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Royal Nedalco to Skip Pilot, Go Straight to 200M Liter Cellulosic Ethanol Plant

Ethanol Statistics. Ger Bemer, Chief Executive Officer at Royal Nedalco, says that his company will skip the pilot plant phase for cellulosic ethanol production and instead will go straight to building its previously announced full-scale production plant in Sas van Gent, the Netherlands, with an annual capacity of approximately 200 million liters (52.8 million gallons US).

In March, Royal Nedalco and Mascoma Corporation signed a license and joint development agreement to further their initiatives to commercialize ethanol production from lignocellulosic biomass. (Earlier post.) Concurrent with the announcement of the partnership, Royal Nedalco announced the Sas van Gent plant.

“We are able to skip the pilot plant phase because our production technology is based on yeast, rather than bacteria” Mr. Bemer explains. “It’s a technology that we as an alcohol producer are very familiar with because it has been the work horse in the industry for years. We know how it reacts on a relatively small scale, and because it is a fairly robust system, we are confident that we can predict how it will react when implemented on a full size industrial scale.”

“This is very different from technology based on bacteria, which is extremely sensitive to infections, making it very difficult to scale up. Although it is not impossible to keep such large systems completely free of infections, it is simply too expensive. For that reason, most companies that aim to develop bacteria based technology gradually increase the size of their pilot plants, to root out any imperfections. In our opinion, the chances for success through that road are relatively slim. We are however betting on a more robust technology.”


Max Reid

Very good. Recently a company got certification for its Flex-Fuel Kit for Crown-Vic, Grand-Marq and Lincoln-LS models.

More to come. Higher oil prices will give a big boost for Ethanol.

Jim G.

interesting: Mascoma's site mentions that they license bacterial technology from Dartmouth developed by co-founder Dr. Lee Lynd. I wonder if this means they have splicing it into yeast now or if Royal Nedalco are using someone else's yeast.

Jim G.

answer: Nedalco own a pentose fermenting yeast strain.

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