New Canada-based cellulosic ethanol company launches; collaboration between Greenfield, Andritz and Novozymes
|G2BioChem’s process design and patents, applied across the three phases of the planned demo plant. Source: G2BioChem. Click to enlarge.|
GreenField Ethanol, Canada’s largest ethanol producer, announced the launch of G2BioChem, a collaborative effort between GreenField, industrial process solutions company Andritz and enzyme developer Novozymes. The group is committed to making transportation fuel from agricultural waste, energy crops and forest biomass.
The objective of G2BioChem is to produce cellulosic ethanol for less than $2.25 per gallon, and a capex for the first-in-kind commercial plant of $6 per gallon, reduced to $4 per gallon for subsequent plants.
The technology has received the support of a number of Federal and Ontario programs and agencies including Sustainable DEvelopment Technology Canada (SDTC), Innovation Development Fund (IDF), Sustainable Chemistry Alliance (SCA) and Center for Research & Development in the Bio-economy (CRIBE).
G2Biochem’s technology has successfully processed a variety of biomass feedstocks including agricultural residues (corn cobs, stover and bagasse), energy crops (sorghum and miscanthus) and woody biomass (poplar).
G2BioChem’s technology is feedstock agnostic and optimizes next-generation ethanol yields using all available sugars. Also, our process technology results in a low-cost-per-litre, which is essential to the viable commercialization of next-generation ethanol.—Barry Wortzman
The G2BioChem process generates discrete, highly digestible streams of cellulose (C6 sugars) and hemi-cellulose (C5 sugars). At pilot scale, the company says it has reduced toxins by three-fold;, hydrolysis and fermentation time by half; and enzyme dosage by 20 times.
Other benefits of the process include:
- 90% of overall incoming C5/C6 sugars are recovered after pre-treatment;
- 85% of recovered C5/C6 sugars are hydrolyzed into fermentable monomers;
- 89% of the monomers are converted to EtOH.
- Total process (hydrolysis and fermentation) complete in 5 days or less with a yield of 316 L/DMT of cobs against a best-in-class of 346 L/DMT.
G2BioChem says it is ready to demonstrate and validate its technology on a pre-commercial, continuous scale. Construction for phase one of a demonstration plant is scheduled for this summer. The demo plant will have a capacity of 5 MT per day and has been designed so that it can be scaled up to 2000 MT per day.
The demonstration plant will be built in three phases:
Phase I. Pre-conditioning and pre-treatment will accept a variety of feedstocks including corn cobs, bagasse, agricultural grasses, and forestry products such as poplar and willow. This is the core of the G2BioChem process. At demonstration scale, the objective is to prove the commercial viability of producing clean, discrete streams of cellulose (containing C6 sugars) and hemi-cellulose (containing C5 sugars) under continuous process conditions. Pending the startup of Phase II, hydrolysis & fermentation will continue at pilot scale.
Phase II. The enzymatic hydrolysis and fermentation stage will optimize the conversion of cellulose and hemi-cellulose into fermentable sugars for conversion into biofuels and chemicals. In this phase, collaborations with Novozymes (the world leader in enzyme development) and a number of leading innovators in the field of yeast and microbe development provides an important advantage.
Phase III. Distillation, evaporation, energy optimization, and waste stream handling round out this last phase. The demo plant will operate no differently than a full-scale industrial plant with water recycling, evaporation, and concentration of waste streams.
G2BioChem plans to license its technology by providing an end-to-end process which can be co-located with existing dry and wet mill ethanol plants. Licensees will pay an up-front licensing fee as well as a production based royalty. G2BioChem will provide ongoing technical and development support to its customers.