In December of next year, when the all-important United Nations Climate Change Conference COP15 takes place in the Danish capital Copenhagen, a number of ministerial limousines will be running on a fuel mixture containing bioethanol. Nothing new in that you might say, lots of countries like the US are already doing it on the grand scale.
But the fuel for these ministerial cars will not be first generation (1G) bioethanol made from food crops, that the rest of the world currently uses and is hotly debated worldwide, but second generation (2G) bioethanol made from non-food biomass – in other words agricultural waste.
The plant that will make this 2G bioethanol is being built in Kalundborg, a harbour town on the same island that Copenhagen sits, Zealand. According to Business.dk, when the plant comes on stream in 2009 it will produce 5.4 million litres of 2G bioethanol annually, over 11,000 tons of animal feed and 8,250 tons of combustible biomass, which will replace coal used in the local power station and save 12,800 tons of CO2 emissions annually.
Benny Mai, deputy director of DONG Energy's technology company Imbicon, told Business.dk: "First generation biofuel has been the subject of major debate, because it is implicated in pushing up food prices."
"Instead of using foodstuffs as an energy source, we use agricultural waste. This is our groundbreaking achievement, and we are well advanced in the development process."
Benny Mai sees the new technology adding to Denmark's already soaring energy technology exports, which have reached new heights in 2008. "When we can show that our technology works, we can sell the technology to the wider world, and hopefully it will be another success like wind turbines."