Biofuel, Biorefinery, Company initiatives, Investments, Partnership, Processing

Recent biorefinery deals

Abengoa has been selected by Fulcrum BioEnergy to build its first biorefinery, worth $200m, to be located in the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center, Nevada (USA). The facility will use gasification technology to convert municipal solid waste (MSW) into syncrude that will be upgraded into jet fuel.

Abengoa will be responsible for the turnkey execution of the plant including engineering, design and construction as well as a participating significantly in the development of the project. This initiative provides a sustainable alternative for the large volumes of municipal solid waste generated in the area every year, which would otherwise be disposed of in a landfill.

Late last year, Abengoa started operation of its new 25 mgpy cellulosic ethanol facility in Hugoton, Kansas. Abengoa’s plan is to offer licenses and contracts to parties covering every aspect of the industry – from process design to engineering, procurement and construction (EPC), supply of exclusive enzymes, as well as operations and marketing of the completed products from the facility.

The company claims to be one of the largest ethanol producers in the Americas, and the largest producer in Europe with a total of 867 mgpy installed production capacity among 15 commercial-scale plants in five countries.

In another biorefinery news, St1 Biofuels in Kajaani, Finland, is building a new biorefinery that will be co-located at a sawmill site, where the facility will use sawdust from softwood as feedstock to produce cellulosic ethanol at commercial scale. The process uses steam-explosion top open up the cellulosic structures of the sawdust, followed by enzymatic hydrolysis to extract the sugars for ethanol fermentation. St1 Biofuels’ proprietary pre-treatment and process technologies called Cellulonix is owned by North European Oil Trade Oy.

Novozymes announced that it formed a deal with St1 Biofuels for the company to supply the enzyme technology to the biorefinery. The plant will initially produce 10 million liters/year (2.7 million gallons/year) of cellulosic ethanol, and scalable to 50-100 million liters/year. Total investment is EUR 40 million of which 30% will come from investment grant.

Construction is scheduled to start in the second half of 2015, and production is expected to commence in 2016. Finland has implemented a mandate to increase the share of renewable energy in transport up to 20% by 2020.

About Doris de Guzman

Will Green Chemistry save the world or is it hype? Doris de Guzman examines alternative processing, new technology, R&D and other sustainability initiatives aimed at preventing pollution; replacing ingredients; and using renewable feedstocks in Green Chemistry. She has been covering the oleochemicals market for 15 years and spread her beat to inorganics, biofuels and green chemistry.


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