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Transformative Technologies 2010 nominees: Cellulosic ethanol (international)

| June 7, 2010

Nominations: Cellulosic ethanol – International
To vote in Transformative Technologies 2010, visit here.

Five French partners and Uhde have launched BioTfueL, a $155.1 million project that uses the Fischer-Tropsch process to convert torrified wood biomass into drop-in renewable fuels. The group will launch two pilot projects in France, that will commence operation in 2012. According to a report in The Engineer, the Uhde process is based on the Koppers-Totzek coal gasification process developed in the 1930s, and a PDQ process for generating hydrogen-replete syngas from biomass.

In Switzerland, Butalco announced that it will produce its first cellulosic ethanol in summer 2010, using its new yeast technology on agricultural waste iat its a pilot plant in Southern Germany. According to the company, Butalco’s new microbial catalysts enable up to 30% increased yields in cellulosic ethanol production.

Chempolis has signed a $73 million license and EPC agreement with Tianjin Jiuqian Paper Co Ltd. to supply three formico biorefineries, each capable of producing 100,000 t/a of bleached wheat straw pulp. The new plants are scheduled to start up in 2012-2013. Chempolis’ scope of supply will cover formico technology licence and supplying EPC services (engineering, procurement, commissioning and start-up services).

Novozymes, COFCO, and oil refiner Sinopec, signed a MOU for the construction of a cellulosic ethanol demonstration plant by COFCO and Sinopec, which Novozymes will supply with enzymes. The new 3 Mgy plant will debut  in Q3 2011 and will produce ethanol from corn stover. The new plant will be the largest demonstration facility converting agricultural waste into biofuel in China. China’s agricultural residues alone exceed 700 million tones annually.

Greenfeld Ethanol
GreenField Ethanol announced plans to partner with DNP Green Technology to construct a $49 million project to produce an undisclosed quantity of succinic acid from biomass for use in the aviation de-icing industry. Succinic acid, a four-carbon also known as spirit of amber, is less corrosive than traditional deicers. The companies said that they will apply to the Canadian and Ontario governments for economic support of the project.  The companies will use grains such as corn as feedstocks for the conversion process.

HCL CleanTech
HCL CleanTech, a U.S.-Israeli biofuels technology development company, has chosen North Carolina as the site for its administrative headquarters and first pilot plant. The company’s technology utilizes hydrochloric acid to break down lignocellulose, which releases starches for enzymatic fermentation into fuel alcohol.  In the process, HCL CleanTech recovers the hydrochloric acid, which allows maximum efficiency of enzymes while re-using the acid.

Inbicon — which opened its pilot-scale 1.4 Mgy cellulosic ethanol plant in Kalundborg in December, announced that it had signed a memorandum of understanding with Otoka Energy and Great River Energy to license its technology for a cellulosic ethanol refinery in North Dakota. The proposed project  refinery will convert over 400,000 tons of wheat straw into fractions of liquid fuels, solid-fuel lignin pellets, and other co-products, and would be integrated with the adjacent 62 MW coal-fired Spiritwood Station being constructed by Great River Energy in North Dakota.

In June, Shell  announced a further investment in Iogen Energy to fund research and development activities at Iogen Energy until mid-2012. Iogen Energy is currently operating its Ottawa demonstration plant on a continuous basis using the proven R7 technology release.  Over the last 12 months, Iogen Energy has produced more than 170,000 gallons of cellulosic ethanol from wheat straw using its R7 technology.  Shell’s additional funding will be used to develop and demonstrate Iogen Energy’s next two major technology releases, R8 and R9, which will significantly reduce the capital and operating costs per gallon of cellulosic ethanol.

As of May, Lignol announced that it has met operability targets and has operated its pilot cellulosic ethanol plant 24 hours per day, 5 days per week in recent months. Next steps for the $40 million project in Burnaby, British Columbia, according to the company, are now involve achieving preliminary benchmark performance targets on hardwood feedstock with which to confirm engineering designs for demonstration and commercial scale projects.

Pune-based Praj Industries (BOM:522205), listed on the Bombay and National Stock Exchanges of India, is focused on the production of bioethanol and biodiesel. It realised early on that feedstock availability would be the main constraint on its production; and as a result it is exploring different feedstocks such as sweet sorghum, safflower and algae. Additionally, the company has entered the water and wastewater business due to the waste streams of its biofuels production. It currently uses waste streams from biofuels to produce energy and fertilizer.

Development of a Cellulose to Ethanol process based on Enzymatic Cellulose Hydrolysis after dilute acid pre-treatment and fermentation of C5 and C6 sugars. The technology is verified in the unique pilot plant  operated on 24/7 basis since 2004, accumulated running time now exceeds 19 000 hours. Technology is ready to be scaled up to the first commercial ethanol plant integrated with sugarcane based ethanol and/or heat and power generation plant for soft wood.

St1 Biofuels
Producer of ethanol, subsidiary of Finnish privately owned energy company St1 Oy.  While producing sustainable bioethanol, Etanolix technology also provides a sustainable waste management system and reduces the total amount of waste.

TMO Renewables

In the UK, TMO Renewables announced that it has completed an $18 million financing round in support of its entry into the US market. The company received support in this round from Jupiter Asset Management, Noble Group, RAB Capital, Presnow Limited , Diverso Management, and Libra Advisors. The company’s second generation technology for cellulosic ethanol production can be applied in retrofit to existing corn ethanol plant, increasing yields by 10% to 15%, or applied to new-build, ‘non-food’ biofuel facilities.

The company will produce renewable diesel, renewable gasoline and renewable kerosene from bio-oil made from fats, oils and wood waste, and will also produce a renewable naphtha. The plant is now expected to debut at a 5.5 Mgy capacity, up from an original disclosures of an initial capacity of  680,000 gallons per year. The plant is now expected also to have a potential capacity in the 55 Mgy range.

Weyland / Statoil Hydro
Weyland plant – Ethanol pilot acid hydrolysis outside Bergen, Norway. Woody biomasss feedstock.

Woodland Biofuels
The Woodland project is scheduled to be completed by mid-2011 and will produce less than 1 Mgy from wood waste. The demonstration plant will be constructed at the Sarnia-Lambton Research Park, part of the University of Western Ontario. The $50 million Innovation Demonstration Fund provides up to 50 percent of eligible costs for approved pre-commercialization projects with funds of $100,000 up to $4 million per project, taking the form of loans or equity investments.

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