INEOS Bio: Biofuels Digest’s 2014 5-Minute Guide

February 23, 2014 |

Company description:

INEOS Bio is a BioEnergy company commercializing and licensing its novel thermo-chemical and bio-chemical technology for the production of renewable biofuels and renewable energy from a wide range of low-cost carbon materials. The company’s initial focus is the commercialization of its leading third-generation ethanol technology process to serve the global renewable fuels and the renewable energy markets.

Backed by decades of experience in developing and licensing industrial-scale technology, INEOS Bio creates more sustainable communities and transportation by converting waste and non-food crop biomass into advanced biofuel. The INEOS Bio bioenergy technology solution uses a flexible approach that is fast, safe and reliable, allowing it to be commercialized wherever there is waste. By taking this localized approach, INEOS Bio reduces landfill and air pollution, creates jobs, generates tax revenue and safely produces renewable fuel and clean energy.


50 Hottest Companies in Bioenergy: #8, 2013/14

30 Hottest Companies in Biobased Chemicals and Materials: #26, 2013/14

Biofuels Digest Awards

2012: Best Project (Hybrid) Award: INEOS BIO/New Planet Energy — Vero Beach, FL

The Situation

In Florida, INEOS Bio announced that its Indian River BioEnergy Center at Vero Beach is now producing cellulosic ethanol at commercial scale. First ethanol shipments will be released in August. This is the first commercial-scale production in the world using INEOS Bio’s breakthrough gasification and fermentation technology for conversion of biomass waste into bioethanol and renewable power.

The Center cost more than $130 million and created more than 400 direct construction, engineering and manufacturing jobs during its development. The project sourced more than 90% of the equipment from U.S. manufacturers, creating or retaining jobs in more than 10 states. The Center has 65 full- time employees and provides $4 million annually in payroll to the local community.

The BioEnergy Center is a joint venture project between INEOS Bio and NewPlanet Energy. The facility has already converted several types of waste biomass material into bioethanol, including vegetative and yard waste, and citrus, oak, pine, and pallet wood waste. The Center is also permitted to utilize municipal solid waste (MSW), quantities of which will be used for bioethanol production at the Center during 2014. It will have an annual output of eight million gallons (24kta) of cellulosic ethanol and six megawatts (gross) of renewable power.

The biofuels produced in Florida will anchor the new production of cellulosic ethanol under the U.S. Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS). INEOS Bio is working with other companies and cities globally to use this technology as a new direction for waste disposal and the production of advanced biofuels and renewable power.

The next phase

The Center will serve as a reference plant for future INEOS Bio facilities and for companies and cities interested in licensing the technology for similar facilities. As the largest licensor of chemical process technology in the world, INEOS will leverage its extensive expertise to bring this technology forward as an exciting new alternative for sustainable waste disposal.

“The project pipeline is very interesting,” said Dr. Williams, “and in the next months, depending on confidentiality requirements, there could be further plant announcements, but looking at the time it takes to construct, it will be a a couple of years before the next wave of plants.”

Future plant capacity

“It depends on the location,” noted INEOS Bio COO Mark Niederschulte. “We use the lingo of 1X or 2X Vero. The average size is probably 2X Vero, although we have a couple of 3X Vero. That 1X, 2X style helps with bankability and financing. They can touch it and watch it work at VEro and say “for 16M gallons – I need four of those and two of those and a bigger one of those.

Feedstock trends?

“The mix of feedstocks will entirely depend on the location, Said Williams. “The system is designed to be agnostic, between wood waste, MSW and ag waste. What really is the trend is that you have to have economics, and then we see communities that are either looking to work on greenhouse gas emissions, or seeking a great solution to waste problems in communities.

Moving from Mechanical Completion to regular operations

The plant was mechanically complete in the first half of last year — and critics became vocal about shortcomings in the core technology when the plant did not complete its commissioning period more quickly.

As it turns out, the long commissioning period had little to do with the core technology — but rather, issues that come from being a new industrial plant in a non-industrial area.

“As we moved from mechanical completion to where we are today,” said Niederschulte, “we were surprised at extent to which we had to deal with non core technology issues. For example, there was Florida Power & Light, which had a number of power outages. As we got our power export system to cooperate, with the frequent storms, we experienced a number of issues caused by problems in the grid that backed into our plant and caused us to shut off the plant’s power. This system is designed to operate continuously, and it can be a painful restart that takes a couple of weeks.

“Another example,” Niederschulte told the Digest, “we designed the system to take landfill gas but there were problems with the landfill gas compressor at the Indian County landfill. We lost steam a couple of times and that shut down the turbine generator. It’s been a bit frustrating, because you don’t expect issues like that in commercializing new technology.

The fix? “As we’ve done a retrospective, we don’t want to learn the same lesson twice,” Niederschulte noted. “We’ve modified the design to deal with the issues we’ve seen in the interface between our facility and the outside. It works fantastically.

Moving towards full capacity

“With any plant, you turn it on, then start pushing it find out the bottlenecks,” Niederschulte said. “In this phase, we’ve got some not very expensive equipment to install – soon – probably September. Then we’ll see how those modifications lead us to another bottleneck, or it could be that that’s it. But we’re starting to see increased production, from better feedstock handling and processing, and improved overall operation. Until those mechanical changes are complete we’ll continue to see some constraints.”

Major Investors
INEOS is the sole owner of the company and technology.

Type of Technology(ies)
The INEOS Bio process is a combined thermochemical and biochemical technology for ethanol and power production. Under development for over 20 years, including 8 years of successful integrated pilot plant testing, it is comprised of four main steps: (1) feedstock gasification, (2) synthesis gas fermentation (3) ethanol recovery and (4) power generation. The process utilizes a patented fermentation process, where cleaned, cooled synthesis gas is converted selectively into ethanol by a naturally occurring bacterium under anaerobic conditions.

The INEOS Bio process is feedstock flexible. Unlike other technologies that rely on one primary source of feedstock, the INEOS Bio process has been extensively tested and can produce bioethanol and renewable energy from numerous feedstocks, including vegetative, yard, construction waste, municipal solid waste and forestry and agricultural waste. Use of waste material breaks the link between food crops and ethanol production. This flexibility allows facilities to be built anywhere in the world, wherever there is biomass waste, providing jobs and locally sourced waste solutions and renewable energy for urban and rural communities. The range of organic materials that can be used includes, but is not limited to:
• Municipal Solid Waste (MSW)
• Commercial & industrial wastes
• Contaminated waste wood
• Forestry wastes (e.g. brash, bark, saw dust, wood chippings)
• Agricultural wastes (e.g. sugar cane bagasse, corn stover, straw)
• Lingo-cellulose energy crops (e.g. trees, coppice, miscanthus and switch grass)

Fuel Type
Cellulosic Ethanol

Fuel Cost
We forecast the ability to produce cellulosic ethanol for $1.00 per gallon (or less).

Co-products (if applicable)

Renewable Power

3 Top Past Milestones

• Commercial Facility Under Construction – construction began in Spring 2011, is now 25% complete, and will be finished in April 2012
• Successful Financing – all financing has been completed for the first commercial project including strong support from the U.S. Government. First large-scale facility to complete both DOE Grant and USDA Loan Guarantee process.
• Continue Extensive Technology Development — To date the technology has over 340,000 hours in the laboratory and over 45,000 hours of integrated pilot plant time (8+ years);

• Commissioned the first commercial facility in 2012 – November, the facility began producing renewable power, and began producing cellulosic ethanol in August 2013. The company registered the first RINs from cellulosic ethanol production (14,000) in January 2014.

• First RINs in 2014

3 Major Milestone Goals for 2014-15
• Build additional larger-scale facilities in the U.S. and around the World;
• License technology globally to third-parties.

Business Model:
INEOS Bio is the owner/operator of the first commercial-scale plant via a joint venture.

INEOS will build, own and operate facilities and actively license the technology. As the leading licensor of chemical process technology, INEOS currently has over 270 licenses for its technologies in 51 countries around the World. INEOS will utilize a similar approach and leverage its skills, experience and resources to replicate this leading technology on a global basis.

Competitive Edge:
INEOS Bio has an experienced team of engineers, scientists, IP Legal, business development, logistics, and marketing professionals who have developed and commercialized new chemical process technologies and who have designed, built, commissioned and operated world-scale facilities.

The technology has been successfully demonstrated at an integrated pilot scale utilizing a wide range of feedstocks.

The technology has a competitive advantage versus other biofuels technologies through its feedstock flexibility and ability to covert a number of different carbonaceous materials into both biofuels and renewable power. The INEOS Bio technology can be located near both the feedstock and distribution centers, thus providing an advantage for logistics intake as well as fuel off take and generation of renewable power. The ability to use zero or negative cost feedstocks provides an advantage in producing a lower cost and competitive biofuel.

The plant has the ability to switch feedstocks based on their availability and relative cost to ensure that it is always using the most economically and environmentally sustainable feedstock at all times.


Commercial. The first commercial facility entered service in 2012.

Company website

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Category: 5-Minute Guide

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