Syntec Biofuel Ups Yield of Cellulosic Alcohols to 110 Gallons/Ton of Biomass
01 July 2008
Syntec Biofuel Inc. has, over the past 30 days, consistently achieved more than 110 gallons of alcohols (ethanol, methanol, n-butanol and n-propanol) per ton (US) of biomass. In February, the company reported a yield of 105 gallons per ton of biomass. (Earlier post.) The company’s target, announced in 2006, is approximately 113 gallons per ton.
We believe the improved results demonstrate that our thermo-chemical catalysts offer a solid commercial route for the highly efficient and environmentally sound conversion of waste biomass into alcohols. It is important to note that the laboratory work was carried out to industry accepted standards and the results include an assumption of only 33% of conversion efficiency in the process which we expect to constantly improve.—Dr. George Kosanovich, CEO
Syntec’s B2A (‘biomass to alcohol’) technology (earlier post), initially developed at the University of British Columbia, gasifies any renewable waste biomass such as hard or soft wood, sawdust or bark, organic waste, agricultural waste (including sugar cane bagasse and corn stover), and switch-grass to produce syngas. This syngas, comprised of carbon monoxide and hydrogen, is then scrubbed and passed through a fixed bed reactor containing the Syntec catalysts to produce ethanol, methanol and higher order alcohols. The Syntec technology can also produce alcohols from biogas (sourced from anaerobic digestion of manure and effluent), landfill gas or stranded methane.
This is almost the same yield as the best USA Range Fuels (113 gals/ton) planned plant. Other planned future plants will get between 65 to 83 gals/ton.
At a high average of 100 gals/dry ton, it would take between 1600 and 1700 million dry tons of biomass a year to satisfy the current USA gasoline market. Many other million tons would be required to produce diesel abd jet fuel.
At an average yield of 10 dry tons per acre, something close to 165 million acres would be required to produce enough biomass to produce enough cellulosic ethanol to replace gasoline. That would be a major portion of USA's farm lands.
Even with the highest yields, can USA produce enough biomass to produce all the ethanol-diesel and jet fuel required 10 or 20 years from now?
Ways have to be found to drastically reduce (-75%) liquid fuel consumption. Massive use of PHEVs and BEVs could do it by 2028/2030.
Posted by: HarveyD | 01 July 2008 at 08:17 AM
The logic in calculating volumes required to meet "current fossil fuel use" is fuzzy. Where's the curve for downward consumption based on electrification starting with the 1998 Prius? Running numbers against a consumption rate without calculating the projected decrease in fossil use - is senseless.
Posted by: gr | 01 July 2008 at 08:56 AM
The nice thing about switchgrass is that it does not require current farmlands to grow. For example, how many acres could be planted in the right-of-way along U.S. interstates? Or in North Dakota, Montana, South Dakota, Wyoming, and Utah which are not perfectly suited for traditional crops? Or how about the marginal lands that the U.S. pays farmers $45/acre not to plant? I think you get the point. We are not at full optimization of our land.
Posted by: Bryan | 01 July 2008 at 10:17 AM
How about mixing waste paper into the input stream?
Posted by: Jason | 01 July 2008 at 11:32 AM
This is a gasification process. It should be able to run on organic waste of any kind, from dried garbage to shredded tires.
Posted by: Reality Czech | 01 July 2008 at 12:07 PM
376 kilograms of alcohol fuels from 1 ton of inputs if I read correctly after? inclusive of process energy input? ( with a conversion efficiency of 33%.)
That is truly amzing couldthat be right?
Posted by: arnold | 02 July 2008 at 04:16 PM
On a weight basis and even better on an energy basis. Is is the way of the future. Gasification IS the way and the sooner we get on with biomass gasification the better off we will be.
Posted by: sjc | 05 July 2008 at 05:38 PM