Oct 23, 2009
Second-generation biofuels on the brink of commercial breakthrough, says studyBack
© Reuse this
Developments in the pretreatment and gasification of biofeedstock through discrete hydrolysis and fermentation, and gasification and catalytic synthesis have the potential to reduce the production costs of second-generation biofuels.
The use of second-generation biofeedstock, such as agricultural residue, forest residue and black liquor, is currently limited to power generation in combined heat and power (CHP) plants or regeneration units. Second-generation biofeedstock has, however, been extensively researched as a potential source of liquid fuels for transportation. Over time, technological advances are expected to make these second-generation biofuels commercially viable.
“The use of second-generation biofuels is expected to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases (GHG), particularly carbon dioxide (CO2), from combustion engines by 80% to 85% in comparison with conventional fossil fuels. The lifecycle emissions for second-generation biofuels are in the negative range, which implies consumption of CO2 rather than emission,” notes Frost & Sullivan senior research analyst Phani Raj Kumar Chinthapalli.
Major automotive companies are investigating the environmental benefits of second-generation biofuels. They are looking at reducing emission levels while remaining competitive with the use of corn or maize that can be deployed as biofeedstock for transportation fuels.
Climate change related to GHG emissions is a concern for many companies, and many industries are attempting to achieve sustainability across their value chains.
“In addition to supporting energy efficient processes in industries, second-generation biofeedstock and the technologies used to convert them into bio- fuels are expected to lower GHG emissions in the transportation sector,” he adds. “The commercial production of second-generation biofuels is poised to reach five-billion gallons a year by the end of 2015.”
Current demonstration second- generation biofuel plants are using single biofeedstock sources, which are either forest residue or agricultural residue, to name a few. However, it will take some time before the supply chains of these different feedstock sources are better established.
“The future of biofuel plants will lie in effectively converting multiple feedstock into biofuels. These multiple feedstock supplies must constantly be replenished and the technology should optimally convert the entire range of economically viable second-generation biofeedstock,” he cautions.
He notes that second-generation biofuels will slowly, but surely, have an impact on energy share globally; however, this impact may not be significant in the short term. Unless technology winners introduce large-scale plants at an affordable rate, such change is unlikely to occur until the end of 2017.
Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other Climate Change News
Article contains comments
A trading demonstration has showcased the applicability, functionality, utility and readiness of the well-established, commercial and financial electronic infrastructure provided by private-sector commodity registry Silocerts and the JSE as a potential platform for...
International consulting engineering company Royal HaskoningDHV (RHDHV) has appointed Salani Sithole as South African MD, effective March 1. Sithole has been with the company for six years and, prior to joining RHDHV, held various positions in engineering consulting,...
Recent Research Reports
Construction 2015: A review of South Africa’s construction sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Construction 2015 Report examines South Africa’s construction industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the business environment; the key participants in the sector; local construction demand; geographic diversification;...
Liquid Fuels 2014 - A review of South Africa's Liquid Fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2014 Report examines these issues, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing, competition in the sector, the...
Water 2014: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2014 report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context, but also in the African and global context, and examines the issues of water and sanitation, water quality and the demand for water, among others.
Defence 2014: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Defence 2014 report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key participants in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial multibillion-rand...
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move road...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
This Week's Magazine
National flag carrier South African Airways (SAA) is in an advanced stage of renegotiating its deal with European airliner manufacturer Airbus to acquire A320 single-aisle (or narrow body) aircraft. The aim is to replace ten of the aircraft still on order with five...
Worldwide, the main thrust in the ports industry over the past decade or more has been to increase efficiency. Traditionally, ports have been run by engineers and mariners and, in the past, increasing a port’s capacity was achieved by expanding the harbour. “That has...
What do you do when an elephant has a toothache? You call Dr Gerhard Steenkamp from the University of Pretoria’s (UP’s) faculty of veterinary science, Onderstepoort, one of only two elephant ‘dentists’ in the world.
The 2015 Sanlam/Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year (EOY) competition was launched earlier this month in Johannesburg, with the main focus on creating and inspiring entrepreneurs to create jobs and boost the economy.
In a recent letter to the editor that I sent to Engineering News (Concerns regarding South African portion of Square Kilometre Array) and in a follow-up article elaborating further (We must start preparations to build our own synchrotron light source), I stated my...