Licella, Canfor form JV for low-cost, drop-in biofuels from wood residues and biomass

May 29, 2016 |

BD TS 053016 smLicella and Canfor will form a joint-venture under the name “Licella Pulp Joint Venture” to integrate Licella’s unique Catalytic Hydrothermal Reactor upgrading platform into Canfor Pulp’s kraft and mechanical pulp mills to economically convert biomass, including wood residues from Canfor Pulp’s kraft pulping processes, into biocrude oil, to produce next generation biofuels and biochemicals.

This additional residue stream refining would allow Canfor Pulp to further optimise their pulp production capacity. Upon successful integration of the Cat-HTR technology, the Licella Pulp Joint Venture would look towards offering this solution to other third party Kraft and mechanical pulp mills.

This agreement follows a successful program of preliminary trials conducted on feedstock from Canfor Pulp’s Prince George, British Columbia pulp mill at Licella’s pilot plants located in New South Wales, Australia. In these trials, wood residue streams from Canfor Pulp’s kraft process were successfully converted into a stable biocrude oil.

More about one of the world’s most promising ventures for low-cost biofuels

The Wonder from Down Under: The Digest’s Multi-Slide Guide to Licella

We highlighted Licella as one of the “8 under $70”: biofuels ventures that can beat out cheap oil

And we highlighted this technology in this round-up on hot technologies in hydrotreating, catalytic cracking, pyrolysis, metathesis, supercritical, and catalytic reforming. We called it “the big new wave heading for biofuels and biobased chemicals at scale.”

Licella’s Fibre Fuelsdrop-in biofuels, in pictures

Australian Government awards $10 million to Licella, Muradel as accelerator towards commercial scale.


More about Licella and its process

Ignite Energy has developed a proprietary lignite and biomass upgrading platform, the Catalytic Hydrothermal Reactor (Cat-HTR).  IER operates via three subsidiaries, Ignite Resources Pty. Ltd. (applying Cat-HTR to lignite), Licella Pty. Ltd. (applying Cat-HTR to biomass) and Gippsland Gas Pty. Ltd. (biogenic natural gas resource). Within IER’s resource division are the exploration rights to a 16 billion tonne lignite deposit, which represents 8% of the world’s economically recoverable lignite.

Licella uses the Cat-HTR platform to convert a variety of low-cost, non-edible biomass into a stable biocrude oil, which can be refined, in a conventional refinery, into next generation biofuels and biochemicals. Licella’s Cat-HTR can theoretically process any form of ligno-cellulosic biomass, without the need to dry the feedstock prior to processing.

Over the past eight years Licella has invested AUD$60 million in its technology development, conservatively yet progressively scaling up its Cat-HTR platform to its current generation three version. Licella is now on track to scale up to its generation four version (only a ten times scale up), aligned to be the commercial scale module of its now tried and tested reactor.

More about Canfor

Canfor Pulp owns and operates three mills in Prince George, BC with a total capacity of 1.1 million tonnes of Premium Reinforcing Northern Bleached Softwood Kraft Pulp and 140,000 tonnes of kraft paper, as well as one mill in Taylor, BC with an annual production capacity of 220,000 tonnes of Bleached Chemi-Thermo Mechanical Pulp.

Reaction from the stakeholders

“Biofuels and biochemicals represent the next frontier in the utilization of sustainable wood fibre to produce green energy and chemicals,” said Don Kayne, CEO of CPPI.  “This initiative underscores Canfor Pulp’s commitment to innovation and the importance of green energy and chemicals in our future product mix, and we look forward to developing this potentially transforming technology with Licella.”

“The Cat-HTR process is a strong technical fit for the kraft process,” said Brett Robinson, President of CPPI.  “The opportunity to directly produce advanced biofuels from our existing streams could transition Canfor Pulp from being strictly a pulp and paper manufacturer to a bio-energy producer as well.  The Licella technology has significant similarities to our existing processes which makes this partnership a natural fit.”

“Licella’s Cat-HTR technology may add significant value to Canfor Pulp’s kraft process by creating new products from Canfor Pulp’s waste streams,” said Dr Len Humphreys, CEO of Licella.  “What we are potentially building towards is a bio-refinery to utilise the entire tree, rather than part of the tree.”

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