Lurgi to implement world's largest biodiesel project


Frankfurt am Main, GermanyLurgi AG , a GEA Group subsidiary, will implement what it reports will be world’s largest biodiesel project at Piesteritz, in eastern Germany. The€64-million order was awarded by Neckermann-Renewables GmbH, a firm based in Würzburg. This is the latest in a series of biodiesel plant orders that Lurgi has won recently. Since July 2005, the company has been awarded nine new contracts to build biodiesel plants with a total value exceeding €200 million and with an annual output in excess of 1-million metric tons (mt) of biodiesel. As one of the world’s market and technology leaders, Lurgi is benefiting from the booming demand for biofuels. Once the new plants have been completed, between 60-70% of global output of biodiesel will be produced using Lurgi technology. In Germany this proportion will be between 70-80%. The new plant will use rapeseed to produce more than 200,000 mt of biodiesel annually and is due to come on-stream in December 2006.

The plant is said to be Germany’s first in providing an end-to-end production process—from the seed feedstock and its processing to the prepressing and extraction stages through crude-oil processing and biodiesel production. Lurgi, besides supplying all equipment and materials, will commission the plant and train the customer’s staff. This is the third biodiesel order for Lurgi awarded by Neckermann. In Europe, Neckermann operates biodiesel plants with a total capacity of approximately 350,000 mt, which makes it one of the continent's largest biodiesel producers. Neckermann is a subsidiary of Global Alternative Energy S.a.r.l., which is in turn held by Fortune Management Inc.

Lurgi says that experts forecast that global demand for alternative fuels such as biodiesel and bioethanol will increase sharply in the next few years. According to European Union (EU) plans, the proportion of biofuels is set to almost treble, rising from roughly 2% currently to 5.75% by 2010. As a result, EU-wide demand for fuels made from renewable resources will increase from under 5-million mt now to just below 14 million mt per year.

Richard Phelps , senior editor, Control Engineering

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