2010 in Review

At present, Abengoa Bioenergy ranks as one of the leading biofuel producers in Europe, the United States and Brazil, with an annual production capacity of 830 Mgal (3,140 ML).

The Bioenergy business unit is currently reporting excellent levels of business, reflecting its standing as one of the world’s leading bioethanol producers and marketers. Production at existing plants is living up to the company’s best expectations, and the commissioning of new plants in the United States and the Netherlands has further strengthened the company’s critical mass. Furthermore, an increase in trading activity has led to greater control and management in accordance with the company’s strategy.

There is now a clear need for a change of practices and policies and various governments have already begun to act accordingly. Business performance depends largely on favorable legislation that facilitates the development of new technologies while enabling biofuel culture to expand and combat the obvious signs of climate change. 2009 turned out to be a very fruitful year in this respect.

Two new legislative acts were enacted on June 25th 2009 in order to consolidate and kick-start the biofuel market over the coming ten-year horizon. European Directive 2008/28/EC on renewable energy sources dictates that at least 10 % of transportation fuel within EU member states must be produced from renewable energies by 2020. The amendments made to Directive 2009/30/EC on fuel quality include an additional incentive for using biofuels by ushering in a compulsory reduction in greenhouse gas emissions during gasoline and diesel life cycles between 2011 and 2010.

Working in tandem, these two directives ensure the future of existing biofuel production plants and those currently under construction. At the same time, they provide a platform for long-term growth within the biofuel sector by harnessing current commercial technologies, and also offer special incentives and support for those attempting to develop the next generation of lignocellulosic technologies. All in all, they provide the market platform and the outlook for the coming decade that the sector was hoping for.

Legislation aimed at combating climate change has been a key aspect on the agenda of the US government over 2009 and 2010. The main objective is to reduce the GHG emissions generated by the transportation fuel sector. The main act currently championing the development of the bioethanol sector, and underpinning the RFS (Renewable Fuel Standards) and the rules and regulations governing production and biofuel implementation requirements, is the Energy Independence and Security Act, which was approved in 2007 and enacted in 2010.

The United States has also recently witnessed a number of important political changes. This has complicated the task of ushering in the required legislative changes and hindered existing policies on renewable energies and climate change. Although funds were indeed earmarked for incentives aimed at stimulating technology and the ethanol industry and to bring these advantages to end consumers, actual biofuel implementation has been slower than expected.

Against this backdrop, Abengoa Bioenergy has managed to harness the existing legislative framework and the biofuel markets, and has likewise been able to roll out its expansion plans over 2010, completing the bioethanol and biodiesel projects initiated in previous years in Spain, the Netherlands, the United States and Brazil, as well as cogeneration projects in Brazil to increase the overall performance of the plants already operating within the country.

Following the start-up of the company’s most recent plant in the Netherlands, Abengoa Bioenergy has, in a touch over ten years, climbed from an initial installed capacity of 40 Mgal (150 ML) to over 830 Mgal (3,140 ML) in 2010.

For Abengoa Bioenergy, 2010 was a year of consolidation and growth, with a wealth of success stories reported in the United States, Europe and Brazil. All objectives were met, with the company completing construction and commissioning of numerous projects underway, while exploring new paths to expansion and market penetration:

  • Commissioning with total loading of a plant in Mount Vernon, Indiana, capable of producing 90 Mgal (340 ML) of bioethanol and 230,000 t of DGS per year.
  • Commissioning with total loading of a plant in Madison, Illinois, capable of producing 90 Mgal (340 ML) of bioethanol and 230,000 t of DGS per year.
  • Start-up of a plant at the Europoort in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, capable of producing 127 Mgal (480 ML) of bioethanol and 360,000 t of DGS per year.
  • Commencement of maritime bioethanol exports from the United States.
  • Lease of a new 2.6 Mgal (10 ML) capacity storage terminal in Houston by Abengoa Bioenergy Trading US.
  • Abengoa Bioenergy initiates ethanol and DGS export activity by barge along the Mississippi and Ohio rivers.
  • Abengoa Bioenergy Netherlands starts up a system to load grain from the jetty at the Europoort, featuring a 600 m conveyor belt.
  • Promotion and expansion of a network of e85 biofuel service stations in Spain, which already boasts 21 distribution points.
  • Implementation of the STOP program, resulting in improvements to on-site work safety and staff performance.
  • Staging of the IX World Biofuels Conference.
  • Organization of the first Environment Week (SIMA) in Brazil.
  • €13.6 M subsidy granted by the Spanish Ministry for Science and Innovation as part of the CENIT program for the Sustainable Biorefinery Project.
  • Start-up of the Lignocellulosic Ethanol Demonstration (LED) project, funded by the European Commission and developed by a consortium of five companies from four different countries headed by Abengoa Bioenergy.
  • Involvement in the incorporation of the new ePure European renewable ethanol association.
  • Southwestern Illinois award presented to Abengoa Bioenergy of Illinois.
  • Economic development award (EDIE) presented to Abengoa Bioenergy of Illinois.
  • Abengoa Bioenergy Operations receives the Chemical Safety Excellence Award for the second year running.
  • Abengoa Bioenergía San Roque secures ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 certification.