Blog

The Future of Trash is Fuel

Innovation
The world’s population creates an estimated 2.6 trillion pounds of garbage every year. The United States alone produced 251 million tons in 2012, making it the largest trash producer that year. Where does all that garbage go? From the trash can in your kitchen to the end of its lifecycle, garbage ultimately ends up in a number of different places, including landfills, incinerators, recycling centers or as pollution in our oceans and communities. Recycling has helped to reduce landfill capacity levels, but what if there was a way to further reduce the amount of trash that’s left behind? Abengoa’s newest technology, waste to biofuels (W2B), will alter the garbage lifecycle as we know it. It’s a simple concept: turning waste into biofuels—but the process is pretty sophisticated. Based on first-…
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Global Reach, Local Responsibility

Sustainability
While Abengoa’s corporate foundation — Fundación Fondo de Cultura de Sevilla (FOCUS) — was officially founded in 1982, its origins date back to 1972 when company officials got involved in a local movement to preserve some of Seville’s cultural artifacts. The activity galvanized Abengoa leadership around the belief that the company should go beyond the strict confines of business and engineering to play an integral role in solving social and environmental challenges. Since 1991, FOCUS-Abengoa has been located in Seville’s historic Hospital de los Venerables. Frogram FOCUS-Abengoa. The foundation strives to help children, women, the elderly and the disabled through a number of programs and events that highlight the core FOCUS pillars of welfare, education, research and culture. • Vuela, a scholarship program for the children of Abengoa employees, allows young…
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The Future of What’s Left Behind

Innovation
Abengoa’s patented second-generation (2G) cellulosic biotechnology process breaks down the tough fibers in corn stover to create naturally derived ethanol fuel. Let's see the science behind how we’re turning natural sugars in corn stover — the inedible stalks and husks left over after the harvest — into the next great renewable fuel with new enzymes that will help bring about a revolution in sugar-based, renewable materials.
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Abengoa Bioenergy joins industry elite

Innovation
Bioenergy is a long-haul business. Changing the trajectory of a 150-year-old industry takes patience. And when progress is measured in years, you rarely get to stop for a moment and celebrate a definitive milestone. But we’re doing that this month. Abengoa Bioenergy was just ranked one of the top 10 hottest bioenergy companies in the world out of more than 100,000 global companies. The annual rankings from Biofuels Digest recognize “innovation and achievement in fuels and integrated biorefinery development” and are the result of individual voting by both a panel of experts and the magazine’s readership. We’re particularly pleased that it’s our ongoing work with cellulosic ethanol production and the launch of our first commercial-scale biorefinery in Kansas that pushed us to the forefront. Among Biofuels Digest’s 50 hottest companies, more…
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Good citizenship equals good business

Sustainability
For many companies, social responsibility is an adjunct to the core business; a way to help better the communities that help sustain the core functions of the enterprise. It’s different for Abengoa: By creating long-term solutions to complex resource issues, our core business is the betterment of global communities. From second generation ethanol production from corn stover to global leadership in solar facilities, from water quality treatment to urban solid waste solutions, alternative and sustainable industries are the pathways we’ve chosen to demonstrate our commitment to good citizenship. The release of our 2013 Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Report makes this abundantly clear — and it’s open for all to see. More than detailing our charity investments in community social action programs (€ 9.1 million), employee hours volunteering (10,443), or even the number of human…
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A Big Day in Hugoton

Projects
On October 17, 2014, the Hugoton and Abengoa communities came together to celebrate the grand opening of the Hugoton, Kansas Next Generation Cellulosic Ethanol plant. The ceremony, officiated by Christopher Standlee, Executive Vice President of Global Affairs, represented the culmination of years of hard work that transformed the plant from a concept into a reality. The event included contributions from the community with the local Hugoton High School band and choral group performing the Star Spangled Banner. Esteemed guests included Jack Rowden, Mayor of Hugoton; Danny Allison, Abengoa Plant Manager; Sam Brownback, Governor of Kansas; Pat Roberts, U.S. Senator from Kansas; Dr. Ernest Moniz, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy; Javier Garoz Neira, Abengoa Bioenergy Chief Executive Officer; and Manuel Sanchez Ortega, Abengoa Chief Executive Officer. Those in attendance…
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Abengoa’s Gerson Santos-Leon, shaping bioenergy’s future

Sustainability
As executive vice president of Abengoa Bioenergy New Technologies, Gerson Santos-Leon has spent more than 10 years driving cellulosic ethanol’s transformation into a viable, successful and effective commercial product. In February, the Renewable Fuels Association recognized Santos-Leon’s role as a pioneer and his enormous contributions to the industry by awarding him the prestigious RFA 2014 Industry Award. Santos-Leon was laying the groundwork for a biofuel future long before his arrival at Abengoa. At the U.S. Department of Energy, he led the Biofuels Program and established many of the scientific and strategic touchstones that companies like Abengoa use today to advance and guide bioenergy initiatives. He pushed the U.S. government to invest in cellulosic biofuel and the technologies required to make processing more cost-effective, understanding that non-food energy crops would play…
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Innovating in America’s heartland

Innovation
At Abengoa, we believe progress hinges on finding new paths to moving forward. This month, we’re putting this approach into practice in Kansas, where we’re partnering with local producers to fuel our first commercial-sized cellulosic ethanol plant. Located in Hugoton, Kan., a small town in the state’s southwest, Abengoa Bioenergy Hybrid of Kansas (ABHK) isn’t a traditional ethanol plant. As a second-generation facility, it doesn’t require food crops to produce ethanol (the way first-generation plants do), but instead, uses corn stover — a byproduct of the typical corn harvest. Stover, which includes inedible husks, stalks and leaves, usually lies unused after a normal harvest. So, while our plant relies on the local harvest for biomass fuel, it doesn’t disrupt traditional food supplies in order to produce the 25 million gallons…
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Rural innovation, urban transformation

Innovation
If there’s one thing the people of Abengoa have learned, it’s this: Innovation has a forward momentum all its own. Like an irrepressible stream, technology constantly moves forward as one innovator builds upon the work of another; as one advancement leads to the next. It’s this unstoppable progression that’s taken Abengoa from the wind-swept cornfields of Kansas to the urban landfills of Salamanca, Spain, asking this question: If we can turn agricultural waste (corn stover) into energy, can we do it with urban solid waste? The signs are pointing to “yes.” Since July of 2013, Abengoa’s demonstration plant in Salamanca has been turning batches of solid municipal waste into ethanol with promising results — and the company is looking to bring the technology to urban centers in the U.S. Bioethanol…
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Why Kansas? (Hint: It’s not just about the corn)

Partners
The promise of second-generation ethanol production hinges on the ability to break down corn stover — the, tough, cellulose-dense husks, stalks and leaves left over after the harvest — and turn that inedible agricultural waste into fuel. So building a new 2G plant in Hugoton, Kan., is a no-brainer, right? After all, there are cornfields as far as the eye can see in every direction. Actually, it’s a bit more complicated than that. First off, while Abengoa’s new 2G plant is using corn stover to create ethanol at launch, it can actually be modified to take in a variety of cellulose-dense organic materials, including wheat straw, milo stubble and prairie grasses. Southwest Kansas has all these natural materials in abundance, allowing Abengoa to prove its technology on a variety of…
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