Rotterdam event features biofuels industry survey, awards

By Erin Voegele | March 21, 2012

Results of a survey of 100 leaders in the biofuels industry were released in mid-March at the World Biofuels Markets 2012 Congress & Expo in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. According to information released by the organization, trends identified by the survey include a shift to nonfood and waste feedstocks, large growth opportunities in Asia,  and the U.S. military and commercial aviation pushing for aviation biofuel development. Results of the survey also noted that government policy and high oil prices will be significant triggers for continued growth of the biofuels industry on a global basis.

According to information released by conference organizers, industry respondents were asked to identify which biomass feedstocks would prove to be the most promising in 2012. Just over a quarter of respondents named municipal solid waste, while 24 percent named nonfood energy crops like camelina and jatropha to characterize 2012. Slightly fewer, 20 percent, chose algae, with 17 percent of respondents identifying cellulosic biomass. A minority, 8 percent, named waste gas.

Regarding regional investment, nearly half of the respondents said they believed future investments in biofuels companies over the next decade would be centered in Asia. A respective 17 percent and 15 percent named Europe and North America. According to the event leaders, the survey also identified that global oil prices are the most significant driver of these investments. However, 27 percent noted that government mandates would be the most significant factor. In addition, nearly 70 percent of respondents also noted that the global aviation industry would be the most influential driver of future biofuels use.

Industry awards were also given out during the three-day event. DuPont was presented with the 2012 Sustainable Biofuels Award for Feedstock Innovation. The prize recognized DuPont Industrial Biosciences’ Stover Collection Project, which is a research and scale-up project. According to DuPont, the initiative is a collaborative endeavor that involves experts from DuPont’s Pioneer Hi-Bred business and Iowa State University that work in conjunction with custom harvest equipment manufacturers and more than 50 famers. The project focuses on gaining knowledge on the sustainable collection, transport and storage of corn stover feedstock. Now entering its third year, the project will expand to include up to 150 farmers and focus on collecting biomass to be used in DuPont’s proposed biorefinery in Nevada, Iowa.

“It is an honor to receive the 2012 Sustainable Biofuels Award for our Stover Harvest Collection Project,” said James Collins, president of DuPont Industrial Biosciences. “We recognize that a reliable, sustainable source of biomass is critical to the success of advanced biofuels. Our collaborative approach involving growers, researchers, environmental organizations and government ensures we’ll be able to meet the needs of the evolving market sustainably while creating new opportunities for rural America.”