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Mississippi Approves $75M Loan to Catalytic Pyrolysis Startup KiOR for Biomass to Renewable Oil Plant

Clarion Ledger. KiOR, developer of a catalytic pyrolysis process to produce renewable oil from biomass, will receive a $75-million state-backed loan from Mississippi to bring the first three of its full-scale production facilities to the state.

The Legislature swiftly pushed through House Bill 8—the incentive package, to lure Houston-based biofuel start-up KiOR, which will locate the three plants in timber-rich areas over the next five years.

KiOR plans to take biomass—in this case wood chips from local timber that can be made into energy—and add a catalyst to chemically turn the chips into a near-perfect match to crude oil in a matter of seconds. The product, the company says, can go through existing crude refineries and be used to make standard gasoline or diesel fuel.

KiOR will get no subsidies or state support until it has formed a partnership with a major oil company to refine it. The first site will be built in Columbus, Mississippi and could open by the end of 2011.

In 2008, Petrobras, through its research center (Cenpes), signed a cooperation agreement with KiOR to use its Biomass Catalytic Cracking (BCC) process to produce second-generation biofuels from sugarcane waste. (Earlier post.)



Good to see they are moving ahead with this. There are those that say it can not fuel all cars, so forget it...nonsense. It is a step in the right direction and I hope many more are to come soon.


How many acres of wood land are required to supply enough biofuel for one single gas guzzler (on a continuous basis @ about 3000L/year per gas guzzler)?.


HarveyD brings up good points about the economics of this...which don't appear to be as good as other renewables. I understand that these operations are most profitable when located near the feedstock. Since there are very few of these operations located in the US, there are profits that can be made...but only as long as the market doesn't become saturated with competitors and the feedstock is reasonably priced. You'd think that wood is still going to fetch the highest prices for paper, furniture & construction applications vs. the wood biofuel operations will likely buy scraps well into the future. I don't see people clearcutting vast forests just to make fuel (except maybe in Haiti where they've chopped down all their trees to burn for cooking but that's a different story).


Range is using wood product waste, there are millions of tons available with a yield of around 100 gallons per ton. This information has been out here many times, so I won't repeat it.


Using forest (and most other) waste is OK but has limitations. Selective forest waste collection cost more. Growing forest for fuel is not efficient, even with very fast growing bamboo trees. Using all parts of improved sugar canes seems to be one of the highest energy gain solution.

For countries without low cost sugar canes (or other high energy gain feed stocks), electrifying a large percentage of their vehicles and HVAC may be the best way to reduce imported crude oil. Using locally produced NG and Syngas could be another way to accelerate the reduction of crude oil imports for countries like USA.

In the long run, we should all learn to produce and use energy more efficiently, at least until such time as we have electrified most of our needs. Producing more clean electricity will not be a major problem. We have to wean ourselves from liquid fuels.

Henry Gibson

Electric Cars with small cheap batteries and a small range extender engine generator are a solution to the fuel cost and availability issues.

Hydrogen generated by high temperature electrolysis from surplus electrical generation available at French nuclear reactors at night can be lower in cost than any crude oil or biofuel. This hydrogen can be used as part of the food for organisms to produce ethanol or can be burned directly. A country wide pipeline system could provide a substitute fuel. High temperature reactors can use heat to make hydrogen directly from water. It would be more efficient to store the electricity in sodium sulphur batteries.

There is not enough land area in the US to grow enough biomass to provide a large fraction of the liquid fuels use. This includes corn ethanol, cellulostic ethanol, algae oil, forests, farm wastes, and wood wastes. This does not consider the cost of the land or the cost of growing and collecting the biomass. Renewable energy is a fraud. The sun is burning up tons of hydrogen into helium permanently to produce the sunlight and only one part in two billion reaches the earth. There is enough uranium in the ocean to supply all of the energy humans need for the next five billion years until the sun explodes and kills them all. This does not include the thorium and uranium on the dry land. Only one pound per person is need for a life time of energy, and this can be had for less than 10,000 dollars from the ocean and once only cost 8 dollars.

Just take the total solar input over the entire US with a maximum of 1000 watts per square meter and a conversion efficiency of one percent of sunlight to biomass energy and only so many effective hours of full sunlight. Then figure what energy it takes to collect and process the material and the processing losses. More CO2 would be removed from the air if more permanent trees were planted and the energy gained from biofuels was substituted with coal or especially natural gas.

It must be remembered that any biomass can be converted into human food. Ethanol is a very popular human food mostly made from other human food with a great loss of food value. Biomass is used in soil to keep it fertile by supplying energy for microorganisms to produce useful nitrogen and other products needed by plants.

The cost in environment degradation from biofuels is very large in the world right now with whole square miles of original forests being destroyed every day for oil crop plantations. None of the open cast mines for coal or bitumen or oil shales can compete in area, even all together. ..HG..

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