Austrian plant opens to pilot BDI's Biocrack biomass diesel tech

By Ron Kotrba | July 02, 2012

On July 2 BDI-BioEnergy International AG, formerly known as BDI-BioDiesel International, and partner OMV Aktiengesellschaft celebrated the opening of a plant in the northeastern Austrian town of Schwechat to pilot BDI’s Biocrack technology. The facility converts biomass such as wood chips and straw into diesel fuel.

The process entails heating biomass with heavy oil to about 400 degrees Celsius, making diesel fuel with up to 20 percent biomass content. The Biocrack pilot plant is directly connected with the other units of the OMV refinery in Schwechat, and the final diesel product processed there meet EN590 standards.

OMV is one of the largest listed industrial companies in Austria with group sales of more than €34 billion and a workforce of 29,800. In exploration and production, OMV is active in two core countries, Romania and Austria, and holds a balanced international portfolio. Proven crude oil and natural gas reserves at year-end 2011 were approximately 1.13 billion barrels of oil equivalent, and daily production was approximately 288,000 barrels of oil equivalent in 2011. In refining and marketing, OMV has an annual refining capacity of 22.3 million tons by the end of 2011 and about 4,500 gas stations in 13 countries including Turkey.

OMV and BDI have jointly pursued this Biocrack pilot plant development since 2009, with the support of the Austrian Federal Ministry and Climate and Energy Fund.

“The European fuel market is facing major challenges,” said Gerhard Roiss, OMV CEO. “With the increasing demand for diesel and increasing the renewable share in the fuel sector to at least 10 percent by 2020, traditional first-generation biofuels are not a long-term solution because of the growing values ​​of the necessary raw materials is always in competition with food production." He said the partnership with BDI to develop its Biocrack technology is a response to these changing conditions.

“The world has high expectations in second-generation biofuels,” said Doris Bures, Austrian Minister for Transport, Innovation and Technology, who helped celebrate the occasion, “so this new technology and the pilot plant could be a real pioneering effort of domestic companies and researchers.”

Edgar Ahn, BDI board member, said the goal of the project has been to develop a rather technically simple and inexpensive small-scale commercial technology to increase diesel fuel availability—and the biomass portion of it.

“This creates a completely new perspective for more effective utilization of refineries and more economical use of the valuable oil resources,” added Roiss.

The companies expect that by mid-2014, the new process at the Schwechat refinery site will be fully tested and ready for market.

A grant from the Austrian Climate Energy Fund of €2 million under research and technology program New Energies 2020 helped fund the pilot plant development.

BDI is a market and technology leader in the construction of tailor-made biodiesel plants using its proprietary, patented multifeedstock process. It has built more than 30 biodiesel plants across the globe. 


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