As a co-sponsor of the recent Fifth World Bio-Based Chemicals Conference in Rotterdam, Nexant led discussions with key bio-based chemical industry participants on topics ranging from pending product launches to achieving commercial-scale production and financing in the current global marketplace.
The bio-based chemicals conference was held in conjunction with the World Biofuels Markets Conference and the two co-located events attracted over a thousand delegates and 70 exhibitors representing the entire bio-based economic spectrum. Among the most hotly discussed issues was the impact of regulatory uncertainty on European advanced biofuels development.
“One of the key aspects emerging from our industry dialogue was that North America is now outpacing Europe in the field of bio-derived chemicals, thanks in part to a more supportive regulatory environment,” said Nexant Vice President Jonathan Bourne, who chaired the discussions. “The EU needs to be more decisive in supporting new and emerging technologies to increase self-sufficiency in energy and materials, which in turn could lead to a more favorable trade balance with other regions.”
Nexant Senior Vice President Richard Sleep agrees, believing that regulation is currently driving the pace of new technology development. “Increasingly the technology risk or end product quality is not the overriding concern for lenders and investors,” he said. “Rather, it is the uncertainty of the regulatory environment and its impact on demand and pricing – and therefore its impact on overall project economics – that is dominating thinking throughout the industry.”
According to Sleep: “This uncertainty is likely to continue, but we believe that technologies continue to develop and projects are overcoming regulatory hurdles to become financeable.”
“Nexant has taken the initiative in completing due diligence work for lenders and investors on many advanced technologies – such as pyrolysis, Fischer-Tropsch, plasma-assisted technologies, and enzymatic approaches – producing such products as hydrogenated vegetable oil (HVO), liquid fuels from waste biomass and algae, and many other oils, alcohols, acids, and olefins,” said Bourne. “A number of these technologies were just emerging from the laboratory when we first started in this industry.”
As a leading advisor in the biofuels and bio-based economy, Nexant provides independent assessments of technologies and markets, feasibility studies, price forecasting, strategic planning, and transaction advisory support.
Nexant offers a comprehensive suite of best-in-class energy enterprise software designed to transform utility business processes and implement smart grid and energy conservation initiatives. Over the last decade, it has been developing and commercializing technology solutions – such as iEnergy™, GRID360™, iHEDGE®, and RevenueManagerT® – enabling utilities, power producers, and retailers to operate and deploy new technologies and applications in the emerging grid. Operating from 32 offices in the U.S., Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, the company’s team of industry professionals has completed more than 3,000 client assignments in over 100 countries, and its software operates in over 120 control centers at utilities worldwide. Its clients include major utilities, transmission and distribution system operators, chemical and petroleum majors, financial institutions, government agencies and Fortune 500 companies.
Source: Nexant Inc., press release, 2013-03-25.