290 million Danish kroner for ethanol project

08.07.2014 00:00

Maabjerg Energy Concept has been granted DKK 290 million in EU aid. A crucial step towards realisation.

The plans to build a large factory for the production of second generation bioethanol between the Danish cities of Holstebro and Struer are now much closer to realisation as the Maabjerg Energy Concept has just been granted EU aid from the NER300 programme in the form of a performance guarantee of approximately DKK 290 million.


Henrik Maimann, Vice President in DONG Energy, said: "The commitment to aid is very positive news and a seal of approval of the project from the EU. It's a crucial step on the way towards realisation, but we're not there yet."


The project entails both a full-scale Inbicon plant producing second generation bioethanol, the existing Maabjerg CHP plant and a biogas plant. In this way, Maabjerg Energy Concept will be the first plant in the world to fully exploit synergies and resources for the simultaneous production of heat, electricity, gas based on renewable energy and transport fuel.


No popping of corks yet

But the Maabjerg Energy Concept consortium, consisting of DONG Energy, Novozymes and energy companies in the north-west of Jutland, will wait a bit before popping the corks.


Jørgen Udby, Chairman of the consortium, explained: "The EU aid is important. However, we have to make sure that we can sell the 80 million litres of second generation bioethanol that we expect to produce. This necessitates a political requirement that petrol is mixed with a certain minimum quantity of second generation bioethanol."


Udby continued: "But also in this area, we've moved a step closer as the Council of Ministers has just passed a requirement that our petrol must be mixed with at least 0.5 % second generation bioethanol. And we know that a number of EU countries are very close to stipulating higher national requirements. We hope that Denmark will do so, too."


The MEC parties are in the process of completing the final business plan 3.0 and also in this area there are good news as the parties have again managed to improve the financial aspects of the project. Consequently, only two outstanding issues remain - the adoption of a Danish mixture requirement and a recognition of the fact that the project can be realised as an overall heat supply project.


If the final framework conditions of the project fall into place within a foreseeable future, Maabjerg Energy Concept can initiate the construction of the bioethanol factory in 2015 and begin production in 2017.


Text: Carsten Birkeland Kjær