Biofuel in Azerbaijan: Interests and difficulties

Analysis Materials 15 May 2012 17:56 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, May 15 / Trend /

Azer Ahmedbeyli, Trend analytical centre expert

A growing number of large companies are investing in bioprocessing enterprises. This industry has massive potential in creating new markets, ensuring energy security, developing new technologies, and reducing pressure on the environment.

Azerbaijan will also build a complex for electricity generation from biogas, the head of apparatus of the Ministry of Energy and Industry of Azerbaijan, Rasim Mammadov, told reporters on Tuesday.

"The foundation of the complex will be laid in November, construction will last two years," he said. He noted that near the factory a large animal complex will be built, which will provide the factory with raw materials.

But being a young industry, there are technical, commercial and strategic challenges for the wide industrial production of bioproducts in the country. Technical difficulties are, first of all, the
availability of the required amount of feed raw materials, which would be able to meet demand. This can be achieved if to pay attention on such things as plant genomics, breeding programs, the chemical engineering of desirable traits - resistance to drought, cold, and the composition of sugars, improvement of the quality and stability of the enzyme, the establishment of factories for the cultivation of microorganisms, the optimization of technological processing, as well as logistics, given the seasonality of raw materials, biomass briquetting, its storage and transportation. The complexities of a commercial nature are integration into the existing supply chain, finance, and the uncertainty associated with the novelty and non-traditional activities in this sphere.

Bioprocessing companies can be compared with oil refining, but here the raw material is biomass - biological material, composed of living or recently living organisms, which as a result of processing is converted into fuel, energy, chemicals, materials and food. And we should make a reservation that bioproducts in any link of the supply chain from raw material to production is not yet a clear alternative to the petrochemical sector.

However, interest in this new branch from the large business and governments is due, above all, to a number of global risk factors: deteriorating economy of mineral resources, energy and geopolitical security of states, rising public pressure in issues of environmental safety, the increase in demand due to rapid population growth.

Azerbaijan, despite the presence of rich deposits of fossil energy sources will develop alternative energy. This is not an attempt to follow the fashion, but a conscious task, whose aim is sustainable development and conservation of national resources of the country for future generations.