Saturday, September 17, 2011

China and biofuels

From a post by JOHN C. K. DALY :

PetroChina, a traditional hydrocarbon company, is clearly thinking outside the box to increase its alternative energy portfolio.

According to PetroChina’s Petrochemical Research Institute deputy chief engineer Fu Xingguo, China is looking at generating 933,000 tons annually of fuel ethanol and 165,000 tons of biodiesel.

According to Fu, China is looking to import biofuel from countries such as Brazil, the world’s largest producer of ethanol, which will then be blended with regular hydrocarbon-derived traditional fuels and sold to southern Chinese provinces.

**Separately, BusinessWeek discusses a proposed IPO by Mascoma:

Mascoma produces genetically modified yeast and bacteria that produce enzymes to break down plant sugars and ferment them into ethanol. The process combines enzymatic digestion and fermentation into a single step and eliminates the need for purchasing enzymes. This is less expensive than other manufacturing methods, according to the filing. (...)

Oil refiner Valero Energy Corp. in January agreed to invest as much as $50 million in the company's first $350 million plant and will buy all of the fuel produced at the Kinross, Michigan, facility. It is expected to begin production in 2013 and will produce 40 million gallons (151.5 million liters) a year. It is also planning a second facility in Drayton Valley, Alberta.

The Canadian organic food supplier SunOpta Inc. is Mascoma's largest shareholder, with a 20.6 percent stake. Mascoma paid $51 million in September for SunOpta's BioProcess unit, which developed a system to break down organic material into components that can be converted into biofuels.


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