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Licella signs MoUs with Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand on renewable aviation fuels

Australia-based Licella, a wholly owned subsidiary of Ignite Energy, has signed memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand to examine the development and commercialization of a process to convert woody biomass into sustainable aviation biofuel.

Licella has developed a process using a continuous flow catalytic hydro-thermal reactor (Cat-HTR) with supercritical water which converts woody materials and other biomass into a high quality bio-crude oil. The Licella bio-crude, which has an energy density of 34-36 MJ/kg and oxygen content of around 10 wt% or less, can then be refined into drop-in fuels.

The company’s new commercial demonstration facility at Somersby in New South Wales was just opened by the Minister for Resources and Energy, Martin Ferguson. Licella has been supported with an A$2.3 million grant from the Australian Government’s Second Generation Biofuels Research and Development (Gen 2) Program.

The Licella plant will demonstrate the production of bio-crude oil that has the potential to be refined into gasoline, diesel and jet fuel.

Virgin Australia and Licella will explore the potential of the Licella technology to produce aviation fuel, with the aim of supporting its certification and reaching a commercial off-take agreement. Air New Zealand and Licella will jointly explore the potential of the technology to produce sustainable aviation biofuel in New Zealand.

In July, Virgin Australia announced a partnership with Renewable Oil Corporation (ROC), Dynamotive Energy Systems Corporation and Future Farm Industries Co-operative Research Centre (FFI CRC) to develop a sustainable aviation biofuel using fast pyrolysis and subsequent bio-oil upgrading technology developed by Dynamotive to process mallees, a type of eucalyptus that can be grown sustainably in many parts of Australia, into renewable jet fuel. (Earlier post.)

Licella and its parent company Ignite Energy have also entered into agreements with joint venture partners TRU Energy and Norske Skog. The agreement reached between TRU Energy and Ignite Energy is to locate a commercial demonstration plant at Yallourn Power Station, in the Latrobe Valley, scheduled for mid-2012.

Trials of the technology will assess its potential to add significant value to Victoria's brown coal resource by producing quality liquid fuels and solid coal products, while also testing its capacity to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from burning brown coal.

—Minister Ferguson

Licella and Norske Skog Australasia are also forming a new joint venture company called Licella Fibre Fuels. This new joint venture company will hold the exclusive global license to Licella’s catalytic hydro-thermal reactor technology.

Air New Zealand and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise have been working closely with Licella and Norske Skog for more than two years regarding opportunities for the technology in New Zealand.



The problem is: "Alaska Airlines paid $16 a gallon for the biofuel, compared to about $3.15 a gallon for Jet A. The airline readily admits the high price means biofuels won’t replace jet fuel anytime soon."

It seems that until lipid-enriched algae comes online at low cost - sustainable jet fuel is a distant goal.

Henry Gibson

There are oil fields in many places and there are perhaps oil fields in Australia that can be induced to greater production by injecting CO2 and water. The CO2 can be obtained by converting coal into jet fuel and the CO2 produced can be injected and re-injected into the oil fields.

Buried pipes can move liquid CO2 to the oil fields. There is a molten iron-tin alloy process for converting water and coal into hydrogen and CO or CO2 and it does not require air separation and produces less CO2. The hydrogen and carbon oxides are then made into jet fuel by long known processes at low cost.

There is much magnesium but less calcium in the oceans, but thorough mixing of CO2 with sea water will capture it forever. The massive amounts of magnesium eliminate the chance of any substantial decrease of the alkaline nature of the oceans. The oceans have an alkaline nature and will not become acid or even neutral with the amount of CO2 humans can put into it which is a very small part of what natural processes put into it.

Much CO2 is converted by the ocean into neutral carbohydrates. The ocean reduces its acid content by releasing oxygen from its single cell and multiple cell plant growth. If ships were converted to burning coal slurry, the ash could provide needed growth elements for oceanic life. The energy efficiency would be less, but the net release of CO2 to the air could be very low and fuel costs would be much lower. Lighter weight steam turbines could be used again, but combustion could be by wet air oxidation which would capture all of the ash and sulphur. Much CO2 could also be combined with the cool ash slurry and all of the sulphur which is needed for plant growth. Super-critical water oxidation can convert all carbon forms to CO2 rapidly, but is only needed for final cleanup of partially oxidized material which is resistant to sub-critical oxidation.

Australia should not export either coal or uranium until it has installed working nuclear power generators. It could get CANDU reactors from its related state of Canada in about five years, and they could be exact duplicates of the ones recently installed in China to save on engineering and construction time and costs.

There are simple and cheap ways to modify reactors identical to the ones which failed in Japan so that they would not overheat after they were turned off even if power were not restored for a long time. One not very expensive way is to have multiple Capstone turbines always operating in Tsunami proof buildings. The power produced is used for reactor cooling or shipped to the power network during ordinary operation. Not one person is known to have been killed by the radiation from the failed reactors, but many people are know to be killed in Japan by automobiles or cigarettes.

Coal fired and even natural gas fired power plants are known to release more radioactive atoms to the surface environment than nuclear reactors for the same amount of power produced. People cannot avoid eating radio-active foods, because the most natural organic foods have always been radioactive and cannot be made non-radioactive. Pure ethanol, a food, can be made without much or any measurable radioactivity from crude oil. It is as safe to drink as that made from corn or other grains or foods, but is illegal to sell for human consumption in the US, because it is deemed to be adulterated because it does not have sufficient radioactivity.

Potassium Iodide pills, that are useful to reduce the intake of radioactive iodine for the first few days of their release but not after a week or so, are radioactive themselves.

There is enough uranium and thorium on the earth to sustain production of any kind of fuel for hundreds of thousands of millions of years from captured CO2 and hydrogen produced from water with nuclear reactor heat. By that time the earth will have long been captured by the expanding sun.



deemed to be adulterated because it does not have sufficient radioactivity

show proof

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