|Biomass-to-Liquid biofuel plant opens in Germany|
|24/04/2008 - 12:56|
On April 17, 2008, the world’s reportedly first commercial biomass-to-liquid (BtL) plant opened in Freiberg, Saxony in Eastern Germany. The owner company Choren Industries GmbH projects that it will take 8 to 12 months for the plant to reach its full annual capacity of 18 million liters. The plant will run on forest residue wood and waste timber. At full capacity it will use 65,000 MT of wood dry matter as feedstock. Investment costs amounted to 100 million Euro, including a 35 million Euro subsidy from the state of Saxony.
While BtL can be produced from cellulosic material, it is distinctly different from cellulosic ethanol, another second generation biofuel.
The Choren project is the most commercially advanced of several research and development activities in Germany for BtL production. Choren produces BtL with the Carbo-V ® process and calls its fuel “SunDiesel®”. Choren cooperates with the car manufacturers Daimler and Volkswagen which have tested the fuel in their cars.
Other activities exist at the Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe (Research Center Karlsruhe, FZK) with the bioliq ® process, also in cooperation with Volkswagen. A pilot plant is currently being constructed at the FZK.
Choren is contemplating building an industrial scale plant with an annual capacity of 270 million liters/200,000 MT (71 million gallons) in the city of Schwedt in the state of Brandenburg. The final decision is projected for 2009 and subject to the company’s assessment of the projected profitability. If built, the plant could start operating in 2012 or 2013. Currently, production costs for BtL are still higher than those for fossil fuels, thus the use of BtL depends on tax incentives. However, the German energy tax law currently provides a tax exemption for second generation fuels only until 2015. As a result, the period for amortization would be rather short. Consequently, the final decision whether to implement the plans will likely depend on amendments in the German energy tax law to prolong support for second generation biofuels.
BtL is very popular among German politicians who hope it will help them achieve their ambitious biofuel goals and alleviate the food versus fuel debate at the same time . However, while the opening of the Freiberg plant is a milestone, BtL is still in its infancy and it is still a long way to go for large scale production of BtL in Germany. Because of its technical specification BtL is also popular with the car manufacturers and mineral oil companies, which are more likely to support the use of BtL then cellulosic ethanol for example.
Future economic viability of BtL production will depend on feedstock costs, logistic costs to move the biomass to the facility, prices for competing products such as fossil fuels, future technical progress and reduction of conversion costs, and last not least government support, for example in the form of tax incentives or mandate.
BtL is a second generation biofuel that is produced from biomass. Unlike first generation biofuels such as bioethanol or biodiesel, BTL production uses the whole plant, while biodiesel and bioethanol currently only use parts of the plant. This results in a smaller area requirement for the same amount of energy compared to biodiesel or bioethanol.
Building phase of World’s First Commercial Synthetic Biofuel Production Plant successfully completed.
Building stage of synthetic biofuel (BTL) manufacturing plant completed. Over 130 guests from industry and politics visit Freiberg. Future full-scale commercial BTL production is the hot topic.
Freiberg, 17 April 2008
? Merkel: "Progress
can be achieved in climate protection when government, industry
and science work hand in hand."
? Milbradt: “Today marks an important step on the road to a sustainable and secure energy supply
? BTL is a key technology for achieving the climate objectives for road traffic
? CO2 emissions up to 90% lower than from conventional diesel
? BTL production does not compete with food production
? Shell, Daimler and Volkswagen emphasise their commitment to synthetic biofuel made by CHOREN
CHOREN is marking an important milestone with completion of the building phase of the world’s first commercial synthetic BTL biofuel production plant. This was acknowledged today by Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Prime Minister of Saxony, Georg Milbradt during a visit to the ‘Beta plant’ in Freiberg, Saxony.
An important phase now follows - the commissioning of the plant, which will result in production of up to 18 million litres of BTL. The commissioning will take place in stages over several months. 113 sub-systems in 26 main operating units will be put into operation individually and then consequetively. Forest residue and waste wood will be used as raw materials. The biomass will not compete with food production. Synthetic biofuel can be used in all diesel engines, without modification.
Chancellor Merkel emphasised the significance of Germany’s commitment to combating climate change in front of more than 130 guests. “The Freiberg project demonstrates what progress can be achieved in the development of climate protection technology when government, industry and science work hand in hand.”
Saxony’s Prime Minister, Georg Milbradt, said "At CHOREN the innovative tradition of Freiberg’s fuel research is being continued. A process for producing petrol from coal was developed here previously; now the same feat has been achieved with wood. The result is a more sustainable, cleaner and more economical biofuel without the social and environmental side effects as in the case of bio ethanol.” He went on to add “Today marks an important date for Germany and the world on our journey towards secure and sustainable mobility. Freiberg is already Germany’s solar capital and perhaps soon also Europe’s. Bioenergie could well become a similar success story.
The completion of the
building phase of the Beta plant is a milestone on a longer
The vision of the company founder, Dr. Bodo Wolf, was to produce energy from renewable raw materials in a sustainable and environmentally-friendly way. That led to the development of the high-technology Carbo-V® process, successfully tested in the 1-MWth-Carbo-V® pilot unit (22,500 operating hours).
The pilot unit was extended in 2002 with the addition of fuel synthesis. The BTL diesel fuel manufactured was then subjected to comprehensive fleet tests at Daimler and Volkswagen. Its performance and emission qualities during combustion were outstanding, proving that the CHOREN technology had now evolved beyond the laboratory stage.
The next step became possible through the financial involvement of private individuals around Hamburg’s LichtBlick group, still today CHOREN’s largest shareholder
The building of the world’s first commercial BTL production plant (Beta plant) in Freiberg was completed in two stages. Firstly, the Carbo-V® gasifier was set up with its main process equipment, the low temperature gasifier (NTV) and high-temperature gasifier (HTV). Then, the expansion incorporating the FT (Fischer-Tropsch) synthesis through partnership with Shell, integrating the most advanced FT technology:- the SMDS process.
Over 150 suppliers and around 50 assembly companies, including many from the region, were involved in the building of the Beta plant. CHOREN designed and manufactured 180 main components itself. Over 600 companies had been involved in the development of the Carbo-V® technology. By April 2008 around 800,000 man-hours have been utilized in development and assembly, and the overall number of employees almost doubled.
In the coming months 113 sub-systems in 26 main operating units will be started up individually then in sequence. Around 1,200 steps will be needed for the commissioning of these systems, which in themselves consist of several sub-steps. A highly-complex process, which, not unusually for plants of this complexity, will take 8 to 12 months. CHOREN will receive valuable support for this from Shell.
Tom Blades, CEO of
CHOREN, stressed: “BTL is a key technology for
achieving the climate protection objectives of road transport.”
A reduction of up
to 90% in greenhouse gases, no competition with food production
and better performance than fossil fuels are the most important
features of the synthetic biofuel. It is an inestimable advantage
to CHOREN to have experienced companies such as Shell, Daimler
and Volkswagen as partners and shareholders ? on our side
developing, producing and marketing BTL.”
Rob Routs, Executive Director of Royal Dutch Shell plc, said: “Shell is committed to a secure, affordable and sustainable energy supply in the future. We are working both on making fossil fuels more efficient and on development of alternative fuels. With next generation biofuels such as the BTL fuel from CHOREN, we are leading innovation in low-carbon fuels for sustainable mobility.”
“We want to move away from oil and towards renewable energy sources with positive side effects. Second generation biofuels can help us in that respect,” said Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, chairman of the supervisory board of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft. “Volkswagen has been calling for and promoting second generation biofuels for a long time, which have an excellent environmental balance, help the engine attain optimum combustion, and do not compete with food production,” continued Winterkorn.
"The second generation biofuel stands out because of its high quality, excellent CO2 balance and also because it does not compete with food production,” says Dr. Dieter Zetsche, chairman of Daimler Aktiengesellschaft and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. “That makes SunDiesel® the most promising option among the synthetic biofuels. It can be used in any blending ratio in current and future engine generations making a major contribution towards sustainable mobility.”
Major advantages of synthetic biofuel ? Compared to fossil diesel, BTL reduces life cycle CO2 emissions by up to 90%. ? BTL is virtually free of aromatics and sulphur, with significantly lower emission of carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons, as well as nitrogen oxides and particulates. ? BTL is a designer fuel that can be used in any current or future diesel engine, without the need for modifications. ? Forest residues, waste wood, fast-growing timber and agricultural resiude (eg straw) can be used as biomass for production purposes. This means that the BTL manufacturing process does not compete with food production. ? BTL has a high acreage yield in its production. This is three times greater than for example biodiesel from rapeseed.
Pressure for an
investment decision in favour of a larger Sigma plant in 2009
Looking ahead, Tom Blades said: "We have finished one successful phase today, but we still have a long way to go. In the coming months the Beta plant will be commissioned. In parallel we are working on a concept for the first BTL plant on an industrial scale, with an annual output of 270 million litres of biosynthetic fuel, to be built in Schwedt, in Brandenburg. Once the Beta plant has proven its viability, and provided the final decision on investment for Schwedt is made in 2009, production could commence in 2012/2013. But the medium-term legislative industrial policy has to be right for that."
The statutory framework created for first-generation biofuels has only been defined until 2015, which is not long enough for investors to plan for the first Sigma plant with any certainty. Blades continued: "Nevertheless, we are very confident that the politicians will shortly introduce economic policy framework enabling second-generation biofuels, and thus the synthetic biofuel made by CHOREN, to be a key contributor towards achieving the ambitious climate targets of the future."
CHOREN is a world leader in gasification systems for solid materials containing carbon. It has developed into the leading manufacturer of synthetic biofuels (BTL) with its internationally-patented Carbo-V® process and has registered offices in Freiberg and Hamburg. The company cooperates closely with Shell, Volkswagen and Daimler, who are not only committed shareholders, but also important strategic partners, involved in the further development of the biofuel manufacturer.
CHOREN currently has 230 employees, of whom 70 work at the Beta plant in Freiberg.
The Beta plant in
Maximum production: 18 million litres of BTL p.a (= the annual requirement of about 15,000 cars)
Biomass requirement: About 65,000 tonnes of wood (dry matter) p.a.
Raw materials:Forest residue and waste timber
Supply is secure for several years
Investment:About ?100 million
Technical details:31.5 km pipelines, 57 km electrical cables,
5,000 fittings, 5,000 measuring signals,
60 pumps, 181 containers and reactors
45 MWth output
Partners:Engineering Partner: EDL
Synthesis/hydrocracking partner: Shell
The Carbo-V® process developed by Choren has three stages.
During the first stage of the process, the biomass is continually carbonized through partial oxidisation (low temperature pyrolysis) using air or oxygen at temperatures between 400 and 500°C, i.e. it is broken down into a gas containing tar (volatile constituents) and solid carbon (char).
During the second stage of the process, the gas containing tar is post-oxidised using air and/or oxygen in a combustion chamber operating above the melting point of the fuels.
During the third stage of the process, the char is ground down into pulverised fuel and is blown into the hot gasification medium. The pulverised fuel and the gasification medium react endothermically in the gasification reactor and are converted into a raw synthesis gas. Once this has been treated in the appropriate manner, it can be used as a combustible gas for generating electricity, steam and heat or as a synthesis gas for producing SunDiesel®.
Fischer-Tropsch (FT) synthesis is used to convert the synthesis gas into fuel. During this process, the reactive parts of the synthesis gas (CO and H2) interact with a catalyst to form hydrocarbons. FT synthesis was developed in Germany in the 1920s. Today, Choren uses the SMDS process, a further development by Shell, which has been in successful use in Malaysia since the early 1990s, using natural gas.
BTLは「Biomasse To Liquid （バイオマスの液化）」の略称であり、GTL （Gas To Liquid 、ガスの液化）およびCTL （Coal To Liquid、
比重： 0.76〜0.79 kg/?
発熱量： 33,45 MJ/?（43,9 MJ/kg）
燃料相当量 BTL 1? = ディーゼル約0.97?
コーレン社（CHOREN）は、2007年に年産約1万6,500 m3の商業生産プラント第1号を操業開始する計画を立てている。また、年産約22万5,000 m3のプラントを数か所に準備中である。しかし、BTL燃料生産コストは、バイオエタノールまたはバイオディーゼルよりもはるかに高く、中期的にはコストの30%低減が期待されている。
(有)コーレン・インダストリーズ（CHOREN Industries GmbH）、ザクセン州フライベルク サンディーゼル／カルボV製法（フィッシャー・トロプシュ合成法を用いた3段階ガス化法）
、いま最も熱い期待が寄せられるのはBTL (Biomass To Liquid)と呼ばれる技術を使った第2 世代のバイオ燃料である。BTL 燃料は草や木屑など様ざまなバイオマスを原料とし、これをいったんガス化したのち合成される液体燃料。製造には複雑な工程を必要とするが、エネルギー効率が高く、燃料としての品質・性能も極めて優れている。
ザクセン地方の企業コーレン・インダストリーズは、すでに「サン・ディーゼル」の商標でBTL 軽油を試験生産している。サン・ディーゼルは、ダイムラークライスラー社とフォルクスワーゲン社によるテストでも上々の成績を収めた。合成軽油の組成は、ディーゼルエンジンとガソリンエンジンの中間に位置する未来の高効率パワートレーンの要求に完全に合致させることができるため、エンジン設計者たちの間では、早くもこの「デザイナー燃料」が大きな話題を呼んでいる。さらにBTL 軽油は、燃焼時のCO2 排出量が、植物の生長時に吸収されたCO2の量をほとんど上回らないという利点も備える。
「サンフューエル」の別名をもつBTL 燃料は、石油産業界からも大いに注目されている。シェル社はコーレン社に資本参加しているし、競合するトタルとBPは、ドイツエネルギー機構(dena)やプラントメーカー、自動車メーカーと共同でBTL 技術の調査研究を進めており、ことしの半ばにはその結果が出る。
The Carbo-V® Process is a three-stage gasification process involving the following sub-processes:
During the first stage of the process, the biomass (with a water content of 15 ? 20 %) is continually carbonized through partial oxidation (low temperature pyrolysis) with air or oxygen at temperatures between 400 and 500 °C, i.e. it is broken down into a gas containing tar (volatile parts) and solid carbon (char).
During the second stage of the process, the gas containing tar is post-oxidized hypostoichiometrically using air and/or oxygen in a combustion chamber operating above the melting point of the fuel’s ash to turn it into a hot gasification medium.
During the third stage of the process, the char is ground down into pulverized fuel and is blown into the hot gasification medium. The pulverized fuel and the gasification medium react endothermically in the gasification reactor and are converted into a raw synthesis gas. Once this has been treated in the appropriate manner, it can be used as a combustible gas for generating electricity, steam and heat or as a synthesis gas for producing SunDiesel.