Lignofuels 2015, Madrid

ACI’s sixth annual Lignofuels summit 2015 kicks off today in Madrid in Spain.

The event brings together key industry stakeholders to discuss policy frameworks and innovative, commercial technologies in the production of lignofuels.

GIS Director, Roland Jansen, our biomass expert, will be one of the speakers in session two which will discuss European Dynamics for 2G Biofuels.

As part of his contribution Roland will cover the following:

  • 2014 was the hottest year since mankind started measuring temperatures;
  • Import and export of biomass in the USA, UK, Canada, Italy, Germany and Spain;
  • The influence of currency and commodity prices on the cost of wood pellets and wood chips;
  • Risks: Fire and Explosion Prevention;
  • Sustainability: Sustainable Biomass Partnership – CO2 emission reporting;
  • Green Bonds;
  • Greenis’ Clean Green Bond;
  • Investment Projects.

We look forward to hearing from Roland on his views of the summit and the developments in the lignofuel field in a future post.



Following on the biofuel theme we found this interesting post…

Biogas: smells like a solution to our energy and waste problems

By Bernadette McCabe, University of Southern Queensland

Could what we flush down the toilet be used to power our homes? Thanks to biogas technology, Australia’s relationship with organic waste – human and animal excreta, plant scraps and food-processing waste – is changing, turning waste into a commercial source of renewable energy.

A recent report  suggests that Australia produces about 20 million tonnes of organic waste per year from domestic and industrial sources. This in turn accounts for a large portion of national greenhouse gas emissions. Manure from livestock industries alone accounts for 22 Mt of carbon dioxide equivalents.

Organic waste, when broken down by bacteria, produces a methane-rich “biogas” that can be used to generate electricity and heat.

According to one estimate, if all the organic waste from Australian domestic, industrial and agricultural industries was treated in biogas plants, it would have the potential to produce around 650 megawatts of electricity. That’s enough to power almost one million Australian homes.

How it works

Getting the process right can be tricky but the science is simple: fill an airtight tank known as an anaerobic (oxygen-free) digester with slurry made from biological waste, then let the bacteria get to work to produce a methane-rich gas that can be used to generate electricity and heat.

Use what you need to power your pumps, motors and circuitry, and sell the rest back to the grid so that in as little as five years you recoup what you’ve outlaid on your biogas plant.

Renewable energy provided 14.8% of Australian electricity generation during 2013. Bioenergy totalled 7% of this, with biogas contributing to about 2.0% of the share of total renewable electricity capacity. In comparison, wind stands at 26% while solar power is 11%. The bioenergy industry expects biogas could be more important than solar, and as important as wind. The remainder of Australian bioenergy comes mostly from the combustion of sugarcane waste, also known as bagasse.

The majority of biogas plants in Australia – upwards of 50 – are associated with municipal waste treatment facilities. Commercial operations include Melbourne Water and Sydney Water, which use sewage as their biogas feedstock.

Low-cost options emerge

The slow uptake of the technology, particularly in the intensive livestock industries, has been due to the difficult financial environment, policy uncertainty and grid connectivity.

Covered anaerobic lagoons, sometimes called ponds, are the preferred type of digester for Australian agricultural industries – they are a low-cost option which performs well under our warmer conditions with minimal maintenance.

The technology has attracted a lot of attention in the pork industry over the past 10 or so years with Berrybank, near Ballarat, and Blantyre Farms at Young using piggery waste as their major feedstock.

Abattoirs, dairies and poultry farms are also investing in biogas technology as they look for a means of solving their waste and odour problems as well as reducing their carbon footprints, not to mention their electricity and natural gas bills.

The uptake of this technology has produced significant energy savings and environmental improvements for red-meat processing plants such as the JBS Dinmore facility and the AJ Bush Beaudesert rendering plant, both located in South-East Queensland.

The recent installation of covered anaerobic lagoons by Oakey Beef Exports and Darling Downs Fresh Eggs demonstrates the huge potential to adopt biogas technology in one of Australia’s key livestock-producing and food-processing regions.

ARENA puts Australia in global talks

Interest in using biological feedstock including manure has encouraged the Federal Government’s Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) to fund Australia’s involvement in the International Energy Association’s (IEA) Bioenergy Task 37: Energy from Biogas.

This funding, secured through the industry-funded body Bioenergy Australia, means Australia can sit at a table of global representatives to look at what is going right and what is going wrong in biogas production systems around the world.

Part of Bioenergy Australia’s involvement in Task 37 is to look at which Australian industries are hurting the most through waste disposal problems and huge power bills, and where it is feasible for biogas to turn that around.

If we get it right, biogas could be making a significant contribution to Australia’s Renewable Energy Target (RET) to deliver a 20% share for renewables in Australia’s electricity mix in 2020.

Bioenergy Australia’s aim is less concrete: that by 2020, bioenergy will be recognised and widely adopted as a sustainable resource in Australia.

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Read the original article.

What is a lignofuel?

This was the question I posed for myself after reading about an event called Lignofuels 2015 in Madrid this week. Foolishly I thought a quick visit to Google and the worldwide web and I would have the answer.

But no, it was not as simple as that; I could find lists of events where lignofuels were meta tagged, or formed the title, but no straightforward answer. So, I posed the question in different ways to try and find a definitive Wikipedia, or similar, definition that I could reference and use as the basis to answer my question. But no matter how I posed the question the results were always the same – lots of event titles but no definition that neatly summarised ‘A lignofuel is xxx…’

So, after trawling through at least 20 pages of Google search results and optimistic viewings of related web sites I decided to ask GIS’s Biomass expert, Roland Jansen, about this term and he gave me the literal answer – ligno is Latin for wood therefore lignofuels means fuels from wood – I should have spoken to Roland earlier and studied latin…

In my search the closest I had found to a definition was posts about Lignocellulosic biomass on wikipedia (  and a WordPress blog on lignofuels (see link below).

Having read a little around the subject in my search for a definition my interest was piqued by lignocellulose so I continued down this route as a related extension to my original question. Lignocellulose is a term that refers to dry plant matter, which I had known as biomass, or to be more specific I should now know as lignocellulosic biomass; the most abundantly available raw material on Earth for the production of bio-fuels such as bio-ethanol.

I also learnt that there is a lot of research being undertaken at the moment to release the potential of lignocellulose to maximise its efficiency as a fuel. Much revolves around disconnecting the lignin from the cellulose to allow the sugars in the cellulose to ferment into a biofuel. Further detail on how that works is beyond my basic chemistry to add any value to what has already been written so if you are interested in further information this can be found on the wikipedia page above and from

However, as part of my research into lignofuels this morning I also watched a video about a Volvo project to fuel trucks using a bio-fuel called Dimethyl Ether (DME) – the results are very promising and show the potential for alternatives to fossil fuels and I look forward to more developments in this field and a day when our reliance on petrol and diesel will change.

Volvo reference: