Ability to raise biofuel output lies in future tech – Finland's UPM

09 August 2012 14:34  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Europe faces a big challenge in finding financially viable new technologies and processes to produce enough non-food second-generation biofuels to fulfil EU 2020 targets, an executive of Finnish renewable fuels producer UPM Biofuels said on Thursday.

“A big potential to scale up biofuel production lies in future technologies that convert lignocellulose into 2nd generation biofuels,” Sari Mannonen, UPM's business relations and marketing director said, in comments circulated to publicise the Biofuels 2012 7th Annual Meeting.

Lignocellulosic biomass refers to plant biomass from agricultural residues, including corn stover and sugarcane bagasse, dedicated energy crops, wood residues, including sawmill and paper mill discards, and municipal paper waste.

UPM is constructing the world's first industrial-scale plant for the production of biofuel based on tall oil, a by-product of pulp production, in Lappeenranta, southeast Finland. The €150m ($185m) installation will mainly produce 100,000 tonnes/year of biodiesel and some biogasoline.

“The key success factor [for our biorefinery] is sustainability: our feedstock is wood-based, of non-food origin, and the CO2 emission reduction is significant, at 80%. Our product is high quality 'drop-in transportation fuel', which can be used directly as such or blended with fossil fuel,” Mannonen said.

Much discussion in the European biofuels industry is devoted to Indirect Land Use Change regulations, she added.

The EU is concerned by the worldwide ILUC impacts of biofuels which relate to the unintended consequence of releasing more carbon emissions because of land-use changes triggered by the expansion of croplands for ethanol or biodiesel production.

“There is also a lot of ILUC discussion and it is challenging to find the right balance. The ILUC regulations will have a big impact on the biofuels markets,” Mannonen said.

Biofuels 2012, organised by the World Refining Association, will take place from 17-19 October in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

($1 = €0.81)

By: Will Conroy
+44 20 8652 3214

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