrial enzymes, has pinned its hopes on a take-off for production of advanced biofuel -- also known as cellulosic ethanol -- from plant waste, such as straw, but which is still in its infancy.


It is now one of the two biggest suppliers of enzymes for production of so-called first-generation bioethanol which is made from food crops, mainly corn, in the United States.


The Maabjerg plant will produce some 94 million cubic metres of biogas, 73 million litres of bioethanol, district heating for 20,000 households and power for several thousand homes, Novozymes said.


Straw from Danish farms would be the main raw material.


The project had earlier estimated the plant would cost more than 2 billion crowns ($354 million) to build.


Novozymes, whose enzymes are used to break down cellulosic biomass into sugars that can be fermented into ethanol, has repeatedly said it would not become a producer of biofuels in competition with its customers.


But in a conference call on the company's first-quarter results, chief executive Steen Riisgaard said on Wednesday he would not rule out taking minority stakes, though the policy not to invest in fuel production assets still holds.


"Of course, if a minority stake is what gives credibility to our case, then we have always been willing to consider small investments to show that we have skin in the game, to get them (partners) started," Riisgaard said.


Andersen said Novozymes' role in the Maabjerg project was to supply enzymes and participate in the development to ensure that its enzymes technology works well with the production process.


"There are a number of similar concepts being worked on around the world, and we are working with other partners elsewhere," Andersen said.


He said the sugars broken down by enzymes could be fermented into bioethanol or biogas. "Some of the biomass is better suited for ethanol and other parts for biogas or heat and electricity," he added.


The Maabjerg project, which now has a pilot plant near the towns of Struer and Holstebro on the Jutland peninsula, would be Denmark's second major plant for second-generation biofuels after DONG Energy unit Inbicon's plant at Kalundborg.


A facility being built in Italy by Italian chemicals group Mossi & Ghisolfi Group (M&G) is expected to be the world's first industrial-scale cellulosic bioethanol plant when it comes on stream this year ahead of rival U.S. projects.


($1 = 5.6430 Danish crowns) (

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The Danes have been into the biomass game for quite some time for use as a co-fuel for electrical power, and more so lately as a primary fuel for gasification Combined Heat and Power plants...


They have been the main ones pushing the mechanical and automated collection, storing and processing of baled straw...  Before they entered the game, they had round bales being loaded with large payloders...


The more we work with biomass, the more we find increasingly more efficient ways to handle the material.



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Novozymes now a partner in ethanol projects in Denmark, China

In the space of two days, Novozymes announced two partnerships in international cellulosic ethanol projects. The ethanol enzyme giant said April 25 it had formed a partnership with Chinese Shengquan Group to produce cellulosic ethanol for solvents and biochemicals. A day later, Novozymes revealed it was joining a consortium intent on building a cellulosic ethanol plant in Maabjerg, Denmark.


The project in Denmark includes an already in-place biogas plant and a biomass-fired cogeneration plant. The consortium, which also includes national energy giant DONG Energy A/S and several local utility companies, is working to build a cellulosic ethanol plant at the same site. The project is known as the Maabjerg Energy Concept and is located in western Denmark. The cellulosic ethanol facility, when complete, would produce 73 MMly (more than 19 MMgy) of ethanol from straw.


“The economic models for second generation bioethanol have thus far been based on a stand-alone plant. That can't really work, but in the Maabjerg Energy Concept we can use the by-products from the bioethanol production to produce biogas, district heating and electricity,” said Jorgen Udby, CEO of Maabjerg Energy Concept. “This is possible, since we already have a biogas plant and a biomass-fired cogeneration plant at the site, and this gives the concept a completely different basis for sustainability, both technically and, of course, financially.”


The ethanol plant would also produce two valuable coproducts, about 185,000 tons of molasses and about 120,000 tons of lignin fiber. The molasses would be used to produce biogas, which would require an expansion of the recently completed biogas facility. The adjacent facilities would produce about 94 million cubic meters of biogas, much of which the company says can be upgraded to natural gas, as well as district heating for 20,000 households and electricity for several thousand homes...


In early March, Maabjerg Energy Concept said about 10 million Danish kroner ($1.78 million) has been invested in the project. In the next phase, which is expected to take until spring 2013, it is estimated that another 30 million Danish kroner must be invested in order to make the final decision on the project....


Shengquan (the partnership in China) uses xylose from corncobs to produce furfural, a monomer for resin production. Novozymes enzymes will be used to convert corncob residues to cellulosic ethanol. The Chinese company’s cost model has shown that using a byproduct of their current production process results in cost-competitive production of cellulosic ethanol.


Novozymes pointed to a recent Bloomberg New Energy Finance study concluded that China could produce more than 89 MMly of biofuel from only 20 percent of the available agricultural residues alone. This would replace 37 percent of China’s gasoline consumption by 2030. The numbers would be even higher, the study said, if biomass from other sources, such as forestry residues, household waste and energy crops, were included.



great article.  Really shows the potential of cellulosic ethanol.  Not JUST producing motor fuels...  combine this with other uses and it makes it all the more profitable and workable.  With all THESE projects underway, we are really going to start seeing a LOT of changes in the industry.


Keep them coming ladies and gentlemen. ;D

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Some of us already do that sort of thing, just on a much smaller scale. It should be SOP for ethanol production, along with a feedlot and composting for methane and topsoil.

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