Bioethanol

Bioethanol – the environmentally-friendly fuel.

Ethanol is versatile: The alcohol which we are familiar with in alcoholic beverages can also be used as an organic fuel. In Europe, bioethanol is mainly manufactured from starch-rich cereal crops (wheat and corn) as well as from concentrated sugar beet juice, i.e. from plants grown locally. Bioethanol (not to be confused with biodiesel) is either used as a pure fuel or as an admixture to normal petrol. Double usage: The starch-rich components of the plants are used to make ethanol while the protein-rich components are used to make valuable animal feed.

 

Bioethanol ≠ biodiesel

Bioethanol is not biodiesel. Both are biogenic fuels made from biomass, i.e. vegetation or vegetable waste, and are used to power internal combustion engines in vehicles. While bioethanol in Europe is mainly made from starch-rich cereals such as wheat and corn, or from concentrated sugar beet juice, biodiesel is made from plant-based oils, mainly rapeseed (in Europe). Bioethanol can be admixed to petrol or even substitute petrol after modifications have been made to an engine. Biodiesel, on the other hand, is modified to mirror diesel in terms of its properties.

 

Bioethanol

Biodiesel

Bioethanol is a fuel made from the fermentation of carbohydrate-rich biomass such as sugar and starch, and has an alcohol content of at least 99% by volume, making it practically water-free.

Bioethanol can essentially be produced from any raw material that contains either sugar or starch. In Europe, the most important raw materials used to produce bioethanol include all crops containing starch, as well as concentrated sugar beet juice. In the USA, bioethanol is largely made from corn, while in tropical regions, particularly in Brazil, sugar cane has become the sole source of this fuel.

Biodiesel is a fuel made from vegetable oils or animal fats. In Europe, biodiesel is made primarily from rapeseed, with a small proportion coming from used cooking oil and animal fat. In other parts of the world, raw materials such as palm oil and soya are also used to produce biodiesel.

In line with legal admixture obligations, biodiesel is added to diesel and sold as 100% biodiesel at filling stations throughout Austria.

 

Bioethanol Produktion

Bioethanol production

As they grow, plants convert CO2 into starch or sugar and store these. When processed at the bioethanol facilities, this sugar in the plant-based materials is converted into alcohol. The production process, from the raw material to the end product bioethanol, takes several days and involves a number of stages.

Products and by products

Four out of one

The cereals used in the production of bioethanol at the Pischelsdorf site are fully utilised. In addition to bioethanol, protein-rich animal feed, wheat starch and highly refined CO2 are also produced. The maths is convincing: A single commodity is converted in Pischelsdorf into four valuable products which utilise 100% of the commodities used.

Bioethanol

Bioethanol

Bioethanol (not to be confused with biodiesel) is a fuel made from the alcoholic fermentation of carbohydrate-rich biomass. It has an alcohol content of at least 99 % by volume, making it practically water-free. In Europe, bioethanol is mainly manufactured from starch-rich cereal crops (wheat and corn) as well as from concentrated sugar beet juice, i.e. from plants grown locally.

Bioethanol can be used as a petrol substitute (after engine modifications have been made) or admixed to conventional petrol. Due to a legal substitution obligation, petrol in Austria already contains 5 % bioethanol.

Besides bioethanol, the AGRANA product range also includes top-quality alcohols (ethanol) for use in the food, pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries.

 

Animal Feed

Animal Feed - Actiprot®

ActiProt® is a premium animal feed which is made mainly from wheat and corn as a by-product of the production of bioethanol. The best of the rest: The solid constituents left over from the production of ethanol, the so-called stillage, is dried and blended with the residual liquids which are thickened to the consistency of a syrup. This is then dried and pelleted to make animal feed. ActiProt® is guaranteed GMO-free and is a high-end animal feed made from locally grown materials. The volumes manufactured in Pischelsdorf are sufficient to substitute up to a third of the soy bean animal feed which currently needs to be imported.

Wheat starch and wheat gluten

Wheat starch and wheat gluten

Also wheat starch and wheat gluten for the food and animal feed industry are produced in a wheat starch plant at the Pischelsdorf site. The close integration of the wheat starch plant and the existing bioethanol facility allows the cereals to be processed in a particularly efficient manner. The raw materials otherwise left over as by-products of the manufacture of wheat starch and gluten are used in the manufacture of bioethanol and to produce the premium-grade, GMO-free, protein-rich animal feed ActiProt.

High-purity CO2

High-purity CO2 -
produced by Air Liquide

Even the biogenic CO2 stored in the plants prior to their processing and released in the course of the production of bioethanol will be collected and used by the industrial gas company AIR LIQUIDE. Around 100,000 tonnes of CO2 will be made available for industrial applications such as the production of carbonised beverages. The result is not only complete material utilisation but also a considerable saving in terms of fossil-based CO2 emissions.

Production sites

Pischelsdorf/Austria

Since 2008, AGRANA runs in Pischelsdorf, Lower Austria, Austrias only bioethanol fuel plant.

The site of the industrial estate in Pischelsdorf was selected in view of its location in the heart of the raw material production region, its excellent links to the Danube, roads and railway, as well as the ideal range of energy supply possibilities.

Every year, a total of around 250,000 m³ of bioethanol are produced at AGRANA’s facility in Pischelsdorf | Lower Austria – a quantity sufficient to cover all of Austria’s domestic requirements were E10 to be introduced. AGRANA currently exports around half of the bioethanol produced in Lower Austria, thereby giving away the potential CO2 savings Austria could fully make use of itself, rather than having to purchase expensive emission rights on the global market. The introduction of E10 in Austria would not require additional production capacity or land for cultivating crops – exports of bioethanol would simply be lower.

HUNGRANA plant in Szabadegyháza|HU

HUNGRANA Kft. in Szabadegyháza, in which AGRANA has a 50 percent stake, produceds isogluces and bioethanol in a combined starch processing plant with a nominal capacity of up to 187.000 m³ per year. Corn, corn gluten and live-stock feed are by-products of the process to produce isoglucose and bioethanol. Corn is the only raw material used by HUNGRANA. The bioethanol produced at the HUNGRANA plant is also used in line with the EU directive on the substitution of petrol.

Legislations

Legislation

EU

With the “Renewable Energies Directive” which came into effect in 2009, the EU prescribed mandatory blending rates for renewable energies in the transport sector. Their proportion is required to increase to 10 percent of the energy content in the transport sector in all member states by 2020.

Biofuels used for the purposes of reaching the EU emissions target must fulfil strict sustainability criteria in terms of the source and cultivation of the raw materials as well as in terms of the greenhouse gas reductions compared to fossil fuels; this compliance has to be established by means of a certification based on the ISCC Standard (International Sustainability & Carbon Certification).

In order to comply with the sustainability criteria of the ISCC Standard, biofuels must achieve greenhouse gas reductions throughout their life cycle equivalent to at least 35%, until the end of 2016, and, from January 2017, at least 50% when compared to fossil fuels in order to qualify as biofuels. There are also specific requirements in terms of the raw materials used in the production of bioethanol.

  • Raw materials must not be sourced from areas with a high degree of biodiversity (e.g. rainforests and moors)
  • Fertilisers and pesticides may only be used to a limited extent
  • End-to-end traceability must be ensured with regard to the origin of the raw materials used

Austria

Austria incorpoated the EU biofuels directive into its national legislation by amending the Austrian Ordinance on Automotive Fuels (Kraftstoffverordnung) to include an admixture obligation in November 2004. In line with the Austrian admixture obligation, 5.75 percent of the total energy content of all fuel used for transportation in Autria must be substituted by biofuel. In order to achieve the stipulated admixture targets, both biofuels, such as pure biodiesel and the environmentally friendly fuel SuperEthanol E85, and fuels such as diesel and petrol mixed with lower percentages of biofuels, are taken into account.

The Austrian admixture obligation in the transport sector of 5.75 percent of the fuels' energy content is currently achieved due to more biodiesel being mixed with diesel. At the moment, this amounts to a concentration of 6.25 percent (energetic; 7 percent by volume) biodiesel in diesel fuel dispensed at filling stations in Austria. Given that there is no standard in Austria for a five percent (energetic) admixture concentration of bioethanol to petrol, only around 3.4 percent (energetic) bioethanol (five percent by volume) is currently mixed with petrol.

Sustainability

Sustainability in bioethanol production

Bioethanol (not to be confused with biodiesel) burns largely CO2-neutral, as the plants absorb as much CO2 in their growth as their energetic utilization releases. In addition, bioethanol burns without soot and is sulfur-free.

The environment also benefits: Analyzes show that AGRANA bioethanol meets the EU's demand for reducing 50% greenhouse gas emissions over gasoline over its entire life cycle.


The process of considering the entire life cycle for bioethanol incorporates five key steps: