GeoSynFuels: Biofuels Digest’s 2015 5-Minute Guide

April 15, 2015 |

5-Minute-Guide-logoGeoSynFuels is a private, U.S. based company that has developed an economic method for the production of biofuels and biochemicals (including cellulosic ethanol and acetic acid). This technology “bolts-on” to existing sugar cane processing facilities (or other biomass facilities) and enables the production of significant incremental ethanol from the xylose fraction at low cost. The residue from the process (85% of the contained energy, 90 % of the fiberand 75% of the total biomass) is returned to host facility for its original use such as combustion or pulp production. The commercial viability of the process is grounded in the simplicity of the process and the synergistic sharing of the feedstock.

Rankings

40 Hottest Smaller Companies in the Advanced Bioeconomy, #31, 2014-15

The Situation

In March 2014, GeoSynFuels announced the acquisition of a cellulosic ethanol demonstration facility formerly owned and operated by the Blue Sugars Corporation. The demonstration facility, located in Upton, Wyoming, was originally constructed circa 2007 for the enzymatic conversion of wood feedstocks to ethanol.

The plant has a nominal capacity of 50 tons per day of biomass and in 2011 was converted to enable the processing of sugar cane bagasse. The plant is currently based on a typical enzymatic hydrolysis flowsheet and includes all unit operations through to final fuel-grade ethanol production. GSF plans to retrofit the existing flowsheet to its proprietary 5CS Technology.

GSF’s 5CS Technology is projected to enable the cost competitive production of cellulosic ethanol and allow GSF to play a part in displacing greenhouse gas generating transportation fuels. The 5CS Technology provides a plug-and-play ethanol package to existing biomass aggregators such as sugar cane processors, biomass-to-energy facilities and pulp mills, allowing them to realize new co-product revenues from the production of cellulosic ethanol.

The 5CS Technology derives its advantage by extracting and converting into ethanol only the hemicellulose portion of the biomass while leaving the feedstock relatively unaltered and suitable for their original obligated use. The core of the 5CS Technology is its proprietary fermentation platform which enables the conversion of five carbon sugars into economically viable ethanol. The platform represents a significant advance in fermentation technology and has the potential to play a key role in a variety of applications including the hosting of designer microbes for the production of alternative advanced biofuels and biochemicals.

Major Investors
High net worth family offices, strategic individual investors with knowledge of the biofuel
domain.

Type of Technology
Weak acid hydrolysis, continuous xylose fermentation

Feedstocks
Bagasse, pulp wood (Yellow Pine, Douglas Fir), elephant grass, other biomass

Products
Ethanol, Acetic Acid, Phenolic compounds

Product Cost
$0.805 per US gallon produced from bagasse

Past Milestones

Developed and operated a 1 tpd pilot facility on bagasse and Yellow Pine. Developed and operated a 10 tpd pilot facility on bagasse. Unit operations established included pretreatment, hydrolysate conditioning, and fermentation (including microbe development).

In February 2012, Sermatec Zanini and GeoSynFuels formed a strategic alliance for the development and commercialization of GSF’s proprietary cellulosic ethanol technology. In late 2014 GSF formed a commercial alliance with a major Brazilian thermal bioenergy group that utilizes eucalyptus, bagasse and other biomass for power generation and steam supply.  GSF is working closely with this group to reconfigure the demonstration facility and develop commercial opportunities.

Future Milestones

Design of a 50 tpd demonstration plant has been completed

First commercial facility

Business Model:

The GSF business model is focused on becoming a technology licensor with exploitation of
build-own-operate opportunities where appropriate.

Competitive Edge:

The ability to extract and ferment five-carbon sugars rapidly and efficiently with supporting
technologies for the production of clean xylose hydrolysate. The ability to completely
integrate with host site energy balance and product mix.

Research, or Manufacturing Partnerships or Alliances.

Sermatec Zanini (large EPC manufacturing group in Brazil)

Brazilian Bioenergy Group – not public at this time

Stage
Continuous pilot scale testing has been achieved.

Website

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