Dynamotive in stover to biofuel process in China

A Dynamotive press release today says that Dynamotive is involved in a project to use pyrolysis to convert corn stover into liquid biofuels in China...

I’ve said it before that this kind of pyrolysis could prove to be the wayahead in converting corn waste into biofuels. I’m a big fan of this kind of technology providing that it is energetically sensible to collect the feed for the pyrolysis plant.

Here’s the relase in full…

DYNAMOTIVE ENERGY SYSTEMS CORPORATION            News Release: December 1, 2008

Dynamotive Signs Agreement for Development of Plant in China

Vancouver, B.C. – Dynamotive Energy Systems Corporation (OTCBB:DYMTF) announced today that it had entered into a commercial agreement to support the development of a pyrolysis plant in China based on its proprietary technology.

In accordance with the agreement, Dynamotive will provide process and engineering support for the development of a plant to be located in the Henan province in the People’s Republic of China, being the first Dynamotive plant to be built outside Canada.

The plant will be developed by Hubei Xinda Bio-oil Technology Co., Ltd. (Hubei Xinda) in co-operation with Great China New Energy Technology Services Co. Limited (GCNETS) who is the exclusive licensor for Dynamotive’s technology in the People’s Republic of China.

Dynamotive under the terms of the agreement will provide technical support for the development. Fees for the technical support have been agreed for at $2,300,000 (two million three hundred thousand USD). Construction will take place in China and will be the responsibility of Hubei Xinda.

Ping Yan, President and General Manager of Hubei Xinda said, “Our company focuses on the development of renewable energy in China. We have been following Dynamotive’s technology for eight years.”

“We have secured over 900,000 dry tons of corn stover as feedstock for BioOil production which will be sufficient to supply 10 plants in the first stage of development. We have the funds ready to build China’s first plant in Henan province, and show the potential of this technology.”

“The first project in China marks an important milestone for our company,” said Dynamotive’s Chairman Richard Lin. “China’s economic development is in the world’s spotlight, and energy security and environmental protection are two major global concerns. As a leader in the bio-fuel industry, Dynamotive uses its patented technology to convert agricultural residues into valuable and clean renewable energy. The process makes use of non-food resources and creates no competition for land with food crops.”

GCNETS, Dynamotive’s exclusive licensor in the region was instrumental in the development of this agreement and in the introduction of Dynamotive’s technology in China. In particular GCNETS worked co-operatively with National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and Dynamotive in regard to vetting the technology (announced December 12, 2006), a critical step in securing this first plant.

The agreement with GCNETS and Hubei Xinda is the first of a number of potential agreements that are expected to be concluded in the region. GCNETS also worked closely with China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), after being introduced by the Canadian Embassy in 2006 (see website disclosures October 7, 2008) and has confirmed that negotiations are ongoing.

GCNETS is obligated to develop within five years a minimum of 15 plants in the region. Minimum license fees have been set at $1,000,000 (one million USD) per plant developed. Further, the agreement between GCNETS and Dynamotive provides for up to 20 % ownership of Dynamotive in the venture.

According to NDRC, China produces 900 million tons of agricultural residues each year. Using only one-third for fuel production, it would be sufficient to supply feed for two thousand 200 tpd BioOil plants. This output would help China meet its target to reduce its industrial fuel oil imports by 50%.

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3 Responses to Dynamotive in stover to biofuel process in China

  1. Pradeep 2 December, 2008 at 11:09 pm #

    The chemical engineer in me likes this, the environmental engineer is somewhat cautious.
    “Corn Stover to Sustain Soil Organic Carbon Further Constrains Biomass Supply” (requires subscription)

    “Abstract:Sustainable aboveground crop biomass harvest estimates for cellulosic ethanol production, to date, have been limited by the need for residue to control erosion. Recently, estimates of the amount of corn (Zea mays L.) stover needed to maintain soil carbon, which is responsible for favorable soil properties, were reported (5.25–12.50 Mg ha–1). These estimates indicate stover needed to maintain soil organic carbon, and thus productivity, are a greater constraint to environmentally sustainable cellulosic feedstock harvest than that needed to control water and wind erosion. An extensive effort is needed to develop advanced cropping systems that greatly expand biomass production to sustainably supply cellulosic feedstock without undermining crop and soil productivity.”

    An more extreme view is here

  2. Simon Robinson 3 December, 2008 at 9:28 am #

    Hi Paradeep,

    The amount of organic material that must be left in the soil is going to be the key to making sure that this route or other second generation cellulose-based processes leave enough organic material in the soil to prevent desertification/degradation. There is some interesting work on biochar. Until recently (possibly 1990) it was customary in the UK to burn off stubble in wheat fields after harvesting. Which meant that a) if you worked at a rural gas station, it could get a bit hairy one afternoon each year, b) considerable amounts of smoke were generated, c) the roots weren’t touched and needed to be ploughed in. Now we just plough them in…

  3. Pradeep 16 April, 2013 at 2:55 pm #

    Interesting. A related article is featured on the GCC blog. I think soil carbon will be one important variable in this story.

    Related news, hat-tip to the GCC blog
    Replacing corn with perennial grasses improves carbon footprint of biofuels
    “Harvesting the corn residue for cellulosic ethanol production also reduced the carbon in the soil. The more plant residue was removed, the more the soil carbon declined.”

    Of course, converting agricultural land to perennial grasses will improve soil carbon. I did not read the full article, but this study needs to compare native land-to-corn and native land-to-perennial grass scenarios.

    Ultimately, I think that this really depends on many variables, including geographic location. For example, the tropics have much higher C-circulation rates throughout the biosphere compared to the temperate climates.

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