Aemetis gets U.S. Forest Service grant for waste wood to carbon zero jet/diesel patented process

May 23, 2021 |

In California, Aemetis was notified of a grant from the U.S. Forest Service toward the commercialization of a patented process that extracts cellulosic sugars from waste orchard wood, waste forest wood, and other biomass. The sugars from waste wood could potentially be used to produce high value cellulosic ethanol at the existing 65 million gallon per year Aemetis ethanol plant, while the remaining lignin material is expected to be used in the production of negative carbon intensity, cellulosic hydrogen for use in renewable jet and diesel production at the Aemetis Carbon Zero 1 plant being built in Riverbank, CA.

“The ionic liquids technology has the potential to extract sugars from waste wood at an industrial scale to create valuable biofuels from materials that otherwise may contribute to forest fires, creating air pollution and carbon emissions as well as property damage and loss of life,” said Larry Swan, Wood & Biomass Utilization Program Leader, U.S. Forest Service Pacific Southwest Regional Office. “We look forward to eventual deployment of this technology to use forest wood waste to supply Aemetis ethanol plants with low cost cellulosic sugars and provide lignin as a feedstock for other uses.”

“Aemetis has an exclusive license from JBEI for a patented process that extracts cellulosic sugars comprising up to 55% of woody biomass, and we have already produced cellulosic ethanol that tested equal in performance to traditional ethanol,” stated Dr. Goutham Vemuri, Vice President of Technology Development at Aemetis.  “This breakthrough technology was initially developed with $3 million of grant funding from the California Energy Commission and this U.S. Forest Service grant will further advance our plan to build a commercial production plant.”

The DOE Bioenergy Technology Office (BETO) has identified more than one billion tons per year of renewable, low carbon intensity, low cost, waste wood from forests, orchards and other biomass sources that can be used for biofuels and biochemicals production.  The DOE has provided extensive funding for process technologies that convert this abundant, domestic feedstock source into renewable fuels, resulting in patented technologies such as the ionic liquids process developed by JBEI.

The Carbon Zero 1 biorefinery is scheduled to be completed and begin operations in 2023 with a capacity of 45 million gallons per year of renewable jet and diesel fuel, then double production capacity to 90 million gallons per year by 2025.

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Category: Fuels

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