Green is the New Cool!

Insulation mats made form recycled PET bottles are already commercially available. They are very effective e.g. as geyser blankets or as roof insulation, are easy to install and pose no health threat.

Since we covered our geysers with PET-fibre blankets, the electricity consumption dropped by 15% (P. Steiner)

Carbon Capture

Put it simply: Carbon sequestration is about capturing CO2 that is emitted as a result of burning fossil fuels (e.g. oil, coal or gas) and storing it underground (for ever), thus lowering the CO2 levels and reducing global warming. For a more detailed explanation, have a look at wikipedia, where you will also find a concept of how a biomass business, like ours, can contribute to a negative CO2 footprint.

Furfural is made from 100% Natural Carbon

100% of the carbons in the furfural molecule are made by nature, through photosynthesis of CO2 and water. Furfural is made from the hemicellulose fraction of the biomass (see "how it is made?"). The hemicellulose is of no use to the food/feed value chain. 

Hemicellulose, is also the second most-abundant organic material in nature, typically representing 25–35% of lignocellulose by mass.

Furfural and Carbon Capture, Storage & Energy Savings

Furfural is a versatile chemical building block that is made from plant carbon. Therefore, any material that is made from furfural and that lasts 'forever', is a form of carbon storage. Using such materials to reduce (domestic) electricity consumption, will further reduce CO2 emission, where gas or coal-fired power-stations are used to generate the electricity that is used for heating or cooling a house.

The pathway from furfural to PET is explained in our "a truly biobased TPA for PET" article ( May 2015).

  • Furfural
  • PET
  • Bioplastics...


California Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has announced it will not list furfuryl alcohol, also known as 2-furanmethanol, as a chemical known to the State to cause cancer under Proposition 65 [1].

The substance is formed in foods during thermal processing and as a result of the dehydration of sugars, and is used to produce furan resins [2], as a chemical intermediate in the synthesis of other chemicals, and asa solvent in textile printing and alkaline


Food Chemical News, July 28, 2015 08:05 PM, by Ingrid Mezo


[1] Proposition 65 requires the State of California to publish a list of chemicals known to cause cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm.

[2] Furfural and its many By-products...



Farmer Bruce Nelson and a representative from biofuels company POET-DSM stand between square and round bales of corn stover stock piled outside of POET-DSM’s PROJECT LIBERTY cellulosic ethanol biorefinery.”

Selling the corn plant residue after their corn harvest has generated a new revenue stream for many farmers, including Bruce. Watch a video segment about Bruce’s story at the beginning of the film “Bioenergy: America’s Energy Future”.

In Africa we recommend to use the cobs, only or indigenous energy crops. We also have smaller biorefinery solutions, like the µ-Biorefinery or the GreenEnergyPark, which have the same economic outcome as in the USA: Additional income for the farmers.

The article below appeared on (US Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy). Read it at

Biorefineries Give Local Farmers Opportunities for Additional Income was originally published on Bioeconomy Consultants : Innovative Minds





Bioeconomy: $369bn and 4 Million Jobs Added to US Economy in 2013

Image Source: USDA

Each job in the US bioeconomy adds 1.64 jobs in adjacent sectors.
An economic impact analysis of the US biobased products industry showed that in 2013 4 million jobs and  US$369bn were added to US economy. In Africa, we can expect an even higher job creation rate (See: GreenEnergyPark™ biorefinery).
The following report was obtained from

A new report suggests the U.S. biobased products industry has a notable impact on the nation’s economy. It is the first research effort to quantify the effect of this industry from an economics and jobs perspective, according to U.S. Agricultural Secretary, Tom Vilsack.

“Before, we could only speculate at the incredible economic impact of the biobased products industry. Now, we know that in 2013 alone, America’s biobased industry contributed four million jobs and $369 billion to our economy,” Vilsack said.

According to report, each job in the biobased products industry generates 1.64 jobs in other sectors of the economy.  In 2013, 1.5 million jobs directly supported the production of biobased products, resulting in 1.1 million indirect jobs in related industries, and another 1.4 million induced jobs produced from the purchase of goods and services generated by the direct and indirect jobs.

The report presents detailed U.S. maps showing the impact of the industry on individual states. Seven case studies are also presented from stakeholders such as The Coca-Cola Company’s PlantBottle packaging, Patagonia’s biorubber neoprene alternative and Ford’s soy-based auto components.

The seven sectors analyzed in the report include agriculture and forestry, biorefining, biobased chemicals, enzymes, bioplastic packaging and textiles (the report does not include biobased fuels or other energy sources except when analyzing co-products). But these sectors alone are contributing to a significant reduction in the use of petroleum; the USDA estimates that the use of biobased products currently displaces about 300 million gallons of petroleum per year, equivalent to taking 200,000 cars off the road.

In addition to the report, Secretary Vilsack also announced improvements to the 2014 Farm Bill that will create additional opportunities for growth in renewable plant-based materials, supporting the Obama Administration’s efforts to develop a new rural economy and promote creation of sustainable jobs. Updates to the Biorefinery Assistance Program enable biorefineries that receive funding (under the rule, up to $250 million for the construction and retrofitting of commercial sale biorefineries) to produce more renewable chemicals and other biobased products, instead of primarily producing advanced biofuels. In addition, biobased product manufacturing facilities would be eligible to convert renewable chemicals and other biobased outputs of biorefineries into “end-user” products. The new regulations also implement a streamlined application process.

These announcements build on the USDA’s recent report, “Why Biobased?,” which outlines opportunities for U.S. agriculture and forests in the emerging bioeconomy. The USDA’s BioPreferred® program granted the first BioPreferred labels to products in 2011, setting the standard for those products that are composed wholly or significantly of agricultural ingredients, including renewable plant, animal, marine or forestry materials.

An update to the BioPreferred program rules, also announced by Vilsack last week, no longer excludes mature market products — those that had a significant market share prior to 1972). This provides consumers with more innovative wood products and other materials carrying the BioPreferred label, according to the USDA.

June 23, 2015, by Brynn W. McNally,


A single pass harvesting system, developed by farmers for farmers to unlock a viable renewables businesses.

Since 2002, DalinYebo Trading and Development (“DalinYebo”) has been looking for supplies of corncobs to make biorenewable chemicals. In 2010, as part of the award winning Cobelec business plan[1], DalinYebo undertook a survey of the mielie farming locations throughout South Africa. It was determine that there is sufficient usable biomass (maize-cobs) availability as a basis for the roll-out of the GreenEnergyPark™ concepts[2]. A GreenEnergyPark™ consists of simple and profitable applications for the transformation of biomass to energy (electricity) and/or chemicals.


How does one harvest corncobs?

With the drive for energy independence in the USA and the vast quantities of mielies (maize) planted, agricultural equipment manufacturers have been developing different ways to collect corncobs. The most outstanding collector was a system that has proven affordable and was developed by agricultural engineers who also are mielie farmers. Their on-the-go cob harvester is able to collect grain and corncobs in a single-pass with self-contained add-ons to the combine and the grain collection cart (see above picture). This system is easily adapted to South African farming practises.

For what will corncobs be used?

Quite simply, the corncobs collected will be used for the production of biorenewable chemicals and energy. Initially the main product will be an industrial chemical called furfural[3] The residue from this production will be used to e.g. generate power for furfural production and any other agro-processing industry operations in the area.


What is “furfural” and what is a “GreenEnergyPark™”?

Furfural is a liquid chemical, which is made from biomass such as corncobs, oat hulls, sunflower husks, sugarcane bagasse and that finds industrial application in the manufacture of resins (esp. for moulds in steel industry). It is also a building block and intermediary for other chemicals, polymers and plastics and also used in automotive, construction, aviation, chemical, pharmaceutical industries. The global market for furfural is growing and in 2010 the demand exceeded its supply. It has been industrially produced from different agricultural residues since 1922.

Based on a stable supply of corncobs, the co-production of furfural and energy (steam and electricity) is an ideal platform for agricultural processing operations to be grouped into or near a GreenEnergyPark™. This GreenEnergyPark™ could also serve existing processing facilities like grain milling, feed drying and fertilizer mixing, as well as benefit future farming related businesses.

DalinYebo has a secure long-term off-take for furfural, which therefore has the potential to immediately add (FOREX) revenue to mielie farming. In the long term, a GreenEnergyPark™ provides many possibilities for increased revenues to other farming related operations.

How much will it cost?

The overall investment for a new furfural plant that processes about 60,000 t of corncobs per year will be in the order of R50 million to R60million. Based on the biomass supply commitment, there will be co-investors from the global industry leaders. Investments by the farming community or other SA companies are welcomed. The modification cost to the agricultural equipment is minimal in the context of the overall business returns. The project payback period is around 4 years.

What are the risks?

The biggest risk is not to do anything about it! Timing is everything: Currently there are international investors who would like to visit South Africa as soon as possible to evaluate SA farmer’s willingness to supply corncobs on a long-term basis. This is an opportunity that is not to be missed.

I’m interested, how can I find out more about this opportunity?

For those interested in participation in this business opportunity, particularly with regard to corncob supply, are invited to meet representatives of the project promoters. The website contains background information about the GreenEnergyPark™ concept. More information will be provided and questions answered during our presentation. There will also be an opportunity for private meetings with farmers and/or other parties (e.g. contract harvesters) who have a serious interest.

Contact Details (Project Promoters):

DalinYebo Trading and Development (Pty) Ltd: 

or Brent McKeon, Marketing Director

Plant Earth Biopower:

or Mr. Mzwandile Sithole

or Prof. Mark Laing



  • Cobelec™
  • GreenEnergyPark™
  • Corncobs...


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