INEOS Bio: Biofuels Digest’s 2015 5-Minute Guide

February 17, 2015 |

5-Minute-Guide-logoINEOS 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.

The BioEnergy Center at Vero Beach 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.

Rankings

50 Hottest Companies in Bioenergy: #21, 2014/15

Biofuels Digest Awards

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

The Situation

“With any plant, you turn it on, then start pushing it find out the bottlenecks,” COO Mark Niederschulte told the Digest. “In this phase, we’ve got some not very expensive equipment to install. 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.”

In a report filed by the State of Florida in 2014, it was disclosed that “although the [INEOS Bio New Planet Energy] facility in Vero Beach, Florida is officially operating, very little fermentation or production of ethanol from the production fermentor has occurred, primarily because of the sensitivity of the bio-organisms in the fermentation process to high levels of [hydrogen cyanide] in the syngas.”

As a result, “installation of a HCN scrubber is essential for the fermentation process to be successful.”

According to INEOS Bio, the company remains highly committed to the project and sees the emergence of the problem with high HCN levels as the kind of challenge under at-scale operating conditions that exemplifies first-of-kind technology and that companies like INEOS have the team, technologies, and time to address.

Florida reported: “The HCN in the syngas is toxic to the bio-organisms in the fermentation process and INPB has determined through pilot scale testing that HCN at a level of 15 ppm is too high for the bio-organisms in the fermentation process to survive. It has been determined that the maximum HCN concentration for bio-organisms survival is less than 10 ppm with levels of less than 1 ppm of HCN required for the fermentation bio-organisms to survive and to reliably meet the project design targets.”

In September 2014, INEOS Bio reported: “INEOS Bio’s Vero Beach facility has recently completed a major turn-around that included upgrades to the technology as well as completion of annual safety inspections. We are now bringing the facility back on-line,” said Nigel Falcon, Site Director. “In addition we will soon finish installation of equipment that will be used to remove impurities from one of our process streams that have been negatively impacting operations. This equipment will be commissioned and brought online over the remainder of the year.”

“We’ve spent the last year investigating and testing options for improving the operation of the facility, both at the Center as well as at our pilot facility in Fayetteville Arkansas. We decided on the optimum path forward and are in the final stages of implementing the required changes,” Falcon continued. “Over the next six months, we will focus on implementing these upgrades at the Center as we look to continue to build its on-stream performance and reliability.”

Concluded Falcon, “We fully expected to encounter new challenges as we scaled up this exciting new technology. We’ve taken the time to develop solutions that will enable reliable production of high quality bioethanol. The efforts moving forward will continue to focus on safe operations, optimizing the technology, and de-bottlenecking the plant to achieve full production capacity.”

Major Investors

INEOS is the sole owner of the company and technology.

Technology

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.

Feedstocks

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

INEOS forecasts the ability to produce cellulosic ethanol for $1.00 per gallon (or less).

Co-products (if applicable)

Renewable Power

3 Top Past Milestones

In 2013, 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.

• 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 

• 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.

Company website

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