Wednesday, March 23, 2011

十大发电集团加速向低碳转身

 
[日期:01-8]

    根据国际环保组织“绿色和平”发布的《中国发电集团气候影响排名》报告,我国十大发电集团依装机容量排名分别为:华能集团、大唐集团、国电集团、华电集团、中电投集团、长江三峡工程开发总公司(已更名为长江三峡集团公司)、广东省粤电集团、浙江省能源集团、神华集团和华润电力控股有限公司。这十大发电集团2008年的总耗煤量占全国煤炭总产量20%,目前,均已提前完成“到2010年火电平均供电煤耗控制在355克/千瓦时标准煤”的“十一五”目标。

  火电行业加快“低碳突围”

    “1120,华电国际邹县发电厂4台335兆瓦机组烟气脱硫技改工程顺利通过环保验收。工程采用目前国际上先进的石灰石—石膏湿法烟气脱硫工艺,脱硫效率达95%以上,预计每年减排二氧化硫约2.3万吨。”华电相关负责人向《中国能源报》记者表示,“华电还建设了宁夏灵武空冷、湖南长沙脱硝等一批具有行业代表性的高效、节能、环保机组。”

    近年来,我国火电机组一改过去高耗能、高污染的形象,新建电厂全部配套加装了脱硫装置,既有电厂加大脱硫改造力度。截至2008年底,全国火电厂烟气脱硫机组投运容量达到3.63亿千瓦,占全国火电机组容量比例由2007年的48�提高到60.4%。同时,部分大型火电厂还安装了脱硝装置。此外,除尘、电站空冷等技术在火电厂的应用也不断增加。如神华国华电力已运行的电厂电除尘配备率达100%,脱硫机组容量比达96%,脱硝机组容量比为15%。

    华能副总经理乌若思介绍:“2006年,华能玉环电厂建成投产我国首套国产化100万千瓦超超临界机组。该机组供电煤耗仅为291.39克/千瓦时,发电效率高达45.4%。”超超临界机组燃煤发电的高效率,吸引了发电集团纷纷发展这一技术。有数据显示,截至2009年9月27日,我国投运100万千瓦级超超临界机组已有17台。

    统计数据显示,目前我国火电厂投运50万—100万千瓦机组共有301台,其中超(超)临界机组占1/3。发电量接近全国发电总量的10%。平均供电煤耗为315克/千瓦小时,比全国平均供电煤耗低30克/千瓦小时。同时,目前国内已建、在建和规划建设的超(超)临界机组约250台,其中100万千瓦超超临界机组约44台,总容量1.7亿千瓦,这标志着我国火电进入了建设60—100万千瓦超(超)临界机组为主的时期。

    “上大压小”是我国目前审批火电项目一项重要决策,助推了我国火电结构的调整。截至今年6月30日,电力行业累计关停小火电机组7467台,总容量达5407万千瓦,提前一年半完成了“十一五”关停5000万千瓦小火电任务。初步统计每年可减少二氧化碳排放1.24亿吨,减少二氧化硫排放106万吨。

  绿色煤电助力清洁发展

    除超(超)临界发电技术外,整体煤气化联合循环(IGCC)发电系统、碳捕集等技术也是发电集团应对气候变化的主要武器。

    华能在国内率先提出了“绿色煤电”计划,并联合大唐、华电等7家企业共同组建绿色煤电公司。绿色煤电第一阶段25万千瓦IGCC电站已获得国家发改委正式核准,将于2011年6月在天津建成投产。

    随着IGCC电站关键技术的国产化率进程加快,必将吸引更多发电集团竞相进入。中电投在上海、廊坊、江苏等地的IGCC项目已得到当地政府的支持,正稳步推进。华电也将以杭州半山项目为依托,建设我国具有自主知识产权的IGCC示范工程。

    二氧化碳捕集是当今世界应对气候变化的新兴技术,在国家大力倡导下,目前我国在这一领域已经达到国际先进水平。2008年7月,华能自主设计、建设的我国第一套燃煤电厂二氧化碳捕集装置在华能北京热电厂投入运行,它能把原先烟囱直接排放的二氧化碳分离回收成液体,供下游企业使用。在此基础上,华能正在上海石洞口第二电厂建设10万吨/年烟气二氧化碳捕集装置,将在今年年底前投入试运行。这是目前世界上最大的燃煤电厂烟气二氧化碳捕集装置。

    10月16日,《中国能源报》记者参观了云南大唐国际红河发电有限责任公司开远电厂,该厂负责人介绍:“开远电厂2×30万千瓦工程是我国首个国产化30万千瓦循环流化床锅炉(CFB)项目,于2006年投产,具有高脱硫效率、低氮氧化物排放、高碳燃烬率等优点。”截至2008年,我国在运行的30万千瓦的大容量CFB锅炉已有18台,自主开发的30万千瓦CFB也取得实际运行经验。

  清洁能源比例不断提高

    中电投总经理陆启洲表示:“今年中电投在清洁、低碳能源方面投资的比重首次超过50%,到2020年中电投集团清洁能源比例将提高到50%。”提高清洁能源比例、优化电源结构是各发电集团向综合性能源集团转型的重要内容之一。

    在清洁能源中,核电在节能减排放方面的优势明显,发展核电是我国发电集团低碳转身的重要途径之一。统计数据显示,2008年我国核电发电量为684亿千瓦时,与用煤炭发同样数量的火电相比,相当于减排二氧化碳8000多万吨、二氧化硫40多万吨。

    《中国能源报》记者从中电投了解到,12月4日,山东海阳核电厂一期工程1、2号机组取得建造许可证,标志着项目建设全面正式转入建造阶段,该项目和辽宁红沿河核电项目一期工程4台百万千瓦机组均将于2014年左右建成投产。今年下半年以来,发电集团纷纷加快拓展核电业务的步伐:华能、大唐分别与国核签署了战略合作协议,国电与中核签署战略合作协议,国核与中广核签订第三代战略合作协议……

    水电是清洁能源,许多发电集团更是把发展水电作为优化电源结构的重要途径之一。大唐、中电投、华电的水电装机先后超过1000万千瓦,三峡电站装机容量达1820万千瓦……截至今年7月底,全国水电装机已从2002年的8607万千瓦增加到1.82亿千瓦。

  新能源引领电企低碳转身

    大力发展新能源,是逐步改善我国当前以煤炭为主的能源结构的一项重大战略。为此,十大发电集团纷纷通过组建新能源公司的模式加速抢滩新能源。

    据国电副总经理陈飞介绍:“国电作为国内最大的风力发电商,风电装机容量已达348万千瓦,明年将新投产风电装机300万千万以上。”大唐总经理翟若愚不久前表示:“2015年大唐的风电装机容量将较目前的235万千瓦增长3倍多,达1000万千瓦。”浙江省能源集团成立专门公司开发沿海风电……此外,广东省粤电集团、华润电力等发电集团也在有序推进太阳能发电、垃圾发电、生物质发电等技术的应用,不断优化火电、水电、新能源的结构比例。

    “国家确定的‘十一五’期间节能减排目标经过全国各个方面的努力有望实现。”国家发改委副主任解振华不久前表示。国家环保部相关人士在接受《中国能源报》记者采访时对此评价:“我国电力行业确实出力了。”华能、大唐等十大发电集团通过积极优化电源结构、加速研发清洁煤电技术等途径,为实现“十一五”节能减排目标作出了巨大贡献。

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

中石化计划在我国建润滑脂工厂

2011-03-17

财经快餐

  中国石油化工公司(China Petrochemical, Sinopec)计划在新加坡建设一座年产能10万吨的润滑脂(lubricant grease)工厂。

  彭博社报道指出,总部设于北京的中国石化,于其网站上透露,已在311日签约将建造以上工厂。该厂所产润滑脂将供销亚太市场。它说,这是中国石化直接在海外进行的第一个投资项目。

 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Countries taking another look at nuclear power

Business Times 15 Mar 11;

(NEW YORK) Global expansion of nuclear power may draw more scrutiny as Japan struggles with reactors crippled by the quake.

'This is obviously a significant setback for the so-called nuclear renaissance,' said Peter Bradford, a former member of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. 'The image of a nuclear power plant blowing up before your eyes on a TV screen is a first.'

China may consider the effects of the nuclear accident as it completes its energy plans for the 2011-2015 period, Xie Zhenhua, vice-chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, said. China is tripling the number of its reactors, building 27 units to add to the 13 now operating on the mainland, according to the World Nuclear Association.

'Evaluation of nuclear safety and the monitoring of plants will be definitely strengthened,' Mr Xie said.

India, which plans for a 13-fold increase in nuclear power generation, will reconsider its expansion as Japan's worst accident in at least 33 years forces a safety review of existing and proposed plants, Nuclear Power Corp of India said.

'This event may be a big dampener for our programme,' Shreyans Kumar Jain, chairman of India's state-run monopoly producer, said in a telephone interview from Mumbai. 'We and the Department of Atomic Energy will definitely revisit the entire thing, including our new reactor plans, after we receive more information from Japan.'

Germany's energy agency Dena recommends a return to phasing out nuclear power and switching off reactors that are similar to those crippled in Japan, the German newspaper Handelsblatt reported, citing an interview with the agency's head Stephan Kohler.

There are 442 reactors worldwide that supply about 15 per cent of the globe's electricity, according to the London-based World Nuclear Association. There are plans to build more than 155 additional reactors, most of them in Asia, and 65 reactors are currently under construction, the association said.

Japan gets about a third of its electricity from 54 nuclear power plants, the third-most after the US and France. Two reactors are under construction and 12 more are planned, according to the association.

In the US, companies including Southern Co and NRG Energy have submitted applications to build as many as 21 new reactors, adding to the 104 existing units.

'Certainly it's going to cause some reappraisals because this is what you call a 'show-stopping' event,' said Robert Alvarez at the Washington-based Institute for Policy Studies.

US utilities cancelled 14 nuclear plant orders in the wake of the 1979 partial meltdown at the Three Mile Island reactor in Pennsylvania, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

'The arguments that held sway during the Three Mile Island days will hold sway today with this accident,' said Tom Cochran, a nuclear physicist at the New York-based Natural Resources Defense Council.

The US should slow the construction of new domestic nuclear power plants until officials can assess whether the situation in Japan signals a need for additional safety measures, said Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut.

Twenty-three nuclear power plants in the US were built according to designs that are similar to the Dai-Ichi plant's, he said.

Problems at the reactor may encourage the replacement of older models, said Sergei Novikov, a spokesman for Russia's nuclear holding company Rosatom Corp. 'The global nuclear industry will speed up phasing out first-generation power units and start building new ones,' he said.

Rosatom is building 15 new reactors worldwide, more than any other international supplier, five of them outside Russia. -- Bloomberg

Analysis: Nuclear Power Growth At Risk If Japan Plant Leaks
Gerard Wynn and Bernie Woodall PlanetArk 14 Mar 11;

The growing risk of a significant radiation leak at two Japanese nuclear power plants following Friday's earthquake and tsunami threatens to hurt an industry that has enjoyed a rebirth since the Three Mile Island accident in 1979 and the Chernobyl disaster in 1986.

On Friday, nuclear power advocates and environmentalists staked out familiar ground over the incident. But a wider public debate may be ignited if a major radiation leak occurs in Japan, said Paul Patterson, an energy analyst with consultants Glenrock Associates in New York.

That debate has been largely muted since the 1980s when rock concerts were held to galvanize opposition to nuclear power after the Three Mile Island incident in Pennsylvania and the popular movie "The China Syndrome," that raised awareness of the dangers of a nuclear reactor meltdown.

"The severity of what happens is what is important," Patterson said of the impact of the Japanese incident.

If there is a substantial radioactive release, there could even be questions about whether it could travel on the Pacific jet stream to the U.S. West Coast.

"It is serious and it could lead to a meltdown," said Mark Hibbs, a nuclear expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. "And what we're seeing, barring any information from the Japanese that they have it under control, is that we're headed in that direction."

But Naoto Sekimura of the University of Tokyo, said that a major radioactive disaster was not likely.

An 8.9-magnitude earthquake centered in northern Japan triggered a series of events at two Tokyo Electric Power Co plants that created conditions for a radioactive leak because there wasn't electric power to circulate cooling water over superheated uranium fuel rods.

The two TEPCO plants, the Daiichi plant and the Daini plant are around 40 miles from the epicenter of the earthquake that led to a tsunami and probably killed more than 1,000.

Nuclear industry advocates on Friday were saying that the ability of the nuclear reactors in Japan to largely withstand the power of the earthquake shows how safe nuclear power is.

But that was before a series of scary announcements from TEPCO that it had lost the ability to control pressure at several reactors and that it was having trouble with a valve that would allow reactor pressure to be eased.

Thousands of residents were evacuated from the immediate area of the Fukushima plants, about 150 miles 240 km north of Tokyo.

Industry experts said the precautions taken at Fukushima showed that enhanced security at nuclear power plants should prevent any disaster. But green groups said the threatened leak showed that the risks were still too high.

"I wouldn't expect there to be a radiation emergency ultimately, they may have something to fix but it's a precaution more than anything else," said Sue Ion, former chief technology officer at British Nuclear Fuels, after Japan declared an atomic power emergency.

Altogether, some 11 Japanese reactors shut down after the earthquake.

Successive layers of security should prevent any leak of radiation, said Jeremy Gordon, an analyst at the World Nuclear Association based in London.

NUCLEAR POWER GAINS RECENTLY

"The reactor designs that are up for consideration today are generation three where the safety systems operate at an even higher level," said WNA analyst Jonathan Cobb.

But environmental groups said the threat of a radiation leak underscored the general risks from atomic energy.

"We've opposed nuclear power for decades, and this is another proof that it can't be safe," said Sven Teske, director of renewable energy at Greenpeace International.

A leading U.S. scientist group said the incident highlighted the grave risk of inadequate back-up power to cooling systems at U.S. facilities.

New interest from governments and investors in nuclear power follows the development of more advanced plants, and a new focus on security of energy supply and moves to reduce carbon emissions. Nuclear plants generate low-carbon power in contrast to fossil fuels and can produce constantly unlike wind and some other clean energy sources.

The Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) estimated last month that about 10 countries have decided to introduce nuclear power and started preparatory infrastructure work, up from four in 2008.

(Additional reporting by Daniel Fineren, Fredrik Dahl, Karolin Schaps, and Scott DiSavino; editing by Martin Howell)

Analysis - Japan accident shows dilemma over atom plant sites
Alister Doyle Reuters 14 Mar 11;

OSLO (Reuters) - Japan's nuclear accident exposes the dilemma of whether to build power plants on tsunami-prone coasts or inland sites where water supplies are unreliable, a problem likely to be aggravated by climate change, experts say.

Many of the world's 442 nuclear power reactors are by the sea, rather than by lakes or rivers, to ensure vast water supplies for cooling fuel rods in emergencies like that at the Fukushima plant on Japan's east coast.

"It's quite a conundrum," said Ian Jackson, a nuclear energy fellow at Chatham House in Britain. "If you are in a geologically stable area, a coastal location is still the best option."

Japan was scrambling to avert a meltdown at the Fukushima plant after Friday's devastating quake and tsunami, which killed at least 10,000 people.

Inland, water supplies can be more vulnerable to heatwaves, floods, temperature swings and dam failures. Water is a prime consideration in siting decisions that include staying clear of geological fault lines, flight paths and cities.

A 2003 heatwave in Europe, for instance, forced Electricite de France to close or lower output at about half its 19 nuclear plants because of temperature limits on the water it returns to rivers such as the Rhone.

Excessively high temperatures can kill fish and other river life, as well as reduce output from the power plants.

"If climate impacts include flood, heatwaves and droughts then you can expect that nuclear plants will have to shut down more often," said Rianne Teule, a nuclear expert with the environmental group Greenpeace in South Africa.

"It will bring more risks," she said. Greenpeace favors a phase-out of all nuclear power.

A study in the journal Nature found that it was very likely that global warming, stoked by human emissions of greenhouse gases, had contributed to the extreme temperatures of the 2003 European heatwave and hence the severity of its impact.

Rising sea levels are also a long-term consideration for siting power plants that will operate for decades. Higher sea levels would aggravate storm surges or the impact of tsunamis.

The U.N. panel of scientists said in 2007 that the sea level is likely to rise by between 18 and 59 cms (7 and 24 inches) this century, more if there is a big thaw in Greenland and/or Antarctica.

"Deciding where to site a plant is tricky," said Nils Boehmer, a nuclear physicist at the environmental group Bellona in Norway.

Placing plants inland often exposes them to the risk of higher water temperatures in summer, reducing generating capacity. "Then you end up that the best place is on the coast where there is a risk of a tsunami," he said.

An added consideration is that environmental rules are getting tougher in many nations.

Last year, Exelon Corp. said it would shut its Oyster Creek nuclear power plant in New Jersey in 2019, about 10 years before its license expires, as part of an agreement to let it keep operating without expensive cooling towers.

New Jersey had wanted Exelon to install a new cooling system at the plant, the oldest reactor operating in the United States, to reduce the threat to fish and other life.

(Editing by Tim Pearce)

What will spark the next Fukushima?
An untrustworthy nuclear industry, incompetently regulated, is leading the world into greater and greater danger
John Vidal guardian.co.uk 14 Mar 11;

The gung-ho nuclear industry is in deep shock. Just as it and its cheerleader, the International Atomic Energy Agency, were preparing to mark next month's 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl accident with a series of self-congratulatory statements about the dawning of a safe age of clean atomic power, a series of catastrophic but entirely avoidable accidents take place in not one but three reactors in one of the richest countries of the world. Fukushima is not a rotting old power plant in a failed state manned by half-trained kids, but supposedly one of the safest stations in one of the most safety-conscious countries with the best engineers and technologists in the world.

Chernobyl blew up not because the reactor malfunctioned but because an ill-judged experiment to see how long safety equipment would function during shutdown went too far. So, too, in Japan, it was not the nuclear bits of the station that went wrong but the conventional technology. The pumps did not work because the power supply went down and the back-up support was not there because no one had thought what happened was possible.

Even though Japan had been warned many times that possibly the most dangerous place in the world to site a nuclear power station was on its coast, no one had taken into account the double-whammy effect of a tsunami and an earthquake on conventional technology. It's easy to be wise after the event, but the inquest will surely show that the accident was not caused by an unpredictable natural disaster, but by a series of highly predictable bad calls by human regulators.

The question now is whether the industry can be trusted anywhere. If this industry were a company, its shareholders would have deserted it years ago. In just one generation it has killed, wounded or blighted the lives of many millions of people and laid waste to millions of square miles of land. In that time it has been subsidised to the tune of trillions of dollars and it will cost hundreds of billions more to clean up and store the messes it has caused and the waste it has created. It has had three catastrophic failures now in 25 years and dozens more close shaves. Its workings have been marked around the world by mendacity, cover-ups, secrecy and financial incompetence.

Sadly, the future looks worse. The world has a generation of reactors coming to the end of their days and politicians putting intense pressure on regulators to extend their use well beyond their design lives. We are planning to double worldwide electricity supply from nuclear power in the next 20 years, but we have nowhere near enough experienced engineers to run the ever-bigger stations. We have private companies peddling new designs that are said to be safer but which are still not proven, and we have 10 new countries planning to move into civil nuclear power in the next five years.

It gets worse. More than 100 of the world's reactors are already sited in areas of high seismic activity and many of 350 new stations planned for the highly volatile Pacific rim where earthquakes, tsunamis and other natural hazards are certain to happen. We still have not worked out how to store waste and, we now know that we cannot protect stations from all eventualities.

What the industry and governments cannot accept are the two immutable laws of life – Murphy's law and the law of unintended consequences. If something is possible to go wrong then it will, eventually. It may be possible to design out the technological weaknesses but it is impossible to allow for the unknown unknowns.

Next time the disaster may have nothing to do with an earthquake or a tsunami, but be because of terrorism, climate change, a fatal error in an anonymous engineering works, proliferation of plutonium or a deranged plant manager. If there were no alternatives than employing nuclear power to light up a bulb or to reduce carbon emissions then the industry and governments might be forgiven. But when the stakes are so high, the scale is so big and there are 100 other safer ways, it seems sheer folly to go on in this way.

Sembcorp plant to go full steam on biomass

Straits Times 11 Mar 11;

A STEAM plant on Jurong Island powered by waste wood chips is set to be one of the first here to run wholly on plant material known as biomass.

The Sembcorp Industries plant, which will burn about 120 tonnes of wood chips a day, will supply process steam to other companies on the island. It will be ready in the second half of this year, a source familiar with the company's plans said.

Just where the wood chips will come from is not clear, but an upcoming power plant on Jurong Island, built by Tuas Power and China Huaneng Group - expected to be ready next year - will run partly on palm kernel shells and wood chips sourced from neighbouring countries.

The size of Sembcorp's investment in its biomass steam plant is not known, but it is understood the figure and plant capacity would be much smaller than that of its British power plant. The company declined to make a statement on the matter.

Completed in 2007, the Sembcorp Biomass Power Station in north-east England's Tees Valley burns some 300,000 tonnes of waste wood a year to produce about 30MW of energy.

In Singapore, at least one small steam and co-generation plant already runs on biomass, though no full-scale power plant does so yet. Bee Joo Industries, a wholly owned subsidiary of environmental services firm ecoWise, built a demonstration plant at Sungei Kadut in 2004.

The 1MW plant also produces 15 tonnes of steam an hour from horticultural and waste wood, and in 2008 was Singapore's first company approved to earn and trade carbon credits under the United Nations' Clean Development Mechanism scheme.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Singapore: Neste Oil opens $973m renewable diesel plant

Finnish firm seeks to convert new materials into biofuels
Yasmine Yahya Straits Times 9 Mar 11;

THE FINNISH operator of the world's largest renewable diesel plant, which opened yesterday in Tuas, has started investing heavily in research to find new materials to be turned into biofuels.

As the price of crude palm oil continues to surge, Neste Oil is looking for alternatives to the commodity which currently makes up 45 per cent of its feedstock - its single largest raw material input.

Its 550 million euro (S$973 million) renewable diesel plant was opened by Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean.

At the opening ceremony, the firm's chief executive Matti Lievonen told the media the company has begun committing about 80 per cent of its annual research and development budget into finding new sources of feedstock.

It is looking for ways to convert new raw materials, such as microbes, algae and wood waste, into biofuels, he said.

However, it will be quite a while before such research comes to fruition. 'It will take another six years at least before algae can be used as feedstock. Microbes could take a shorter time but there aren't huge volumes of microbes that you could get from the market,' Mr Lievonen said.

Mr Teo said in his speech that the Government is working to strengthen the capabilities of local research institutes in the area of biorenewable feedstock. These efforts could help Neste identify new sources of feedstock, he added.

The plant, with a capacity of 800,000 tonnes a year, is the biggest renewable diesel facility in the world.

Besides palm oil, the plant also uses by-products of palm oil production from Malaysia and Indonesia, as well as waste animal fat from Australia and New Zealand, to produce its renewable diesel, which Neste Oil claims is the cleanest diesel fuel on the market today.

It is being sold in Europe and North America, where governments have adopted biofuel mandates, under which sellers of transportation fuel have to ensure that part of the fuel they sell is biodiesel.

No country in Asia has adopted such a mandate yet, and while this remains the case, Mr Lievonen said Neste Oil is unlikely to start marketing its biodiesel in the region: 'Asia in the next five years is not going to be a big market for us.'

Biodiesel is more expensive than conventional diesel, and fuel sellers have little incentive to buy biodiesel if they are not required by law to do so.

Mr Lievonen added that he has a 'very positive' outlook for refining margins in 2012 and 2013, as the firm has started output from its Singapore plant and is in the midst of building another one in Rotterdam of the same capacity as the one here.

Neste's profits from processing crude oil into products such as fuel and diesel averaged US$8.50 a barrel last year, Mr Lievonen said, declining to give margin levels this year. There is potential for diesel margins to improve because of gains in industrial output, he added.

Singapore Neste plant starts biodiesel exports to EU
But Finnish refiner may not ramp up output fully yet, as outlook is less than rosy
Ronnie Lim Business Times 9 Mar 11;

(SINGAPORE) Made-in-Singapore renewable biodiesel from Neste Oil's S$1.2 billion Tuas plant - the world's largest - has started to enter European markets. But the Finnish refiner may not run the plant fully just yet, given the less-than-rosy market outlook.

'Whether we ramp up to full capacity or not depends on margins, feedstock prices and development of the market,' Matti Lievonen, its president and CEO told a press conference, following the opening of the world-scale 800,000 tonnes per annum plant yesterday.

Neste is mindful that as it ramps up production here, followed by that for another identical-sized twin facility in Rotterdam starting up mid-year, it is at the same time encountering strong headwinds in the form of rising prices for palm oil (its main raw material) and slow progress in biofuels legislation in its key European and US markets.

Mr Lievonen in fact warned last month that the group's renewable diesel division would make a loss this year, although Neste was just at 'start-up phase', in this business and still saw a future in producing the world's cleanest diesel.

'We expect the business to turn around in 2012,' he said yesterday of its second-generation, renewable NExBTL, which is said to be of higher quality and is more flexible to use, outperforming biodiesels and even the best fossil diesels.

Neste's two world-scale plants in Singapore and Rotterdam will add considerable biofuel capacity to its two smaller Finnish plants, which have a combined output of 380,000 tpa. 'The annual volume (from the Singapore plant alone) is enough for 10 million cars to run continuously with 10 per cent NExBTL blend,' he said.

Amidst rising crude oil prices - due to the current political crisis in Libya, and also threats to Gulf oil supplies - Neste says that its renewable NExBTL in fact becomes more viable. 'Renewable prices follow those of crude.'

'From an energy security viewpoint, when oil prices rise, renewables like biodiesel also help to meet supplies,' he said.

Neste uses fully-sustainable biofeedstocks: with palm oil currently accounting for 45 per cent of this; stearin, a by-product of the palm oil production process for 20-25 per cent, and animal fats for another 20-25 per cent.

But to counter the threat of ever-rising palm oil prices, the Finnish refiner has also started to look into using other alternatives like wood-based biomass and also algae and microbes.

Asked when these would likely become economically viable, Mr Lievonen said that it already has a pilot plant in Finland to convert wood waste to wax, 'but the investment costs are really huge'. Still, coming EU subsidies for this, expected in the second half of next year, could potentially make the project viable.

'Currently, 80 per cent of Neste's R&D is also focused on feedstocks like algae and microbes, but it would take six years at least for algae use to become viable,' he reckoned.

Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister, Teo Chee Hean, who officiated at the Neste plant opening, said that the investment will play an important role in Singapore's move to increase production of cleaner and higher-quality fuels.

Germany's Lufthansa is for instance starting to use some of Neste's jet biofuel for its aircraft. And DPM Teo said that 'adopting sustainable bio-renewable feedstock as an alternative source of raw material for transportation fuels is a promising economic opportunity. It could also play an important role in contributing towards greater environmental sustainability.'

Neste Oil's S'pore plant to market renewable diesel overseas
Julie Quek Channel NewsAsia 8 Mar 11;

SINGAPORE : Neste Oil has said its giant biodiesel plant in Singapore, which mainly uses palm oil as a raw material, will be able to sell its renewable diesel to Germany.

It is also looking at North America as a potential market.

This comes as increasing feedstock prices, including palm-oil prices, prompt concerns about rising costs faced by biodiesel plants worldwide.

Neste Oil said its Singapore plant has received a key certification; the International Sustainability & Carbon Certification (ISCC) requires minimisation of greenhouse gas emissions and preservation of biodiversity during the production of biofuels and bioenergy.

Although the certification is specific to Germany, Neste Oil hopes this will help it enter new markets, especially in North America.

Completed on schedule, the high-technology plant started operations in November, and cost 550 million euros to build. It currently has about 120 employees.

Speaking at the official opening of the plant on Tuesday, Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Teo Chee Hean said global energy demand is projected to rise 25 per cent over the next 20 years.

He said: "Neste's project is a milestone, because at 800 kilotonne per annum, this will be the world's largest renewable diesel plant. We are confident that with this and other investments, Singapore will widen our lead in the fuel production sector."

The Economic Development Board is also working with other bio-renewables plants in Jurong Island.

Mr Teo added that Singapore is actively pursuing projects that leverage bio-renewable raw materials for the production of fuels, and that Singapore's strategic location in Southeast Asia, a region of abundant bio-renewable feedstock, will provide "exciting opportunities".

Malaysia and Indonesia, two of the largest producers of palm oil in the region, are, however, facing some headwinds.

That is because European Union's Renewable Energy Directive said that tropical forests should not be cleared away to produce raw materials for biofuels.

Meanwhile, adverse weather conditions are affecting oil-palm oil harvests in Malaysia and Indonesia, with a production shortfall leading to a rise in palm oil prices.

Matti Lehmus, executive vice president of Oil Products & Renewables, said: "Let's say in general it is true that price fluctuations have some impact, but we have seen lately that both crude oil prices and vegetable oil prices have increased.

"Still, the demand is created by the legislations, so there is no impact on the demand in the short-term. But of course, in the long term, we hope that the prices will normalise."

The benchmark crude palm-oil futures contracts in Malaysia hit almost a three-year high at more than 3,900 ringgit per tonne last month.

Analysts are concerned that biofuel plants worldwide will face a significant rise in their raw material cost.

- CNA/ms

Giant renewable diesel plant opens in Singapore
Yahoo News 8 Mar 11;

SINGAPORE (AFP) – Finnish firm Neste Oil opened the world's biggest renewable diesel plant in Singapore on Tuesday, taking advantage of massive palm oil production in nearby Malaysia and Indonesia.

Clean diesel produced from the 550 million-euro ($769 million) plant using feedstocks such as palm oil and animal fat will be marketed in Europe, Canada and the United States, which already have legislation in place supporting biofuels.

"Asia in the next five years is not going to be a big market for us," Neste Oil Corp president and chief executive Matti Lievonen said at the plant's opening.

With an annual capacity of 800,000 metric tonnes, the Singapore facility is the biggest renewable diesel plant in the world, Neste Oil said.

The plant produces Neste Oil's patented NExBTL renewable diesel, which the company says is the cleanest diesel fuel in the world, although it is more expensive than conventional diesel.

NExBTL can be used in all diesel engines and significantly reduces exhaust emissions compared with regular diesel, the company says.

About 45 percent of the facility's feedstock is currently palm oil from neighbouring Malaysia and Indonesia, while the rest comes from other by-products of the palm oil production process and waste animal fat from Australia and New Zealand.

The palm oil industry in both Malaysia and Indonesia has come under pressure from environmental campaigners who believe it causes deforestation and threatens species such as orangutans and rhinos.

Neste Oil said that its Singapore plant had obtained an International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC) certificate from Germany, guaranteeing that it has met tough environment standards.

Lievonen said the firm had earmarked 80 percent of its research and development for finding ways to produce clean diesel from other feedstocks like algae and microbes.

Algae will not compete for fresh water or land because production plants can be built on wasteland and the algae can be grown in seawater, said the company, adding that research was still in its early stages.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Singapore to triple desalination capacity by 2013

(AFP) Google News 7 Mar 11;

SINGAPORE — Singapore will more than triple its desalinated water capacity in two years' time when the country's second and largest desalination plant starts operations, the government said Monday.

The Public Utilities Board (PUB), in a statement to announce that local firm Hyflux has won the award to build the plant, said the water treatment facility is expected to be operational in 2013.

Hyflux in a separate statement said the project, which also includes the building of a power plant, is worth Sg$890 million ($704 million) and construction is expected to start by the fourth quarter of 2011.

The PUB said the new plant will produce 70 million imperial gallons (mgd) or 318,500 cubic metres of water per day, more than tripling the city-state's current desalination capacity from 30mgd to 100 mgd.

It said the plant will "enhance the drought resilience of Singapore's water supply, and ensure reliability for Singapore's water users".

The new plant will use membrane technology and generate its own power on-site for the process of salt removal that makes seawater potable.

Singapore announced last June that it aims to up its desalination capacity by almost ten times and meet 30 percent of its population's water demand by 2060.

Desalinated water -- costlier to produce than reclaimed waste water -- now provides 10 percent of Singapore's needs, while local catchments and imported water from neighbouring Malaysia account for the rest.

Singapore, lacking in natural resources including water, used to depend heavily on Malaysia for water to supplement its limited reservoir network, but in recent years has developed desalination and water recycling to reduce its reliance on foreign sources.

Hyflux to build and run second desalination plant
Francis Chan Straits Times 8 Mar 11;

HOME-GROWN water treatment firm Hyflux has been chosen to build and run Singapore's second - and largest - desalination plant in Tuas.

When completed in 2013, it will add 318,500 cubic m of desalinated seawater a day to the national water supply, said water agency PUB yesterday.

This would more than triple its total water desalination capacity from the current 136,500 cubic m to 455,000 cubic m in just two years' time.

Hyflux is helmed by its founder Olivia Lum, one of Singapore's leading entrepreneurs. The project, which also includes a combined cycle gas turbine power plant to supply the electricity, will cost $890 million.

Under the deal with PUB, Hyflux will form Tuaspring, which will enter into a Water Purchase Agreement (WPA) with the agency by next month.

Tuaspring will use Hyflux's filtration membrane technology for desalination and sell the water to PUB at a first-year price of 45 cents a cubic m.

According to PUB, Hyflux - which beat eight other bidders from Singapore and overseas - had offered the most competitive tariff over the 25-year concession period of 2013 to 2038.

The firm also has experience, both at home and abroad, in design-build-own-operate desalination projects, such as the SingSpring Desalination Plant in Tuas, and the Tianjin Dagang Desalination Plant in China.

'Hyflux's proposal meets the stated performance requirements for the quantity and quality of the water to be supplied to PUB and gives the best value to Singapore's water users,' said PUB director for best sourcing Koh Boon Aik.

An analyst, who did not want to be named, said although Hyflux had the right expertise, 'it didn't hurt that it was also an award-winning Singapore-born and bred company'.

'It's win-win-win for PUB, Hyflux and its shareholders because water is a national issue and it's better when it is handled by a Singapore company. And for Hyflux, the deal would help make up, over the mid- to long-term, for what it lost out due to the political unrest that stalled its project in Libya.'

Tuaspring will be built on a 14ha site near the SingSpring plant in Tuas, which has a desalination capacity of only 136,000 cubic m a day.

Desalination separates salt and other minerals from water to make it drinkable. This is one of the four sources of water supply here; the others are local reservoirs, imports and Newater.

With the 1961 Water Agreement with Malaysia set to expire in August, desalinated water will play a larger role in Singapore's water supply.

The Tuaspring plant is part of a water master plan unveiled by the Government in June last year, when PUB said it would ramp up desalination capacity by almost 10 times to meet 30 per cent of water demand by 2060.

Construction is set to start by the fourth quarter of this year. All engineering, procurement, construction, operations and maintenance will be undertaken by Hyflux's wholly-owned units.

PUB selects Hyflux for second desalination plant
Jonathan Peeris Channel NewsAsia 7 Mar 11;

SINGAPORE: National water agency PUB has selected Hyflux as the preferred bidder for the second and largest desalination plant in Singapore.

The plant in Tuas will be Hyflux's largest project worth S$890 million.

As the preferred bidder, Hyflux will form a concession company to enter into a Water Purchase Agreement with PUB by April this year.

Once all agreements have been finalised and executed, and the concession company achieves financial close, the agreement will take full effect.

The plant is expected to commence operations in 2013 and will add another 70 million imperial gallons or 318,500 cubic metres of desalinated water per day to Singapore's water supply.

Demand for water in Singapore is expected to double from 1.7 million cubic metres per day currently to 3.4 million cubic metres in 2060.

And the company said Singapore can be self-reliant in its water supply.

Cho Wee Peng, Group Chief Financial Officer of Hyflux, said: "The technology that PUB has employed over the last few years from Newater plants to desalination plants has enabled Singapore if necessary to achieve full self-sufficiency.

"So membrane technology has brought water to very affordable levels as we can see, and we will see that in the next 50 years, that is a goal that is very achievable."

PUB said the open tender attracted nine bids from both local and international companies with good track records in the water business.

The desalination plant will be constructed under a Design, Build, Own and Operate model.

This outcome-based approach offers bidders flexibility to design and develop the most innovative and sustainable proposal that meets the specified performance standards.

Hyflux will use membrane technology in the proposed plant and generate its own power on-site for the desalting process.

Excess power will be sold to the power grid.

At a first-year price of 45 cents per cubic metre, Hyflux offers the most competitive tariff for the supply of desalinated water over a 25-year period from 2013 to 2038.

-CNA/ac

Hyflux clinches $890m PUB water project
Plant for seawater desalination, to be built from Q4, will be the biggest here
Jermaine Ng Business Times 8 Mar 11;

HYFLUX yesterday announced that it has been named the preferred bidder to design, build, own and operate a seawater desalination plant by PUB. The company will hold a concession for 25 years.

The project, which has a value of $890 million, will be funded through a combination of equity and project financing.

As the preferred bidder, Hyflux will form a concession company to enter into a water purchase agreement (WPA) with PUB by next month. Once all agreements have been finalised and executed, and the concession company achieves financial close, the WPA will take full effect.

Construction is slated to start by the fourth quarter of this year and the project is scheduled to commence operations by 2013, through to 2038. The engineering, procurement and construction, operations and maintenance of the project will be undertaken by Hyflux's wholly owned subsidiaries.

The plant, which will be located in Tuas, will be Singapore's second and largest seawater desalination facility. It will add as much as 318,500 cubic metres of desalinated water per day to Singapore's water supply, at a first-year price of 45 cents per cubic metre based on the warranted capacity.

The homegrown integrated water solutions company also announced that a combined cycle gas turbine power plant will be constructed in order to supply electricity to the desalination plant.

'The onsite generation of power will help us drive higher efficiency and cost effectiveness in operations and maintenance of the desalination plant,' said Olivia Lum, group CEO and president of Hyflux. Excess power will be sold to the power grid.

This project is expected to have a material impact on Hyflux for the fiscal year ending Dec 31, 2011.

This is not the company's first desalination plant in Singapore. In 2003, the SingSpring Desalination plant, developed by Hyflux, commenced operations with a designed capacity of 136,000 cubic metres a day.

Hyflux posted a record $569.73 million in revenue and $88.51 million net profit for FY10. Currently, it derives some 60 per cent of its revenue from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. China accounts for 26 per cent, while Singapore and other countries make up the rest.

Hyflux aims to focus its attention more on Singapore, Indonesia and Australia. 'We are keen to invest in large-scale projects in these countries as the markets have large potential,' said Ms Lum. 'It will be especially interesting here as Singapore's 1961 water agreement with Malaysia will expire this year.'

She also reiterated that the company has had 'no investments in Libya yet'. She did not rule out any possibility of future investments there.

Trading of Hyflux shares was halted yesterday. The stock closed at $1.83 last Friday.