Industry Trends

April 2023

See what has been happening in Asia’s petrochemicals, agrochemicals, automotive, bio energy, and mining industries over the last weeks. What are experts and industry magazines talking about?

What has been happening?

The oxygen-ion battery, Bamboo for ethanol production, Ancient enzyme may play key role in producing hydrogen, and more. See what journals and industry experts have been discussing in the last four weeks.

Latest Industry Articles

New invention: The oxygen-ion battery

An oxygen-ion-battery has been invented, based on ceramic materials. If it degrades, it can be regenerated, therefore it potentially has an extremely long lifespan. Also, it does not require any rare elements and it is incombustible. For large energy storage systems, this could be an optimal solution.
Bamboo Bonanza: Numaligarh Refinery to Use Bamboo to Produce Ethanol
Advanced BioFuels USA

The public sector Numaligarh Refinery Limited (NRL) in eastern Assam’s Golaghat district has taken steps in setting up a Rs 1,750-crore bio- refinery unit for producing bio- ethanol from 5-lakh metric tonnes of bamboo per year. The Numaligarh Refinery Limited recently identified 25 local entrepreneurs who would set up bamboo chipping units close to the sources of this “golden grass”.
Ancient enzyme may play key role in producing hydrogen for green economy

A team of chemists at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign have been investigating an ancient biological enzyme known as nickel-iron hydrogenase and have come to the conclusion that it may play a key role in producing hydrogen for a renewables-based energy economy. To prove their point, the researchers designed a synthetic molecule that mimics the hydrogen gas-producing chemical reaction performed by the enzyme.
Japan sushi chain to supply used cooking oil for SAF production
Biofuels Digest

In Japan, local newspaper The Mainichi reported that Japanese sushi chain Akindo Sushiro will supply used cooking oil to produce sustainable aviation fuel. Food & Life Companies, based in Suita, Osaka Prefecture, aims to supply oil from around 680 Sushiro and other restaurants across Japan to produce sustainable aviation fuel from 2025, according to the report. On April 5, the company signed an agreement with Yokohama-based industrial giant JGC Holdings Corp.
World “must phase out coal nearly five times faster” to meet climate goals
Mining Technology

The retirement of operating coal power plants must increase by four and a half times the current global pace if the world is to maintain its 1.5°C average temperature increase target set out in the Paris climate agreement, non-profit organisastion Global Energy Monitor (GEM) has found. In its ninth annual survey of the global coal plant pipeline, GEM found that coal power retirements reached 26GW in 2022, with another 25GW expected by 2030.
Chinese researchers develop catalysts for CO2 photoelectroreduction to ethanol
Biofuels Digest

In China, artificial photosynthesis (AP), using sunlight to produce valuable chemicals and fuels from carbon dioxide (CO2), is a promising strategy to achieve solar energy storage as well as negative carbon cycle. However, artificial photosynthesis is quite complex and involves multiple sequential and parallel steps.
Battery recycling market gears up for future boom
Daily Tribune

Researcher Anna Vanderbruggen peers into a vat of dark bubbling liquid, the result of a process she has developed to recover graphite from old lithium-ion batteries. Although graphite represents up to a quarter of the weight of the batteries, no one has yet come up with a viable plan to recycle it, according to Vanderbruggen.
“Amazing to See” Soy Biofuel Opportunities Growing Rapidly
Advanced BioFuels USA

Tom Verry, director of outreach and development for Clean Fuels Alliance America, talks with Ohio Ag Net’s Dusty Sonnenberg about the rapidly expanding markets and opportunities for soy biodiesel, renewable diesel, and sustainable aviation fuels. “I’ve been around the industry for 30 years, and the last 12 months have been the most exciting I’ve seen,” Verry said. “It’s always exciting, but this last 12 months have been amazing to see.”
Indonesia considers free trade deal with US on key minerals
Mining Technology

Indonesia is looking to propose a limited free trade agreement (FTA) with the US on critical minerals, reported Reuters. The South-East Asian nation does not currently have an FTA with the US. According to Reuters, Indonesian’s Coordinating Minister of Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Pandjaitan said: “We do not have an FTA with them. Now we’re proposing a limited FTA with them.” He plans to hold talks with Ford and Tesla executives on the issue during a US visit scheduled later this week.
Philippines’ Petron launches construction of 180,000 TPY CME facility
Biofuels Digest

In the Philippines, the Manila Standard newspaper reports Petron – the country’s largest oil refiner – has begun building its 180,000 metric ton per year coconut methyl ester facility co-located at its oil refinery in Bataan. The facility will take two years to build but will help ensure sufficient supplies in order to boost the biodiesel blending mandate to 5% from the current 2%.
Malaysian palm oil stocks slip 21% as exports soar 31% in March
Biofuels Digest

In Malaysia, Bernama news agency reports that Malaysian Palm Oil Board data shows the country’s palm oil stocks shrank by a whopping 21% in March to 1.67 million metric tons while crude palm oil stocks fell even further, by 23% to under 900,000 tons. Stocks fell sharply due to a more than 31% increase in exports. Production rose 2% but it wasn’t nearly enough to offset the increase in exports that reached 1.49 million tons.
Indonesia sets sights on E15 but held back by ethanol feedstock limitations
Biofuels Digest

In Indonesia, Reuters reports that Indonesia is aiming to introduce a 5% ethanol blending trial in East Java this year with an eye on a 15% blending mandate by 2031 to reduce its $17 billion per year gasoline import bill, but it is seriously limited by lack of feedstock. The country currently has two ethanol plants using sugarcane molasses as feedstock that are often short of feedstock due to the lack of domestic sugar production.
Manila Says Oil, Gas Talks with Beijing Will Resume in May

The Philippines and China restart discussions on potential joint oil and gas development next month.
Analysis: Indonesia Must Jump Ethanol Feedstock Hurdle to Repeat Biodiesel Success
Advanced BioFuels USA

Indonesia imported about 60% of the gasoline it burned last year at a cost of $17 billion, and it aims to replicate the success it had with biodiesel mandates that cut billions of dollars from diesel import bills. This year the government plans to test gasoline with 5% bioethanol in Surabaya, capital of East Java province, energy ministry official Dadan Kusdiana told Reuters.
Indonesia pledges nickel mining clean up amid EV-led boom
Mining Technology

Indonesia’s president Joko Widodo said on Thursday that Indonesia will improve monitoring of environmental standards for nickel mining, Reuters reports. The announcement comes amid concerns over the impacts of producing the metal, which is used increasingly in electric vehicle (EV) batteries. Indonesia has the largest nickel reserves in the world.
Shell Puts a Stop to Singapore Biofuels, Base Oil Projects
Advanced BioFuels USA

Shell has decided not to go ahead with two projects it was studying to produce biofuels and base oils in Singapore, a company spokesperson said on Thursday. “We can confirm that we are stopping the exploration of two projects – a biofuels unit and a Group II base oil plant in Singapore,” the company told Reuters in an emailed statement.
Thailand looking to support ethanol as PE feedstock
Biofuels Digest

In Thailand, the Bangkok Post reports the government is preparing to take biofuel support one step further by supporting the use of ethanol as feedstock for bio-based polyethylene. The move is in anticipation of electric vehicles eventually taking over, freeing up ethanol for industrial use rather than for fuel blending as the country currently does. Ethanol production averages around 2 billion liters per year from cassava and sugarcane, with 26 distilleries operating and one under construction.
Malaysian Biodiesel Association urging government to roll out B20 nationwide
Biofuels Digest

In Malaysia, Bernama reports that the national biodiesel association wants the government to catch up with biodiesel mandates elsewhere, such as Indonesia, by ensuring the B20 mandate is implemented nationwide. So far, it has only been implemented in Pulau Langkawi, Kedah, Labuan and Sarawak even though it was launched in February 2020. The government says that it is implementing the mandate in phases but hasn’t indicated when the nationwide roll out will be finally completed.
Reservoir Link to build waste water treatment plant in Indonesia
NST Online

Reservoir Link Energy Bhd’s subsidiary PT EnviroTech Akva Indonesia has signed an agreement with PT Unilever Oleochemical Indonesia to build a new wastewater treatment plant in North Sumatra.
Tesla to build Shanghai factory to make Megapack batteries

Tesla Inc. opening a factory in Shanghai, capable of producing ten thousand Megapack energy product per year, to supplement output of Megapack factory in California, the company said in a tweet on Sunday. The news was first reported by Chinese state media outlet Xinhua. Elon Musk’s automaker will break ground on the plant in the third quarter and start production in the second quarter of 2024, Xinhua reported from a signing ceremony in Shanghai.

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