Hydro, the Norwegian energy company, and Norske Skog, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of newsprint and magazine paper, have agreed to carry out a joint feasibility study relating to the production of synthetic diesel from wood via gasification and Fischer-Tropsch processing.
The partners are examining the possibility of establishing such a Biomass-to-Liquids (BTL) production facility in south-east Norway. Such a plant could come on stream by 2012 at the earliest.
We consider ourselves to be natural partners as far as wood-based biodiesel is concerned. Hydro has wide experience derived from the construction and operation of major processing plants and from the quest to find new forms of energy. Norske Skog has considerable expertise when it comes to wood purchasing and treating wood pulp.—Hydro senior vice president Alexandra Bech Gjørv and Norske Skog vice president Terje Engevik
The feasibility study will primarily provide an overview of the technologies available in the market, identify the availability of raw materials, and create a realistic picture of the external governing conditions that must be in place in order to reach an investment decision.
CO2 emissions represent a climate threat that affects all of us, and we can see that the political will exists to promote biodiesel as an environmentally friendly alternative to regular fuels. There is great potential for biodiesel in the market of the future, but if this market is going to materialize we are in need of a sound, long-term operating framework from the authorities.—Bech Gjørv and Engevik
Other groups internationally are also exploring the use of wood as a feedstock in BTL processes.
A Maine non-profit group has released a plan detailing how the state could turn its vast quantities of forest waste into a range of biofuels and chemicals, providing up to 50% of the state’s annual energy needs. The study assessed the potential for three primary forest-waste biomass conversion technologies: Pyrolysis, Gasification and Fractionation. (Earlier post.)
The University of Maine announced it was embarking on a $10.35-million research project to develop an integrated forest biorefinery—one that allows mills to create new, high-margin revenue streams while maintaining their traditional production. This could be the first integrated forest biorefinery in the US. (Earlier post.)
The Biomass Technology Research Center (BTRC) of Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) has succeeded in continuously synthesizing Fischer-Tropsch diesel from wood via a new compact process. This marks the first successful continuous production of Fischer-Tropsch (FT) diesel from wood in Japan, and is intended to bolster the development of small or portable BTL plants. (Earlier post.)