Pine Chemicals Association questions biofuel use of crude tall oil

12 September 2013 23:10  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--The Pine Chemicals Association is questioning the use of crude tall oil (CTO) as a feedstock for biofuels, said the CEO of the organisation.

Speaking in a phone interview ahead of the group's upcoming international conference, to be held later this week in Barcelona, Spain, chief executive Charles Morris expressed the basis for the concern.

“The use of CTO for biofuels holds the potential to destroy our whole industry,” Morris said.

“With mandates for so much biofuel in Europe and the US combined with tax incentives, this could displace this industry with no real gain on the carbon dioxide (CO2) issue,” Morris added.

Pine chemicals are key components in adhesives, paper making, printing inks, synthetic rubber production, flavours and fragrances, and many other applications.

“We touch people’s lives every day,” Morris said.

But the pine chemical industry is a little known industry compared with petrochemicals, more analogous to the oleochemical industry – another sector that makes use of CTO and some of the other lesser-known feedstocks such as tallow and yellow grease.

The link between these industries is fatty acids – and now biofuels that seek to use these same feedstocks.

Tall oil fatty acids (TOFAs) are among the many products that are derived from CTO.

TOFAs are a C18 fatty acid, a carbon length desired for use in oilfield applications, among other end-uses.

With European appetite growing for CTO to be used as a biofuel feedstock, more of the material is leaving the US, additionally underpinning the concerns of the Pine Chemicals Association.

The Pine Chemicals Association is holding its 2013 annual international conference 15-17 September in Barcelona, Spain.

The organization represents a global association of companies engaged in producing and processing chemicals derived from pine trees.

In the US alone, the industry today directly contributes approximately $2bn (€1.5bn) to the US economy, with over $11bn contributed to downstream economic output. It employs about 1,900 workers in the US with an annual payroll of $93m. 

($1 = €0.75)

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By: Judith Taylor
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