March 22, 2010
At last we hear some good news from an enterprising source. How welcoming to read such positive comments.
The move from Finland is not an isolated one in Europe. I have also heard that GeneSyst teams in Europe will be starting work on several major waste biomass to ethanol projects in a major roll out of projects within the next few weeks.
In the UK this will be with Mytum and Selby Recycling at South Milford in Yorkshire. This project will initially be converting 300,000 tonnes per year, dry weight, of recovered biomass (or biowaste) from municipal solid waste to make over 90 million litres of the biofuel ethanol. It is scheduled for completion in 2012. This will be followed almost immediately with an even larger plant near Goole to convert 500,000 tonnes of biomass, again from municipal solid waste, to make up to 150 million litres of ethanol by 2013/14.
Another plant which I understand will be privately financed is awaiting final acceptance for land apportionment is scheduled for Malta. This again will be using around 260,000 tonnes per year of recovered biomass to make over 85 million litres of biofuel ethanol. In Holland a GeneSyst project started 14 months ago and which got caught up in the banking crisis is now rescheduled to start after Easter. This project will be converting 230,000 tonnes per year of biomass from municipal and farm wastes to make over 50 million litres of ethanol by 2012.
In the wider arena, GeneSyst facilities will also be starting in the early spring in Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh City), Kentucky and Israel.
The programme here, though, is different to that discussed in the interview, as it uses a process known as Dilute Acid Hydrolysis – a procedure first developed in the 19th century and through the Great Wars of the 20th century but which languished due to lack of development. Under the GeneSyst development formulated by its founding engineer, James Titmas from the USA (now under development in the UK and Europe and beyond), it has been upgraded and improved using its internationally-patented Gravity Pressure Vessel.
This means that the process is now continuous and requires no pumping or external heating and occupies a small footprint. By this innovative development the procedure uses standard off-the-shelf equipment from the water industry and traditional fermentation equipment. This means that the process is able to convert any biomass to the biofuel ethanol regardless of source and regardless of the mix – placing particular emphasis on using non-food crops. Thus it includes the biomass we throw away from society like that from municipal solid waste, food and drinks production, industry and commerce and from crops damaged by climate and seasonal factors as well as from disease. Importantly it also includes that contained in sewage sludge.
This means that the biofuel ethanol (or indeed butanol and others) can be produced locally at the market place at a price comparable to producing ethanol from sugar crops and from starch-rich grains and food crops.
Furthermore, because the process is water-based, it emits no odours, particulates or dust and even the carbon dioxide produced can be captured or diverted to grow farmed algae. Perhaps most significantly, here is a programme that has a low capital cost, which betters by far the destructive processes that have caused so much concern, and which can compete with existing landfill costs: surely isn’t that what taxpayers want to hear from waste managers.
So let’s state it again in a more positive and clearer statement: Biofuels from waste will avoid the use of landfill.Author : Letters to the EurActiv editor