Mitsui and Inbicon Sign Cellulosic Ethanol Licensing Agreement for Biomass Refineries in Southeast Asia
|Inbicon biomass refinery. Click to enlarge.|
Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding (MES), one of Japan’s leading heavy industries, and Inbicon, a Danish cellulosic ethanol technology, signed a license agreement for the Inbicon Biomass Refinery technology.
The agreement grants Mitsui the right to build a number of biomass refineries in Southeast Asia using Inbicon’s technology. Mitsui intends to apply the technology in the palm oil industry, where wastes from palm oil production can be converted into ethanol, solid biofuel for energy production, and animal feed. The agreement marks the first sale of licensing for Inbicon.
With the agreement, we have taken an important step towards the establishing of a plant engineering business for the production of second-generation ethanol in Southeast Asia. We have already committed considerable resources to the development of this new business. Furthermore, we are expecting to expand the cooperation with Inbicon into other markets.
—Shunichi Yamashita, Director of Mitsui
Inbicon A/S, a subsidiary of DONG Energy A/S, develops technology for conversion and refining of soft ligno-cellulosic biomass into fuel, feed, and green chemistry products. The company has operated a pilot plant since 2003, and late last year opened its first Inbicon Biomass Refinery in Kalundborg, Denmark to demonstrate its technology. The plant converts wheat straw into fuel ethanol, animal feed, and lignin pellets for energy production. (Earlier post.)
Inbicon uses a three-stage pretreatment process: mechanical, hydrothermal, and enzymatic treatment of biomass. The pre-treatment yields a much higher concentration of sugar in the liquid going to fermentation, according to the company, and the resulting beer or alcohol concentration is at least double the normal percentage in cellulosic ethanol processing. In other words, each batch has a less water and more ethanol, further increasing yield and efficiency.
The Inbicon plant uses enzymes from Novozymes and from Genencor (Danisco) for its pre-treatment.