Canvassing for Opinion - aka "Blairs Brain on Cannabis"

IMHO prohibition sentiment requires inherent addiction to status quo, an incapacity to visualise beyond the here and now and a desperate desire to know others might feel the same... Reform is not revolutionary, rather it is evolutionary. Having survived banging your head against a brick wall the evolutionist relishes having stopped. / Blair

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Genesis pick up on Another Mildgreen Initiative

Genesis eyes basket willows for NZ ethanol plant

THURSDAY , 11 MAY 2006

Auckland-based biotech researchers are looking at producing ethanol and other products from plantations of a shrubby willow grown to be coppiced so that its re-growth is regularly harvested.

A biofuel company, Biojoule, has been set up as an offshoot of Genesis Research, and plans to have a trial plant producing ethanol for transport by next year.

The Government is setting up a legal framework for the use of petrol/ethanol blends.

If the willow refinery works as planned, it will be the start of commercial biofuels produced from crops in this country. But unlike countries such as the United States and Australia, where broadacre crops such as maize are used for producing ethanol, and Brazil, which relies on sugar cane, New Zealand will use cropped willow cuttings.

Genesis founder Jim Watson said yesterday the company was seeking to raise $5 million from private investors to build the pilot plant. The willows – a shrubby species developed in the north-west United States for craft businesses manufacturing willow baskets – are already growing on trial plots near Taupo.

An executive of the Lake Taupo Development Company growing the willow, Barry Delany, has said the coppiced willows can be harvested every three years.

The cane willow crop is a hardwood which will produce ethanol for transport – made from the 50 per cent of the wood which is cellulose. The remainder of the wood, will also be processed, to extract lignin that can be turned into plastics – replacing some of the reliance on oil-based plastics – and xylose, a natural sweetener which can be used by diabetics and does not cause tooth decay.

The trial plantation started with about 8000.

A Biojoule executive who attended the recent BIO2006 trade expo in Chicago said the company was getting yields of 11 to 16 tonnes of dry matter per hectare each year from the willow.

In New Zealand, Dr Watson has said growing tree crops such as cane willow on marginal land is likely to be most economic proposition for biofuel production from crops in New Zealand, and would not compete with land use for agriculture or timber production.

Other biofuel proposals have included converting waste tallow from meatworks to biodiesel, and for processing the "slash" waste from forestry to extract ethanol.

Timber waste broken down by heating it in the absence of oxygen produces carbon monoxide and hydrogen that can be further refined to give large volumes of methanol.

And ethanol can be recovered from wood and turned into an alcohol to be added to conventional petrol.

Fonterra's Edgecumbe dairy factory has also been distilling ethanol from waste whey to blend in petrol.

Fonterra successfully tested petrol mixed with 10 per cent ethanol in a 1.8-litre car. The blend provided by Gull Petroleum was approved by the Environmental Risk Management Authority (Erma).

The Edgecumbe ethanol plant produces 30,000 litres of ethanol a day and five million litres in a dairy season and Fonterra also produces ethanol at Reporoa and at Tirau.

(there is a remarkable congruenecy between the IP shared at a meeting held at the writers instigation at Aucklands Genesis Biotech and the end goal state here, except they have missed the all important 'economics' of production that is a feature of the Anderson solution. Xylose is without doubt, a highly useful by-product - the more we understant that micro-refinery 'by-products' add value to the energy stream the more important the materials handling (problem) will become dominant in the economics of production.)

Blair Anderson
ph (643) 389 4065

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