I’m still assembling my weekly news roundup but decided again to separate biofuels as there seem to be several interesting ones that came out last week
BASF plans to build its second Latin American sodium methylate plant in Rosario, Argentina with annual capacity of 60,000 tonne. It’s first biodiesel catalyst plant located in Brazil will start at the end of 2011. The company said it wants to strengthen its regional presence in one of the most important growth markets for biodiesel.
Japan-based Itochu Corporation has purchased shares in US biofuel catalyst developer Benefuel, to develop low-cost and efficient biodiesel manufacturing in Asia. Benefuel’s catalyst called bifunctional solid catalyst can convert low quality fat, oil and fatty acids into biodiesel without the need to purify the feedstock. Itochu aims to develop biodiesel operations using the catalyst in Asian markets by 2012.
Algae-based ethanol developer Algenol has acquired Germany-based Cyano Biofuels, which the company said has extensive experience in producing hybrid algae for ethanol and green chemicals feedstock. Algenol plans to build a pilot-scale biorefinery this year.
Renewable diesel producer Neste oil will increase its use of waste fat for production of its NExBTL renewable diesel this year. Palm oil will account for under 50% of total raw material use followed by waste animal fat at under 20% of its raw material input, stearin (byproduct of palm oil production process) at over 20%, palm fatty acid distillate at 5-10%, and the rest will include vegetable oils such as rapeseed oil.
A team of chemical engineers at the University of Arkansas has developed a method for converting common algae into butanol. Carbohydrates are extracted from algae and converted into natural sugars, which can then be fermented into organic acids – butyric, lactic and acetic. The researchers use electrodeionization to isolate butyric acid for conversion to butanol. The researchers is currently working with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection to create biofuel from algae grown at the Rockaway Wastewater treatment plant in Queens.