Project Archive | 2015

Pyrolysis Oil Market Opportunities

The Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) engaged E4tech to identify the most attractive markets for pyrolysis oil in the EU in heat and power applications. We recommended Sweden, Finland and the UK as most attractive markets to replace Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) in the near term. The study involved a multi-criteria scoping exercise based on volume, HFO prices and possible margins considering production, transportation costs, taxes and policy support. For the selected countries, E4tech carried out a thorough analysis of national biomass legislation in terms of renewable energy support mechanisms and tax exemptions to understand financial advantages. To complement the analysis E4tech interviewed a number of industry players, academics, governmental organisations and industry associations. The client used the recommendations to prioritise the countries and sectors and aims to engage further with relevant actors regarding the replacement of HFO by pyrolysis oil in the most attractive markets.

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Environmental and regulatory assessment of Castrol’s Nexcel system

Client: Castrol – Nexcel

E4tech conducted environmental and legislative assessments of a novel technology developed by Castrol / Nexcel that enables near 100% passenger vehicles oil recycling. Our work was used to underpin the separately completed economic business case ahead of the formal introduction in the Aston Martin Vulcan.

Life cycle analysis methodologies were used to quantify the positive global impact on air, water and soil pollution resulting from large scale adoption of this technology. Our model allowed a break down by region and by vehicle manufacturer, clearly demonstrating the significant improvement this technology would have.

Analysis of similar recycling chains were used to highlight the key ingredients required to build a successful waste engine oil chain. This included an evaluation of the applicable legislation, infrastructure and stakeholders implications. We are pleased that our study is helping Nexcel to engage with key stakeholders and is helping to bring this novel technology to market.

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Scenarios for deployment of hydrogen in meeting carbon budgets

Client: UK Committee on Climate Change (CCC)

E4tech led a project developing hydrogen scenarios to 2050 for the Committee on Climate Change, with UCL and Kiwa Gastec. This involved developing descriptive scenarios for the development of hydrogen across all energy sectors, informed by modelling using the UKTM energy systems model, and Kiwa Gastec’s practical experience in hydrogen projects. The scenarios considered the technology developments, infrastructure requirements, business model needs and energy systems implications of conversion to hydrogen, and were fully costed. We then considered the strategic implications in five year time steps to 2035, including policy requirements, risks, short term no/low regrets actions, and decision points.

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From the Sugar Platform to Biofuels and Biochemicals

Client: European Commission
E4tech led a research consortium, with Wageningen UR and RE-CORD, to provide the European Commission (DG ENER) with a comprehensive evidence base regarding the production of biofuels and biochemicals from sugars. Numerous pathways exist, combining different feedstocks, pre-treatment options, conversion and downstream processes. Our one year study therefore assessed the development status of 94 products, providing market data and assessing technical barriers for 25 of the most promising products. Ten case studies were then considered in detail, to highlight leading EU activities in acrylic, adipic & succinic acids, FDCA, BDO, farnesene, isobutene, PLA, PHAs and PE, focusing on the value proposition offered by their greenhouse gas savings, physical properties, and economics. Finally, industry workshops were held to gather inputs on the competitiveness of the EU industry vs. US, Brazil and China, agree on remaining non-technical barriers, and provide ideas for further policy development to support the sector.

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Pre-feasibility Study for Lignocellulosic Ethanol Plant

Client: Development Bank
E4tech was invited by a development bank to conduct a preliminary feasibility study for an advanced biofuel plant located in an EU Member State. This included a full assessment of the regulatory, market, technology and investment landscape for lignocellulosic ethanol in the EU. Specifically, E4tech benchmarked the main advanced bioethanol conversion technologies and provided an assessment of opex and capex costs for the preferred technology solutions. Our study involved the development of a comprehensive investment model which has been used to determine key financial metrics and the financial viability of the plant. The regulatory assessment analysed key EU legislation for advanced biofuels and provided recommendations for policy development in the EU and in relevant Member States, whilst the market assessment analysed the size of the potential 2G ethanol market in Europe and modelled potential 2G ethanol prices to 2030 and beyond. The final report and presentation provided insights to the company board and is informing their decision about if and how they will proceed with the development of the plant.

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The role of low carbon policy in UK automotive investment decisions

lowCVPreportClient: Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP)
LowCVP commissioned E4tech to examine how policymakers have influenced the recent renaissance in UK automotive innovation and manufacturing, to provide a centrepiece for their July 2014 annual conference. E4tech, working with Cardiff Business School, surveyed and interviewed 120 leading industry players and policymakers, and built a database of policies and investments over the previous 10 years. Key findings were the central role played by industrial policy, the importance of stable low carbon policies at EU and UK level, and the relevance of collaborative structures between industry and government.


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Environmental assessment of bio-polyethylene production in Brazil

Client: A major chemicals company
Our client has recently started production of polyethylene from Brazilian sugarcane-based bioethanol, and required a more in-depth environmental impacts study using actual supply chain and production process data to augment an earlier theoretical study. We performed a classical life cycle assessment looking at global warming potential, abiotic depletion potential, acidification potential, eutrophication potential, human toxicity potential and ecotoxicity; an analysis of the indirect land-use impacts of using sugarcane to produce chemicals; and a water footprint study focusing on the sustainability of the local water usage.

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Biomass and Biogas Carbon Calculator (B2C2)

Client: UK National Non-Food Crop Centre (NNFCC), UK Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC)
E4tech developed the Biomass and Biogas Carbon Calculator (B2C2) for estimating the emissions associated with using different solid and gaseous biomass feedstocks for heat and power. This involved developing GHG emissions default values for a wide range of biomass feedstocks used in the UK for electricity, heat and biogas generation. The B2C2 is used to assist UK generators in calculating and reporting the GHG emission savings of electricity, heat and biogas generated from biomass, in line with the requirements of the UK Renewables Obligation. The work follows the GHG emissions calculations and savings guidance provided in the EU Renewable Energy Directive and the European Commission’s report on sustainability requirements for the use of solid and gaseous biomass sources in electricity, heating and cooling. The feedstocks for which default carbon intensities have been developed include different type of cakes and meals (wheat DDGS, olive cake, oilseed rape meal, etc.), dedicated energy crops (short rotation coppice and forestry, energy grasses) and a series of wastes including forestry residues, end-of-life timber, agricultural residues, saw-mill residues, refuse derived fuel, etc. A series of stakeholder consultations and meetings were held to get stakeholder buy-in to both the default values and the Carbon Calculator. More recently tutorial workshops have been held to help users with the use of the tool.

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Review of thermal energy storage research

Client: Global automotive industry player
Prepared profiles of key European researchers and research groups working on advanced thermal energy storage materials and technologies. Areas of focus were adsorption materials and metal organic frameworks. A key finding was that although high energy density was clearly an objective, much of the research is focussed on tailoring the different materials to the needs of specific applications rather than purely pursuing higher density.

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Strategic positioning in energy storage

Client: Global automotive supplier
E4tech was tasked to prepare and run an internal workshop on supercapacitors for the client’s innovation team, who were looking at supercapacitors as a potential area of investment. The workshop included: an introduction to supercapacitor technology, a view of the innovation pathways being pursued; an overview of the main innovators and suppliers; an explanation of the applications that current and potential future technology could unlock; a techno-economic evaluation of supercapacitors vs. competing and/or complementary technologies; intelligence on the industrial strategies being pursued for power storage; and a facilitated discussion on the opportunities that the client could pursue. The insights and discussion arising from the workshop helped the client to understand and decide on strategic options in the area.

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