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Alco Bio Fuel, Ghent celebrates 10 years of success

Alco Bio Fuel, Ghent celebrates 10 years of success

(Posted on 08/06/18)

Out of 600.000 Tons of corn, Alco Bio Fuel produces today 250 million liters of ethanol, a 66% volume increase compared to the initial capacity. Ethanol is a renewable product which significantly reduces CO2 emissions in transport fuels. Ethanol is mostly blended with gasoline, from a few % (low blends), up to 85% (high blends). 95 E10, a gasoline containing 10% ethanol has successfully been introduced in Belgium in 2017. E85, a high blend containing 85% of ethanol and 15% of gasoline is available in several European countries. In 2008, ethanol produced by Alco Bio Fuel had 50% lower CO2 emissions compared to gasoline. Today, our significantly improved ethanol achieves CO2 emissions savings of over 80% and brings a major contribution to the fight against climate change! This phenomenal progress has been realized through constant energy and process improvements and carbon capture.

Besides ethanol, Alco Bio Fuel recovers 100% of the protein from corn, concentrated into 170.000 Tons of DDGS (Dried Distillers Grains with Solubles), a high protein animal feed component for cattle, pork and poultry, which replaces GMO soya imported massively from South America.

Alco Bio Fuel also purifies and liquefies up to 100.000 tons per year of CO2, within the Joint Venture GreenCO2, for use in soft drinks, food packaging, cold chain, greenhouses and the excess electricity produced by a co-generation unit is injected on the grid, enough to supply about 8.000 households.

Alco Bio Fuel is one of Belgium's major biorefineries, processing grain (mostly corn and wheat) into bio-ethanol, protein-rich feed DDGS, electricity, liquid CO2, and a number of other by-products (corn oil etc). It is a joint partnership between Alcogroup (the Brussels based ethanol production and trading company), Vanden Avenne Izegem (grain and derivatives trading and storage), AVEVE and Wal.Agri (Belgium's largest grain receiving group). 

Since the initial investment of about 100 million EUR for the construction of the plant, Alco Bio Fuel has led a policy of continuous investments, amounting to 30 million EUR: cogeneration unit (Combined Heat and Power or CHP) in 2013, corn oil production same year, CO2 purification and liquefaction in 2016, to name just a few. “Alco Bio Fuel will not stop here”, adds Charles-Albert Peers, Chairman of the Board. “Within a few years we want to reach an average ethanol CO2 savings of more than 90%. We will also further develop the concept of biorefinery, by innovating and diversifying our products portfolio: glucose for bio-plastics, higher and purer protein feed for fisheries, rectified grade of ethanol for the industry, pharmacy and cosmetics. By 2025, this will represent up to 50 million EUR additional investments. But legislations post 2020 will have to follow soon. EU is presently negotiating the second version of the Renewable Energy Directive (RED II). With all raw materials from European origin, and high CO2 emissions savings, ethanol is by far the most efficient and competitive product to decarbonize the transport sector on short term.  We therefore ask the EU to support ethanol in low and high blends. The fastest way to reach the energy transition and satisfy drivers is a green car which combines plug-in hybrid and high-blends ethanol. Belgium, with the successful E10 introduction, is an example in Europe, the second best in class after Finland.  Introduction of high blends, E85 for cars and ED95 for trucks and buses, is a necessary step forward.”

Flemish Energy Minister Bart Tommelein said, "If fossil fuels are mixed with biofuels such as bioethanol, CO2 emissions from our transport will be reduced. In Belgium, we have already set a high standard with gasoline Euro 95 E10. With this standard, Belgium is also the leader in Europe, after Finland. We simply need biofuels in order to reach the Flemish energy targets. "

Charles-Albert Peers said, “We warmly thank and congratulate all our Alco Bio Fuel team: they are our best assets, making this dream become reality, day and night, for 10 years now, and for many years to come.”

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