World's largest commercial 2nd generation biofuel plant up and running

Farmsum, The Netherlands – July 14, 2009 - After extensive testing and commissioning, BioMCN has successfully started up its 200 kton per annum bio-methanol facility. A proud Rob Voncken, CEO, says: “Although we are still ramping up to reach full bio-methanol capacity, the plant has been running well for a couple of weeks now. As with any large engineering project based on a new technology we are going through a learning curve. Nevertheless the project is well on track and market interest is high”.

Bio-methanol is chemically identical to regular methanol. It can therefore be used to produce ‘green’ alternatives for all existing methanol markets, with day to day products for the construction, automotive and many other industries.

 

Primary focus in fuel applications

The primary market focus for BioMCN, however, is in fuel applications like bio-MTBE, DME, hydrogen, biodiesel and gasoline blending. Producers of these fuel products are showing particular interest because bio-methanol qualifies as a second generation biofuel. Bio-methanol is made  from a residue (crude glycerine), thus avoiding potential issues with existing biofuels. Under the new EU Renewable Energy Directive, second generation biofuels shall be double counted, with the intention to stimulate demand for better biofuels.

Using bio-methanol as a fuel reduces energy consumption, and significantly reduces CO2 emissions at the same time. Bio-methanol is an attractive and versatile renewable biofuel, and is making an important contribution to reaching the renewable energy targets for transportation fuels in the European Union.

Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende was one of the first to experience what it is like to drive on bio-methanol, when BioMCN offered him the opportunity to fill up a Lotus Exige 270E Trifuel with bio-methanol made in its pilot plant in 2008.

Race driver Sandor van Es and navigator Arie Blokland made racing history this weekend, after winning first price with a Nissan 350Z during the Plus Rally sprint (Etten-Leur, NL) in the C8 class. The Nissan 350Z has been converted to be able to run on any mixture from 100% regular  gasoline up to 85% bio-methanol (M85).

 

Capacity expansion planned

Pre-engineering work for capacity expansion at its production site in the Netherlands should start after the summer holidays. “Despite the economic downturn we are committed to implement our strategy to convert our entire methanol producing capacity to bio-methanol”, states Mr. Voncken, who is confident that similar projects will also be started in the foreseeable future in other parts of the world. Expectations for bio-methanol are very high, which was highlighted by a recent visit of the Swedish King and Queen accompanied by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.

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