Non-food Ethanol Will Become A Hot Spot for New Energy Development

On June 7, a conference on renewable energy held by China’s State Council required that China must follow three no-no’s while developing biofuel ethanol: no arable land should be occupied, no food should be consumed, and no ecological environment should be damaged.

According to China’s Medium and Long-term Development Plan for Renewable Energy, the annual production capacity of fuel ethanol will reach 10 million tons by 2025. China’s National Development and Reform Commission said in December last year that domestic companies had applied to build more than 10 million tons of annual ethanol production capacity. 2001, China’s corn industrial processing conversion consumed only 12.5 million tons of corn, which increased to more than 23 million tons in 2005, an increase of 84%, while corn production only increased by 21.9% during the same period, far below the rate of industrial processing capacity expansion. 2001 In 2005, this proportion had risen to 76%.

With corn, wheat and other food processing raw materials for fuel ethanol projects have been launched. Experts believe that China’s demand for food raw materials is increasing day by day, bringing heavy pressure on the supply of raw materials such as corn, and prices are also rising significantly. Statistics show that the price per ton of corn in Jilin province, one of China’s major corn producers, has risen from less than 1,000 yuan in early 2005 to about 1,500 yuan now.

According to China’s policy of stopping “corn ethanol” projects, some regions have started to adjust the direction of development. Some non-food ethanol projects have become hot spots for development.

A cassava-based fuel ethanol production base with an annual production capacity of 400,000 tons of fuel ethanol has been started in Guangxi, China. Guangxi intends to start a plan to make fuel ethanol from cassava. in the second half of 2007, all gas stations in Guangxi are expected to use ethanol gasoline. It is also planned to supply to Yunnan, Guizhou, Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao. During the “Eleventh Five-Year Plan” period, Guangxi plans to reach 1 million tons of fuel ethanol production capacity. Meanwhile, Guangxi Light Industry Research Institute cooperates with COFCO to produce ethanol from sugar cane.

Guangdong cassava and sugar cane as raw materials to produce automotive fuel ethanol project started. The first phase of investment of 686 million yuan, designed to produce 500,000 tons of fuel ethanol per year. Gansu is working with China’s Chinese Academy of Sciences Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry to study potato refining ethanol technology. And to establish a local industrialization demonstration base. Shandong and the Institute of Process Engineering of the Chinese Academy of Sciences have jointly launched a demonstration project of straw fermentation for fuel ethanol production. In Hengshui, Hebei, a 300,000-ton capacity fuel ethanol production plant using sweet potato as raw material is under construction.

Jilin Fuel Ethanol Co., Ltd. is building a 3,000-ton cellulosic ethanol production plant to be put into operation this year. The company is also researching and developing fuel ethanol production technology using sweet sorghum as a raw material. COFCO’s cellulosic ethanol production plant with Denmark will soon be put into operation in Zhao Dong, Heilongjiang. Henan Tianguan Group an annual output of 300 tons of ethanol pilot production line has been completed and put into operation, plans to build a 1,000-ton cellulosic ethanol production line within the year.

Compared to corn and other food raw materials, cassava, sweet potato, sugar cane and other non-food ethanol can avoid competing with people for food though. However, the current degree of industrialization of non-food ethanol is not yet high. Some industry insiders said that, at present, although a variety of crops can be developed as energy crops, but really can achieve large-scale commercial development of only a few corn, sugar cane and so on.

A researcher at the Chinese Academy of Sciences believes that cassava, sweet potato and sugar cane are still in their infancy when it comes to serving as fuel ethanol. There are still some problems with collection, storage and transportation. In addition, the contradiction between the seasonality of the production of these crops and the continuity of industrial production is also a major factor limiting the development of non-food ethanol.

A researcher at the Institute of Microbiology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences said that there is no problem with the straw ethanol manufacturing technology itself, but its utilization rate is low. He believes that although China’s straw production is high, but the utilization rate of straw, conversion rate is very low. The biggest gap between China and foreign countries in terms of fuel ethanol technology is the utilization rate of straw. Chinese domestic fuel ethanol producers should accelerate the conversion technology and production process.

2022-10-20T09:42:47+00:00 October 20th, 2022|Tags: |