China to build new bio-oil plant in eastern province

China is to begin construction of a refinery and a machinery plant in Hefei, capital of eastern Anhui Province, which can turn out one ton of bio-oil from every two tons of crop stalks.

With an investment of 97.8 million yuan (12.2 million U.S. dollars), the project is expected to begin operation in a year's time and generate 360 million yuan (45 million dollars) in profit every year.

The refinery will process 2,000 tons of biomass every year to produce bio-oil as a substitute for heavy oil, diesel and coal tar. Bio-oil can be used directly to heat boilers and as fuel for motor vehicles after further refining. Ethanol can also be extracted from bio-oil.

Scientists announced in late June that they had made an important breakthrough in reducing the cost of converting crop stalks, chaff and sawdust into bio-oil.

Bio-oil produced with this technology is 56.8 percent cheaper than diesel oil and 39.1 percent cheaper than heavy oil.

The technology, which can produce more than 6 kg of bio-oil from 10 kg of sawdust and 5 kg of bio-oil from 10 kg of crop stalks, has been approved by the provincial department of science and technology.

Scientists have also invented a machine that can process 120 kg of biomass per hour.

Research into converting biomass into a liquid energy source began in the 1980s, but the high cost of conversion has so far prevented scientists from producing an economically viable energy source.


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