University of Florida IFAS, Buckeye Technologies and Myriant Partner on Research and Demonstration Cellulosic Biorefinery
Buckeye Technologies Inc., The University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF IFAS), and Myriant Technologies LLC (formed by BioEnergy International, LLC) are planning a research and demonstration plant that will explore ways to harness byproducts from some of the most promising cellulosic ethanol techniques to make bio-derived versions of petroleum products.
The project will seek to combine several technologies developed by Dr. Lonnie Ingram at the University of Florida. The plant will employ cellulosic ethanol production technology now licensed to Verenium Corp. and used in demonstration plants around the globe. (Earlier post.) This will be combined with technology licensed to Myriant to make bio-based chemicals with many potential applications, such as biodegradable forms of plastic.
We’re trying to break our dependence on petroleum. Fuel is a big part of that, but it’s not the only part. Learning how to develop these valuable byproducts not only helps to make cellulosic ethanol more economically feasible, but it takes the environmental impact of cellulosic ethanol and extends it to new areas—like plastic water bottles that won’t take up space in a landfill for thousands of years.—Lonnie Ingram
The new plant will experiment with a wide variety of potential feedstocks such as forest products, sugarcane, sugar processing byproducts and many others.
The plant is to be located at Buckeye’s Perry, Fla., facility and will be built with the aid of $20 million allocated by the Florida Legislature. The groundbreaking is planned for this fall, with an ultimate goal of proving a level of commercial viability that could lead to a full-scale biorefinery at the site.
Headquartered in Memphis, Tenn., Buckeye is a producer of cellulose-based specialty products. The company owns and operates a wood cellulose plant in Perry in addition to cotton cellulose manufacturing operations in Memphis and Americana, Brazil.
Myriant specializes in the development of low-cost cellulosic compounds that can serve as feedstock for sustainable production of high-value chemicals.