GBEV – Workshop Second Generation Biodiesel

On the 10th of March 2008 there was a  seminar on the second generation biodiesel at Het Pand, Ghent. It was organised by the Ghent Bioenergy Vally, a consortium which wants to stimulate growth in bioenergy in the Ghent region.

The host was Prof. dr. ir. W. Soetaert, who emphasised that the first generation biofuels clears the way for the second generation. What this really ment became clear during the lectures. First generation biofuels compete with edible crops, and are often not sustainable, nor economically viable. Second generation biofuels include non edible crops such as Jatropha curcas or algae oil and therefore don’t compete with food production. The third generation of biofuels based on hydrogen should start at 2030.

This was the schedule for this evening:

• Wim De Greyt – Desmet-Ballestra:
New technologies for the conversion of alternative resources to sustainable ‘second generation’ biodiesel. –

A very interesting presentation on the general aspects of second generation biodiesel. He added some useful yield/hectare data.

  • Soybean: 0,4 tonnes oil/ha.year
  • Rapeseed: 0,8 tonnes oil/ha.year
  • Jathropha: 1-1,5 tonnes oil/ha.year
  • Palmoil: 4 tonnes oil/ha.year
  • Algae: an estimate of 10-25 tonnes oil/ha.year

• Frans Goudriaan – Biofuel NV:
HTU® Diesel from wet wastestreams –
(pdf) (dutch)

The presentator explained the HTU process his company was developping and implementing. When you heat organic material such as wood to 300-350°C at a pressure of 120-180 bar in the presence of water for 5-20 minutes, you’ll get a mixture of 45% biocrude (raw organic oil), 25% gas (90% CO2, 10% CO), 20% H2O and 10% dissolved organics (acetic acid, …). The biocrude has an energetic value of 30-35MJ/kg (compared to biomass: 18 MJ/kg, coal: 25 MJ/kg, and raw oil: 40-45 MJ/kg).

This process is pretty fascinating. In the picture below, you a see match in a tube. This tube is heated to 300°C and a photograph is taken every minute. You see the match is being desintegrated into a brown fluid within 5 minutes. During this you see the volume increase and the match shrink. The brown liquid formed in the process is biocrude.

• Prof. Wolter Prins – BTG- Universiteit Twente – UGent:
The possible use of fast pyrolysis in the production of biofuels –

Pyrolysis is the heating of dry organic material to a temperature of 500°C in anaerobic conditions. This generates a complex mixture of organic molecules which can be condensed into an energy rich liquid. He mentioned the advantages this system can have on a local scale.

• Henk Joos – D1 Oils Plant Science:
Jatropha curcas, an alternative source for biodiesel production –

Henk Joos is a geneticist currently researching Jatropha curcas L. (note the L. should not be in italics). Jatropha curcas is a bush which produces fruits containing 4-5 seeds of 2 cm. These seeds contain 40% oil, which is built of 60% mono unsaturated fatty acids. The plant can be grown around 30° North and 30° South.

His company researches which cultivars should be used in which regions. He was very realistic in his speech and emphasised that the expectations about Jatropha should be viewed critically. The ‘environmental elasticity’ (i.e. at which site and at which soil Jatropha grows well) is part of his research. Currently they cooperate with Shell to plant 70 millions Jatropha plants at the end of 2008.

• Prof. Chris Stevens & Prof. Roland Verhé – UGent:
Biodiesel production from non-edible oils and fats –

Part of the research was about the topic ‘which non edible oil can be converted to biodiesel’. They used used cooking oils (used at 190°C), animal fat from dead non-edible cows (rendac), and some other oil species. A technical outlie on the chemistry and production of biodiesel.



One Response to “GBEV – Workshop Second Generation Biodiesel”

  1. Douglas Blackwell Says:

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