Environmental Engineering Reference
In-Depth Information
with an annual capacity of 1 million gallons of ethanol. Feedstock includes wheat
straw, barley straw, corn stover, and waste wood [62].
Mascoma Corporation ( http://www.mascoma.com ) is located in Massachusetts
and was founded around the key technology of genetically-engineered bacteria
that are capable of fermenting both hexoses and pentoses into ethanol. The com-
pany has recently raised $30 million and is building a 1.5-2.0 million gallon/year
demonstration level lignocellulosic ethanol plant.
Poet ( http://www.poetenergy.com ) is one of the largest corn-based ethanol pro-
ducers. With the help of an $80 million DOE grant, the company is expanding one of
its plants in Iowa to produce 125 million gallons/year, of which 25 million gallons
will be from lignocellulose (corn cobs and/or corn kernel fiber). Poet is currently
researching possible methods for the collection and storage of corn cobs and the
expanded facilities are expected to be operational by 2011.
Ranger Fuels ( http://www.rangefuels.com/home ) has began construction of a
demonstration 20 million gallons/year lignocellulosic ethanol plant in Georgia (to be
commissioned in 2009). The plant will use a thermochemical process (gasification
and catalyst transformation) to turn wood, grasses, corn stover, and other available
agricultural biomass into fuel ethanol.
Verenium ( http://www.verenium.com /) was created by the merger of the former
Celunol and Diversa companies. With DOE funding of $40 million, the company is
in the process of building a 1.4 million gallon/year demonstration plant at Louisiana.
The feedstock will include sugarcane bagasse, hard wood, rice hulls, and other
agricultural residues.
ZeaChem, Inc. ( http://www.zeachem.com /) has a technology that biologically
transforms hemicellulose and cellulose into acetic acid. The acetic acid is then
hydrogenated in a thermochemical process using hydrogen produced from gasifi-
cation of lignin, to produce ethanol. Since no carbon dioxide is released during the
biochemical conversion process, this process has a higher ethanol yield (up to 160
gallons/dry ton biomass) compared to the hydrolytic methods [63]. The plan is to
build a 1.5 million gallon per year plant in Oregon with operational start-up in late
8 Summary
Global energy consumption will continue to increase, even as the reserves of eas-
ily available fossil fuels decline. Until alternative energy sources are developed for
transportation, liquid fuels will remain in high demand. Crude oil production will
be unable to meet future demands at affordable prices and fuels from renewable
feedstocks will play a key role in contributing to the supply of liquid transport fuels.
Lignocellulose is a natural abundant material created by plants from sunlight,
nutrients, and CO 2 capture. The potential volume of lignocellulose that can be the-
oretically produced and harvested is considerable and sufficient to make a major
contribution to liquid transport fuel volume. In practice, there are several major chal-
lenges to lignocellulosic biomass production, collection, and storage that were not
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