The European Commission has awarded €39 million (US$53 million) in funding from the NER300 program to Maabjerg Energy Concept towards the construction of a large-scale cellulosic biorefinery in western Denmark. Maabjerg Energy Concept is a consortium of companies: Energy company DONG Energy, enzyme producer Novozymes and local utilities Vestforsyning, Struer Forsyning and waste management company Nomi.
The NER300 program was set up to act as a vehicle to develop environmentally safe carbon capture and storage (CCS) and innovative renewable energy sources (RESs) technologies on a commercial scale within the European Union.
EU funding is a crucial step. But we also need to be sure we can sell the 80 million liters [21 million gallons US] of 2nd generation bioethanol that we plan to make, before we give the go-ahead for construction of our bioethanol plant. To ensure that, we need a political and legal framework setting a minimum level of 2nd generation biofuel additives in gasoline.—Jørgen Udby, Chairman of the board for the consortium
The EU’s decision to set a minimum level of 0.5% 2G additives by 2020 is a good start, with possibilities for member states to raise the bar, Udby said.
Currently, most of the 1st generation bioethanol used in European gasoline blends is imported—often made by US corn or South American sugar cane.
The partners behind the Maabjerg Energy Concept consortium are currently working on the third and final version of the project business plan.
It looks like we won’t need further funding, apart from the NER300 award, so all we need now is for EU member states to set ambitious goals for 2nd generation biofuel additives and a Danish legal framework for large scale production of bioethanol.—Jørgen Udby