Home' Asian Aviation : AAV_Dec2012.Jan2013.HighRes.pdf Contents 26 AsianAviation | DECEMBER/JANUARY 2013
process at Shoalhaven One, with executive chairman
Roger Stroud hoping by the end of 2012 for
validation of yield capabilities by Swiss inspection
and verification group SGS.
AlgaeTec also has an operation in Atlanta, Georgia,
United States, which is focused on research and
development. It is now turning its attention to
production facilities. Its first will be in Colombo,
Sri Lanka, located next to Holcim, the world's
largest cement and building materials company.
The Sri Lankan facility will comprise up to 250
photo-bioreactor modules which should produce
approximately 31 million litres of oil for biodiesel
production and 31,000 tonnes of biomass per year,
while capturing 125,000 tonnes of CO2. The target
is to start production in the middle of 2013, says
Stroud. He hopes the Sri Lankan facility could lead to
other projects with Holcim, with the Swiss company
keen to reduce its emissions profile.
AlgaeTec has also signed a collaborative agreement
with German carrier Lufthansa for the construction
of a large-scale algae production facility in Europe.
Stroud expects a significant announcement on that
project in the next few months.
Lufthansa says it is currently investigating
whether suitable locations for such a plant exist in
Europe, "where the climatic conditions pose several
challenges not present in Australia". Lufthansa says
"should the viability of such a project be established"
it will arrange funding without investing money itself,
and would commit to a long-term off-take agreement
of the fuel produced at an agreed price.
In addition, AlgaeTec is planning a production
facility in Shadong Province, China, through a joint
venture with the Shandong Kerui Group, which
manufactures equipment for the oil and gas industry.
Elsewhere, talks with partners and the government
are ongoing in Brazil. AlgaeTec is also looking at a
couple of sites in Texas, US, as well as in Australia
in the NSW Hunter Valley.
By the middle of 2013 Stroud expects the company
will need to seek further finance and during 2015 it
expects its product to be flying with airlines, with
exponential growth forecast through to 2020. Most
of the barriers have been broken down, says Stroud,
with government and industry engaged. "We've been
talking about biofuels for 15 years now," he adds.
A LOT OF INTEREST
In addition to Lufthansa, AlgaeTec has a lot of interest
from a UK airline, two in the US and one in Asia -- "all
big airlines", says Stroud. "Algae is certainly seen
as a solution, and very much a sustainable volume
solution. Whether other solutions can achieve in
terms of volume what algae can is questionable. If
airlines are sensible they will go across the range,
look at all solutions," he says.
That is very much a policy Lufthansa, one of the
most proactive airlines in the biofuels arena, appears
to be following. In late 2011, Lufthansa conducted a
six month trial of biofuel on an Airbus A321 flying eight
times daily on the Hamburg-Frankfurt route under the
burnFAIR project. Some 1,187 flights were conducted,
with one engine powered by a 50-50 blend of
conventional fuel and biofuel comprising 80 per cent
camelina, 15 per cent jatropha and 5 per cent animal
fats, supplied by Neste Oil. The trial was successful,
with the fuel demonstrating its suitability for everyday
use and emitting 1,500 fewer tonnes of CO2 than
conventional fuel. "Following the field test, we are now
focusing on suitability, availability, sustainability and
the certification of raw materials needed for producing
biofuel. This market, however, still needs to be explored
in more depth," says Lufthansa.
Lufthansa says it is considering various options
for possible sources of biofuel production and, in
addition to AlgaeTec, is working on partnerships
with "several other companies", the details of which
it declines to disclose.
One company it is working with is Solena
Fuels, which is converting waste from landfills and
incinerators into synthetic biofuels. Solena has
selected a site at an industrial park in Schwedt/Oder
in northern Brandenburg, on the Polish border, as its
German sustainable biofuel facility. Solena says it will
sell to Lufthansa the biofuel produced at the facility as
a drop-in, certified jet fuel. Lufthansa's vice-president
aviation biofuels, Joachim Buse said in September
that Lufthansa is working towards a "long-term,
banakable off-take agreement with Solena" with the
fuel to be delivered to Berlin Brandenburg Airport.
The facility will convert more than 520,000 tonnes of
waste biomass into jet fuel, diesel fuel and electricity.
Solena has been working for a number of years
with British Airways on a similar facility -- the
GreenSky London waste-biomass to jet fuel project.
BA is aiming to use the low-carbon fuel to power
part of its fleet from 2015. US company Solena
also has letters of intent with seven airline members
of the US Air Transport Association of America to
supply biofuel from its GreenSky California biomass
to liquids facility in northern California.
Other airlines are investigating alternative sources.
Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand, for example,
are working with Australian company Licella
which has developed a process using catalytic
hydrothermal reactor (Cat-HTR) technology to
convert plant material into bio-crude oil. The system
uses supercritical water technology. Under intense
heat and pressure, water approaches a fourth state
of matter -- supercritical -- at which point it has
increased acidic and basic properties with diffusion
properties similar to gases and the ability to dissolve
non-polar liquids like oil. The Licella process uses
supercritical water to break down pulverised
biomass, breaking down the carbon-oxygen linkages
in the biomass to liquefy it. Further steps then remove
the oxygen and stabilise the oil.
Licella's pilot plant just outside Sydney, which
has been running for nearly four years, has been
using radiate pine, a saw mill by-product, and other
energy crops, but in principle Licella says any lingo-
Algae is certainly seen as a solution, and very much a sustainable volume solution.
JATRO has established jatropha plantation sites throughout South East Asia.
Jatropha is just one of many feedstocks
being used for aviation biofuel.
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