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UK firm to develop advanced biofuel facilities in China
A UK biotechnology developer is working with authorities in China that will lead to a series of second generation biofuel facilities for the BRIC country. Second generation biofuels technology developer TMO Renewables (TMO) in Surrey has signed of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the authorities of Heilongjiang, China to secure biomass feedstock supply for future biofuel production facilities. These will be based at Heilongjiang State Farm, the largest state owned farming corporation in China.
The MOU, for long term large volume biomass feedstock supply for the biofuel production facilities, is the first step towards building the first of a future series of second generation biofuel production facilities in China. TMO will be able to assess the full potential of the farm’s feedstock using its Process Demonstration Unit (PDU) in Surrey.
The UK's first cellulosic demonstration facility, the PDU is used to conduct feasibility studies on a wide range of feedstocks to determine the optimal process for each material for clients at a commercially relevant scale.
David Weaver, CEO of TMO, said, of the latest agreement: "The scale of this opportunity is exciting and we are delighted to be developing our presence in China further. This is the first step towards building one of the first second generation biofuel facilities in China. Our network in China is growing and we look forward to announcing an offtake agreement for the ethanol produced, another key element that needs to be in place for the delivery of an operational plant in the province."
Mr. Zhang Guichun, director-general of HSF 93 farm, said, "Second generation ethanol production has been part of our strategy at the Heilongjiang State farm for some time and so we are excited to see the first step in the realisation of this strategy and eager to see the future plant start production as soon as possible."
With a population of over 38 million people and covering an area of 473,000km2, Heilongjiang's most significant economic activity is agriculture. In conjunction with its principle shareholder, Diverso, TMO has been building a successful track record of working in China and is able to leverage that experience to its advantage in its work in Heilongjiang.
In May 2011, TMO announced that it had been selected to be evaluated as the technology partner of two major organisations in China. This included the COFCO, China's largest diversified products and services supplier in the agribusiness and food industry, and CNOOC New Energy Investment Co, a wholly owned subsidiary of the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), one of the largest state-owned oil companies.