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New Technologies
Abengoa Bioenergy’s mission is to develop and implement technological solutions through Science and Innovation, in order to provide tools for Sustainable Development.
With Abengoa Bioenergy’s mission as an starting point, the company applies innovative effort to the whole chain of value of its products.
Raw Materials
Raw materials account for 60% to 70% of the production cost of biofuels and, during their lifecycles, between 30% and 40% (according to Concawe) of GHG emissions. Because of this, programs are being developed with the following objectives:
• To reduce the economic and environmental impacts of raw materials used for biofuel production.
• To identify and develop alternative species for the use of first and second generation production technologies.
• To evaluate the potential of other resources such as forest, industrial and farming waste.
• To evaluate the use of different cereal varieties obtained from different types of seeds.
Production
First-generation technologies
The company has improved the bioethanol production process in all pilot plants, with the result that the ethanol/cereal output is increased, following an EBIDTA evaluation model.
At the same time, it is experimenting with new enzymes, to evaluate the improvement in output and reduction in impacts that it may obtain. So as to guarantee development and application of improvements, Abengoa Bioenergy has developed a document management and standardization system which.
Second-generation technologies
For the use of new raw materials as sources of carbon, the company is focusing its efforts on enzyme hydrolysis and gasification and catalysis processes. In relation to the first process, a simulation model based on Aspen Plus has been developed (chemical processes simulation software), to study ligno-cellulosic biomass fractionation and conversion, which was used as the basis for the design of a hybrid production plant proposed to the US Department of Energy.
Also, in July 2007, the construction of a biomass pilot plant in York was finished, where, in September of this year, the first batch of ethanol from wheat straw was produced. The company is currently optimizing the operation units in order to have the necessary information for the design of a biomass plant on an industrial scale in Hugoton. In relation to the gasification process, this year the following efforts have been carried out:
• Launch of the catalyst research programs, included in the I+DEA (Automotive Ethanol Research & Development) project;
• Design of the sustainability model for the thermo-chemical process (technical-economic and environmental);
• Begin of work, in Spain, on projects on the use of forest biomass waste;
• A gasification plant for steam production (a plant integrated into a biomass-based ethanol production plant) was designed.
In order to develop a catalyst suitable for the conversion of synthesis gas to ethanol, this year was launched an ambitious program on which existing catalysts combine with new technologies and catalytic system concepts. the processes are also being modeled to be used as a basis for the development of new technologies.
 
 
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