Whilst some are still to be convinced of the business model of biofuel storage, interesting news from France where the Dépôt pétrolier de Port-La-Nouvelle (DPPLN) storage terminal is converting from oil to biodiesel and in the process becoming the country’s first dedicated biodiesel hub on the Mediterranean coast. The news comes just days after an announcement that European countries will increase solid biofuels imports to 50-80 million tonnes by 2020.
For the uninitiated biodiesel is a renewable fuel produced from vegetable oils such as rape seed oil, sunflower seed oil, soy-bean oil and also used frying oils (UFO) or animal fats. For the transport sector, it may be effectively used both when blended with fossil diesel fuel and in its pure form. A number of advantages exist in the development of biodiesel as a transport fuel, most clearly in that it does not require any changes in the distribution system, therefore avoiding expensive infrastructure changes. Biodiesel has also been seen to have significant environmental benefits in terms of decreased global warming impacts, reduced emissions, greater energy independence and a positive impact on agricultural practices and revenues. (For more on bio-fuels visit the European Biodiesel Board.)
The DPPLN Terminal is a 45,000m3 facility consisting of 10 tanks and two jetties capable of reception, storage and distribution of biofuels and vegetable oils and will also continue to offer blending and mixing services.
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Biodiesel has been produced on an industrial scale in the European Union since 1992, largely in response to positive signals from the EU institutions. Today, there are approximately 120 plants in the EU producing up to 6,100,000 tonnes of biodiesel annually. These plants are mainly located in Germany, Italy, Austria, France and Sweden. Specific legislation to promote and regulate the use of biodiesel is in force in various countries including Austria, France, Germany, Italy and Sweden. The conversion of the DPPLN Terminal is in line with European regulations that see the fuel as evolving significantly and being created to strict guidelines with CEN Standardisation (EN14214) in place in order to insure quality and performance.
The DPPLN terminal is not the only terminal to switch to focussing on biodiesels. Earlier this month a newly built terminal in Brooklyn that is predicted to turn out as much as 50 million gallons of biodiesel a year was announced. The recent Tank World Expo and Congress featured over 85 speakers and a recurring theme was the shift from crude oil to refined products. Cleaner and lighter fuels and alternate fuels are in greater demand than even before and the development of the DPPLN terminal is the latest example of this growing trend for our industry.