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Phase 1 of DOE-funded ABBA Integrated Biorefinery project begins; renewable jet, gasoline, diesel and nanocellulose

Phase 1 of the ABBA Integrated Biorefinery project, to be built at the AVAPCO Thomaston Georgia site, has begun. The project, which will co-produce full replacement renewable jet fuel, gasoline, diesel and Bioplus nanocellulose from woody biomass in an integrated biorefinery at AVAPCO’s site in Thomaston, Georgia, has received a $3.7-million award from the Department of Energy. (Earlier post.)

The project aims to demonstrate that co-production of high volume commodity fuels and low volume, high value co-products enables profitable biorefineries at commercial scale. ABBA integrates the biorefinery value chain by converting wood to cellulose and cellulosic sugars, which are then converted to cellulosic biojet and nanocellulose. Patented technologies and intellectual property will be provided by AVAPCO, Byogy and Petron. Technology collaborators also include the Renewable Bioproducts Institute at Georgia Tech and the University of Tennessee,Knoxville.

The $3.7-million Phase 1 DOE award was made under the program “Project Definition for Pilot- and Demonstration-Scale Manufacturing of Biofuels, Bioproducts, and Biopower”. Its scope includes definition engineering, permitting, and financing activities.

Upon successful completion of Phase 1, the project is also eligible for a subsequent Phase 2 award of up to $45 million from the DOE for construction and operation of the project.

  • AVAPCO’s AVAP technology has been demonstrated at the Thomaston Biorefinery since 2012 for co-production of biomass-derived lignocellulosic sugars, cellulosic ethanol, cellulosic butanol, nanocellulose, and lignin.

  • Petron will provide its innovative and proven Ethanol to Ethylene (ETE) conversion technology to demonstrate the conversion of cellulosic ethanol to ethylene.

  • The Byogy “Alcohol To Jet” (ATJ) (earlier post)processing facility, which has been successfully proven under extensive full replacement fuel testing with the US Air Force and the FAA CLEEN program, has also been relocated to the Thomaston site as part of the project to convert the bio-ethylene to full replacement biofuels.

Collaborators also include Dr. Yulin Deng, International Academy of Wood Science Fellow, at the Renewable Bioproducts Institute at Georgia Tech and Dr. Art Ragauskas, Governor’s Chair in Biorefining, at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, who will focus on developing high strength fibers from nanocellulose for textiles and automotive composite applications.

This segment of the project is co-funded by P3Nano, a Public-Private Partnership to Advance Commercialization of Cellulosic Nanomaterials established by the USFS Forest Products Laboratory and the US Endowment for Forestry & Communities.

ABBA will not only help advance the ATJ ASTM specification, but will demonstrate that integrating the full supply chain of technologies enables the production of drop in renewable fuels and high value co-products in a wood based biorefinery which is profitable even at today’s cost of crude oil.

—Kevin Weiss, CEO of Byogy Renewables

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