See Algae Technology wins Brazilian innovation of the year award

By Green Power Conferences | September 18, 2012

Industry collaboration and advanced, nonfood feedstocks were the themes today as the winners of the Annual Brazilian Bioenergy Awards were announced at  the 2012 World Biofuels Markets Brazil conference & exhibition in São Paulo. The awards, which recognize excellence in the field of Brazilian biofuels and biomass-to-power, included Brazilian Bioenergy Innovation of the Year winners See Algae Technology GmbH and Grupo JB and the Brazilian Bioenergy Deal of the Year winners GraalBio, Beta Renewables, DSM and Novozymes.

“Today we are recognizing two collaborative efforts that will make significant economic and environmental impacts across Brazil, and even the world, through the production of biofuels using the next generation feedstocks of microalgae and agricultural waste,” said Nadim Chaudhry, CEO of Green Power Conferences, organizer of the awards and conference. “With more than 40 high-quality entries, these awards are sending a clear signal that the Brazilian bioenergy industry is making great progress, often times through innovative collaborations, to find efficient, sustainable solutions to future global energy needs.”            

 This year’s esteemed winners are:

Brazilian Bioenergy Innovation of the Year

See Algae Technology GmbH and Grupo JB

The award recognizes a major step forward the in development of the world's first industrial plant producing biofuels from microalgae by utilizing waste carbon dioxide (CO2) from a sugarcane ethanol plant. Planned for construction in the north-eastern Brazilian state of Pernambuco starting late this year and becoming fully operational next September, the plant is to be set up by Austrian firm See Algae Technology on a sugar cane plantation run by major Recife-based producer, Grupo JB.

To enhance the microalgae’s photosynthetic growth, the $10 million facility will utilize waste CO2 emitted at the sugar cane ethanol plant onsite at Grupo JB’s plantation, providing the double benefit of producing biofuels while reducing emissions. The group anticipates the plant will annually produce 1.2 million liters (317,000 gallons) of algae oil for conversion into biodiesel and 1,100 tons of protein-rich algae biomass for the local cattle industry or, if operated with genetically engineered algae strains, up to 2.2 million liters (580,000 gallons) of ethanol.

The project’s goal is to make use of the strong CO2 emissions lost in the sugar cane ethanol production. Initially, the algae-based biofuel facility will use 5 percent of the emissions from the sugarcane ethanol process but it is expected that the proportion will be significantly increased over time.

It is anticipated that this innovative application of aquatic biomass technology to the Brazilian sugarcane industry will be a major boost for the commercialization of microalgae-based biofuels worldwide.

Brazilian Bioenergy Deal of the Year

GraalBio, Beta Renewables, DSM and Novozymes

This award recognizes a four-company collaboration to produce cellulosic ethanol, initially from widely available sugarcane bagasse and straw. In May, new Brazilian bioenergy company, GraalBio, announced plans to start production in December 2013 of an 82 MMly (22 MMgy) advanced biofuels plant in the Brazilian state of Alagoas. The plant will utilize the Proesa technology platform developed by Italian firm Beta Renewables, with Novozymes supplying the necessary enzyme technology and DSM the industrial yeasts.

The GraalBio plant will be the first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant in Brazil and the entire Southern Hemisphere. Therefore, despite strong competition from a number of the other projects, this deal represents a particularly important milestone as Brazil moves beyond its well-established first-generation production and begins to utilize its enormous amounts of recoverable biomass.

The Brazilian Bioenergy Awards were presented as part of the World Biofuels Markets Brazil, Sept. 18-19 in São Paulo, which features more than 400 Brazilian and International bioenergy leaders to discuss timely themes including aviation biofuels, oil majors’ role in the industry, advanced ethanol production, agricultural sustainability, biochemicals and bioplastics, and alternative feedstocks.  The co-located Biomass Power Generation Brazil conference examines the potential of biomass-fired power and bioelectricity generation across Brazil. 


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