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Greece Ramping Up Biofuels Production; Converting Sugar Plants to Ethanol Production

24 February 2007

The Government of Greece plans produce 160 million liters (ML) (42.3 million gallons US) of biodiesel and 400 ML (105.7 million gallons US) of bioethanol annually by 2010, according to a report by the USDA.

The Greek Ministry of Agriculture will ask the European Commission for permission to convert two of Greece’s five existing sugar plants into bioethanol production facilities. If approved, Greece would dedicate some 50% of its current EU quota for sugar beet to meet the demand created by these two plants. The objective is to support the Hellenic Sugar Industry and sugar beet producers by giving them the option to continue cultivation of the crop.

At full production these two plants would have a total output of 120 ML (31.7 million gallons US) of bioethanol. Some 80,000 metric tons of sugar beets will be needed, along with 53,000 metric tons of molasses (also from beets), and 265,000 metric tons of cereals.

Currently, there are four biodiesel plants in operation in Greece, with another six to come onstream in the next three years. The largest, due to enter production in 2008, will have an annual capacity of 50 million liters (13.2 million gallons US). Total biodiesel production in 2006 was about 73 million liters (19.3 million gallons US).

Greece has a biofuel target provided by the European Commission of 5.75% of total fuel consumption by 2010, which may increase to 10% by 2020 based on EC action this Spring. (Earlier post.) USDA estimates that Greece could produce only about a third of the raw materials needed to meet even the lower 5.75% level of biofuel production—i.e., imports will be necessary.

February 24, 2007 in Biodiesel, Ethanol, Europe, Policy | Permalink | Comments (14) | TrackBack (0)

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400 Megalitres of ethanol is enough for 178,000 average cars.

Or will provide enough E5 for 5.7 million cars.

If Greece threw its entire sugar beet output into ethanol production then it might provide enough ethanol for all of its petrol to be E5.

Andy

Why is waste thru plasma with bioreactors on the backend not being used by island and low resource nations. Large quantities of green fuel and electricity may be produced/provived by otherwise unused watse streams. This is the answer I love.

Greece has several large inlets on its shores, e.g. the Isthmus of Corinth, that could be used to grow algae for biofuel feedstocks. All they'd need is a few km of skirt and some iron powder plus special ships to harvest and process the stuff.

Of course, they'd need to consider the impact on the local fisheries, shipping lanes, tourism etc. first. I imagine there would be quite a few people who would need to be persuaded of the merits of such an idea.

A great deal of Greece's land is highly eroded and not very productive.

This observation leads me to consider the merits of land-based algae production.  Using something like the Solix process (fed with CO2 from crop wastes and garbage combustion, perhaps) Greece could produce much more biofuel than it could from sugar crops.  If various bio-wastes were carbonized rather than gasified and the charcoal was used as a soil-building amendment, Greece's poor soils might be improved in just a few decades.

Something to think about, maybe try on the pilot scale.

Has anyone considered that using ethanol, or bio diesel, may increase pollution and greenhouse gasses?.
Years ago your local refinery, would refine oil for hundreds of different products, how many people know that plastics is the number 1. They had a real problem; a waste product called “gasoline”, most of it was just burnt up in stacks, some of it even wound up in the ground water. One day the auto industry took note, that this alternative, that could be used, and would be very cheep.
It seems to me if we turn back the clock a hundred years, we will have the same problem. Shutting down the refinery would mean incredible hardship, most of the products produced today use petroleum
in their production. Some of the products could find alternatives, plastics could use a vegetable base. This would drive up costs and only solve a few problems. I’m afraid the only real solution would be to fire up the smoke stacks again.

You must be kidding.  In a world where people have started to burn asphalt in powerplants and crack it to light fractions for gasoline, do you really think people would burn expensive inputs "just because"?

“do you really think people would burn expensive inputs "just because"?

Yes I do, and yes they have, i spent 2 days last week at a local refinery where they were burning gasoline because the tanks were full, and they met their Quota.
My point had little to do with, if whether they could find alternative places where they could use it. It had more to do with pointing out that just because you use ethanol/bio diesel in you car; it won't necessarily reduce the net output at the refinery. With a gluten of gasoline, clean burning alternative energy would be less attractive. We would still be consuming the same amount of oil, with added greenhouse gasses, pollution from ethanol.

You mean they were flaring gasoline (blending components), or burning it for process heat?  In the latter case, they'd be filling tanks with other products.

I can see it being cheaper to burn gasoline fractions briefly, but over the long term it's cheaper to put less crude through the crackers than to burn high-value products to make more low-value ones.  A refinery which turns out a product mix with lower net sales price than it ought to will probably have its management replaced.

You mean they were flaring gasoline (blending components), or burning it for process heat?  In the latter case, they'd be filling tanks with other products.

I can see it being cheaper to burn gasoline fractions briefly, but over the long term it's cheaper to put less crude through the crackers than to burn high-value products to make more low-value ones.  A refinery which turns out a product mix with lower net sales price than it ought to will probably have its management replaced.

Sorry about the double post, but the first attempt timed out.

"You mean they were flaring gasoline (blending components), or burning it for process heat?."

I'm not a chemical engineer by trade, but I can tell you what i was told. Gasoline is simply waste product after hundreds of products are produced, (this is why your car will not start after sitting a long time) they earn little to no profit from its production. They have to follow a strict Quota system not to reduce prices further. Thus there are rare times when it’s just simply burned up to make room in the tank so that production can continue.

Gasoline is about 47% of products produced in the USA.  This passed the naptha fraction of even light crude many years ago, causing refiners to crack heavier fractions to make more gasoline.  Gasoline is anything but a waste product.

Anyone who tells you different is pulling your leg or a century out of date.

"Gasoline is about 47% of products produced in the USA."

Your logic is simply flawed, and so is your chart, the number 1 money making product for any refinery is plastics not gasoline. Gasoline is not the end result, but one of the end results of production after thousands of products, not listed on your chart are produced.

If that's true, you should be able to produce some information which lists the sales price for monomers and resins, along with the cost of production.

This shows that the USA's 140 billion gallon/year habit made the oil companies no less than $230 billion dollars in 2005.  Support your claim with data.

FWIW, the chemical plants which make plastic monomers seem to be built to run on natural gas rather than oil.  This is one reason they're moving overseas.

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