Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Algae is back!

Source: biofueldigest

Iowa algae and corn ethanol project points the way towards optimizing delivery of feed, fuel, carbon reduction.
In our 10-part series, the Bioenergy Project of the Future, based on extensive interviews with industry leaders, we outlined what is expected to be the multi-product, multi-input structure of biofuels and biomaterials projects in the future.
In step 1, we identified the acquisition of an existing first-generation ethanol plant as an appropriate base, because it had so many assets already in place, including a feedstock aggregation system, relations with growers and customers, rail lines, roads, water, power and so on.
In steps two through nine, project developers would add in a variety of inputs and outputs that would increase the product value, stabilize the input costs, and improve the carbon footprint and impact of the project.
2. Cellulosic biomass feedstock
3. Renewable chemicals
4. Advanced drop-in biofuels
5. Algal fuels and materials
6. Bio-ammonia
7. Renewable diesel
8. Lowest-cost waste feedstocks
9. Solar, wind and other renewables
Bioenergy Projects of the Future, today
The most complete realizations of that vision at scale, to date, are the POET Liberty Project in Emmetsburg, Iowa; the Gevo biobutanol project in Luverne, Minnesota; the Amyris SMA Indústria Química project in Brazil; and the Green Plains Renewable Energy project in Shenandoah, Iowa – in which an algal fuels and biomaterials project in underway in partnership with BioProcessAlgae.
The Green Plains project is by far the least-known of the three – given POET’s position as the largest privately-owned, dedicated ethanol producer, and given the deserved hoopla over Amyris’ and Gevo’s successful IPOs in the past year.
In the POET project, they have taken on the most direct route to the Bioenergy Project of the Future, by adding in cellulosic biomass feedstock, and moving on to the production of fuels in 2013 when the 25 million gallons Project LIBERTY plant officially opens at scale.
In the Amyris project, they have established a joint venture with an existing 8.5 million tonne sugarcane ethanol project in Pradópolis, Sao Paulo state, Brazil, owned by Usina São Martinho. Starting in Q2 2012, Amyris and São Martinho plan for the joint venture plant to produce Biofene, a renewable hydrocarbon, which would be used as an ingredient in detergents, cosmetics, perfumes, industrial lubricants, and diesel. In their case, they are still testing out cellulosic feedstocks, but have added in renewable chemicals and renewable diesel to expand their high-value product portfolio.
In the Gevo project, they have acquired an existing corn ethanol plant as a base, and are busy converting that production over to isobutanol, which is scheduled to commence at-scale in March 2012. In the Gevo case, they have skipped over (for now) the addition of cellulosic feedstock, but likewise added in renewable chemicals and advanced drop-in fuels to diversify the product portfolio.
The Algae Option
Of all of them, the Green Plains Renewable Energy and BioProcess Algae project in Shenandoah is the first to reach step five of the multi-step transition we identified – which is to bolt-on an algal fuels and materials capability to an existing corn ethanol production system
It’s all still at relatively small-scale. The partners will have to prove they can sustainably produce, harvest and process the algae. But it’s significant in three ways, for sure.
First, it massively changes the carbon footprint and impact of a corn ethanol project. Almost one-third of the corn kernel, by weight, is transformed into carbon dioxide in the ethanol fermentation process, and the algae can remediate that usage by absorbing the CO2 in its own growth process. It’s not carbon sequestration – that’s different, because the algae itself will be utilized for fuels and biomaterials. But it is capture and re-use, or a second bite of the cherry, and dilutes the carbon impact by creating a second batch of fuels or materials for the same given bushel of corn.
(You may be wondering how they grow algae at all in the state of Iowa during the colder six months of the year, without using bioreactors that are simply too cost intensive. Ah, that’s where the process heat and steam that comes off an ethanol paint comes in handy.)
Second, it changes the economics of the corn ethanol project. Though it remains exposed to the commodity price swings in the corn market, except to the extent to which it can achieve fixed-price or partially-fixed contracts with growers – it is far less exposed to the commodity price of ethanol. Biodiesel, for example, comes into play, or other bio-based materials made from algae – omega-3 laden fatty acids, for example that make for rich protein.
More importantly, the economics of algae do not work unless a project is using the entire biomass – either for feed, to gasify for fuel, or to provide energy back to the system. So, making algae work as a feed system is important to the economics.
Third, making algae work as a secondary feed source can substantially add to the feed options available to the meat and dairy industries, that have been sore as heck in having to compete with ethanol plants for corn-based feed, and have been running a first class, textbook “fear, uncertainty and doubt” campaign against ethanol that has befooled and beguiled, apparently, most of the US Congress.
So – for many reasons, one of the big question marks is whether algae strains that can tolerate industrial gases will work as an animal feed.
The big question: will it work as animal feed?
So it is significant that, yesterday, Green Plains Renewable Energy and BioProcess Algae announced the successful completion of the first round of algae-based poultry feed trials. The algae strains produced for the feed trials demonstrated high energy and protein content that was readily available, similar to other high value feed products used in the feeding of poultry today.
The algae strains used in the feed trials were grown in BioProcess Algae’s Grower Harvester reactors co-located with Green Plains’ ethanol plant in Shenandoah, Iowa. The test was conducted in conjunction with the University of Illinois led by Dr. Carl M. Parsons, a leading expert in the field of poultry sciences.
“This was the first time we tested algae as a poultry feed-product and many of the qualities found were similar to high protein soymeal, but with higher energy content,” said Dr. Parsons. In addition to the high energy and protein content, the testing found amino acid profiles similar to existing feed components. The University of Missouri analyzed the results and provided an independent third-party validation.
“Based on these first-round tests, we will continue the development of this and other high-quality animal feed products from our algae. We will proceed with further testing for poultry and begin evaluating a replacement product for fishmeal,” said Tim Burns, Chief Executive Officer of BioProcess Algae. “We can now look into the opportunity to use algae as a ‘carrier’ for higher value products going into poultry feed such as Omega-3s.”
Next steps
So, there’s reason for increased optimism on the algal fuels and materials front. Next steps for BioProcess Algae include further feed trials, and more importantly, continuing to knock down the production cost. Their current costs, at the scale they are producing, are sure to be too high, but how fast they knock them down in their science of growth and engineering of a low-cost production system will be key. We expect that, if they had a path to parity with $80 oil already figured out, the public might well have heard about it.
For now, we stay tuned.

Friday, October 7, 2011


Papua New Guinea is two-fold mighty in renewable resources: The first is the coffee in the highlands regions and the Palm oil in the coastal regions. The latter had a huge expansion lately, NBPO, Higaturu,Poliamba and Hargy are some big name oil palm industries in PNG moving rural development,services into the MOST RURAL lands, locations where government services can NEVER reach. More oil palm development is coming, lately PNG government invested 2 billion kina in the oil palm Sepik region, those wild savannah,unproductive idle sepik plans will be blooming with palm trees in the couple of months. Newswires had it that huge ares in the Famouse Markham valley had been surveyed, registered for mammoth palm oil fields.Finally, Patrict Putriach MP for Pomio is already setting out palm oil fields and milling. Putting all those together, a couple of years, all of these regions will be producing oil palm, some million tons yearly.

Our neighbour, Indonesia is the largest oil palm producer after Malaysia, possibly, PNG may fall between one of them, or after them. However, there was a very significant development that have surfaced in regard to RSPO-round sustainable palm oil, a volunatry organisation that monitors oil palm industry. The news below is latest, perhaps PNG can start thinking about...'whether or not' our home land industries-oil palm, can come under RSPO guide lines.

One has the freedom, capacity to decide and enforce,monitor and control. By the way, the news indicates there is conflicting ideas on RSPO.

SOURCE: http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/feedarticle/9876273

JAKARTA, Oct 3 (Reuters) - The Indonesian Palm Oil Association (Gapki) has withdrawn its membership from the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), after the world's top producing country forged ahead with its own sustainability scheme, both groups said on Monday.
The RSPO is an industry body of consumers, green groups and plantation firms that aims to promote use of sustainable palm oil products and many major European palm oil buyers say the RSPO will continue to be the international sustainability benchmark.
Many palm oil producers have criticised the RSPO for being too much in favour of green groups, and both Malaysia and Indonesia are pushing on with their own schemes.
"We have been considering resigning from RSPO through a long process of discussion involving board of (our) directors and board of commissioner," Fadhil Hasan, executive director of Gapki told Reuters.
"Finally, we decided to resign from RSPO because we already have ISPO," he said. "We sent the letter of resignation on Thursday last week."
Unlike the RSPO, the Indonesia Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO) will punish by law those found to be breaking ISPO rules, a ministry official said last November.
ISPO auditors will examine the entire operations of palm oil firms as part of its certification.
"We choose ISPO because it is mandatory and every palm oil producer has to follow ISPO," said Hasan. "The RSPO is voluntary."
Palm output in Indonesia, which overtook Malaysia as No. 1 palm oil producer in 2007, is expected to be 23 million tonnes and exports will be about 17 million tonnes this year, the Indonesian palm industry forecasts.
"It is regretful that an association representing Indonesian palm oil producers has decided to relinquish their presence in RSPO," the industry group said on its website. "However, we accept their decision as the RSPO is a voluntary membership based organisation."
The RSPO said its secretariat is working closely with Indonesian producer members to have an interim representative for Indonesian growers on the RSPO Executive Board until a new representative is formally chosen at the RSPO General Assembly in November.

The industry has come under increasing pressure to improve practices and halt deforestation blamed for speeding up climate change, ruining watersheds and destroying wildlife.
Sinar Mas Agro Resources and Technology (SMART), which runs the Indonesia palm oil operations of its Singapore-listed parent Golden Agri-Resources, was given a mixed score card last year in an independent environmental audit after Greenpeace accused the firm of clearing peat land and forests that sheltered endangered species.
The palm oil producer said in February, however, it would work with the government and a non-profit body, and Golden Agri then developed a Forest Conservation Policy (FCP) in collaboration with The Forest Trust (TFT), a non-profit organisation that seeks to promote green business methods.
Last month, Nestle, the world's biggest food group, resumed palm oil purchases from SMART, showing that the palm oil firm's efforts to boost its green credentials by teaming up with a conservation group have paid off.
Before this, an Indonesian moratorium on new permits to clear forests, came into force in May for an initial two years.
The RSPO has set up green standards for production, with volume of its certified sustainable palm oil on the market rising from 1.3 million tonnes in 2009 to 2.2 million in 2010.
RSPO-certified crude palm oil production capacity is about 5 million tonnes a year, or 10 percent of global output, the body's head said last month.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

PNG, Jatropha (Biofuel) or pay more-Cheap days are Gone-period!

Below are latest possibly the begining from the people-PNG government has to wake up and realise that cheap fuel days are gone, reserves are scarce and expensive to be off shore.

Do biofuels or die!

Expert: Era of cheap oil over
The National - Thursday 06th October, 2011
THERE are enormous oil and gas resources available in the world today, but the challenge is to convert that into reserves that can last another century, International Society of Petroleum Engineers president Alain Labastie said yesterday at the University of PNG.
He said the era of cheap oil was now over and the cost of producing other new types of oil products would continue to increase, leading to oil prices increasing too.
Labastie was visiting the geology final year students for an inspirational talk on how the energy and petroleum industry looked globally.
He said at the moment, the production cost of making new oil products will require a lot of technology, capital and staff.
“With the rising cost of production, the oil prices will also continue to increase but will never fall below the US$70 a barrel mark, as this will mean an operational loss for oil companies.
“This is the long-term problem for all of us. Because when production stops, we will all stop as well and the economy will not grow.
“As for staff with the knowledge on how to do this, there was a good chance that in three to five years, companies would be bidding for qualified staff.
“It is already happening in Canada and parts of the world where skilled manpower is tendered,” he said.
Labastie encouraged the students to work hard in their field of study as the energy and petroleum industry was an important part in economic growth.
He said through the industry, new ways were being sought to address the carbon dioxide emissions caused by the industry and the end-users of energy products.
“This is an opportunity for more jobs to be created and for more people to be skilled in this work.
“Growth is fuelled by energy and when the economy is doing well, any financial crisis is disregarded by the world’s need for oil and that I am optimistic about,” he added.
ESP engineer backs jatropha plan

The National - Thursday 06th October, 2011
A LOCAL chemical engineer is supporting the jatropha bio-fuel initiative because it has more value and other benefits.
Chemical engineer John Wafi from East Sepik said the jatropha bio-fuel project being advocated by another East Sepik engineer, Thompson Benguma, was a good project as it could reduce the cost of electricity in households and at the same time help alleviate poverty by generating income.
Wafi said the project could be adopted by the government as its rural electrification programme.
He said jatropha was miles ahead of palm oil, and appealed to policy makers to help introduce and develop the crop as a national industry.
He said jatropha, unlike palm oil, gave off nitrogen through its dried leaves, thus contributing to soil fertility.
Wafi said oil palm depleted soil nutrients.
He said a jatropha project was sustainable unlike fossil oil and gas.
Wafi said jatropha had many other by-products that included soap and washing detergent.
He said jatropha was also good for intercropping.
The government should support this project by providing the needed capital to develop it into a sustainable industry, Wafi said.