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Stora Enso to build biomass-to-sugars demo plant in Louisiana

Following its recent acquisition of the US-based biotechnology company Virdia (formerly HCL CleanTech) (earlier post), Stora Enso is investing €32 million (US$ 43 million) in a demonstration and market development plant to be built at Raceland, Louisiana, USA. The plant will be used for industrial validation of the newly acquired extraction and separation technology developed by Virdia that enables cellulosic biomass, such as wood or agricultural waste, to be converted into highly refined sugars.

The investment serves the feasibility of the technology on industrial scale in the future, possibly also in some of Stora Enso’s existing pulp mills.

The demonstration plant will be located in the vicinity of existing sugar cane plantations and will use bagasse waste as feedstock. Sugar cane bagasse is a sustainable, non-genetically-modified feedstock that does not compete with food.

It will be used to produce high purity five-carbon sugars and in particular xylose. These sugars will be converted and upgraded for applications in, for example, food and personal care.

The Raceland demonstration plant is scheduled to start production early 2017.



This is certainly a better way to use excess bio-mass than to produce liquid fuels with it.



10% of our automobile fuel in the U.S. may be made from non food biomass in the coming decades. If we don't, oil will cost more and may not be available in the quantities we want.



Texas has over 100 billion barrels of shale oil in 25 counties and a lot is also available from mid-west States.

USA will become the world number oil producer by 2020 and may hold that position for 30+ years. USA may even become a NET oil exporter a few year latter if not before.

Biomass can be used to produce refined sugars and animal feed stocks instead of biofuel. It could become a major export for USA.


Number one producer still means we import almost HALF of the oil we use. The shale numbers are misleading, North Dakota is brining in sand stone oil BETWEEN shale layers. Most geologists will tell you that the shale numbers are fantasy.


US EIA, 2011: 1.25 billion barrels of oil


The US EIA reported that proved reserves in the Bakken/Three Forks were 2.00 billion barrels of oil as of 2011

At one million barrels per day present production, they will be out of oil in 6 years.


Eagle Ford 25 counties have up to 100 billions barrels of shale oil potential and that's probably a small portion of shale oil in USA.

Alberta Oil Sands contain 179 billions barrels and Sask half as much. The Artic Ocean area has great potential.

USA-Canada is not short of oil (and NG), at least for the next 50 years or so.

Electrification of all transportation means and many more very large (8 to 20 MW) wind turbines together with lower cost 40% to 50% efficient solar panels (47.5% units already exist) could greatly reduce the use of fossil and bio fuels in the next 10 to 20 years. Germany, China, Japan, South-Korea, will lead with transition of 50+% of their energy use from REs.

We will follow a few years latter.


We are not likely to turn the vast western half of the U.S. into one big electric train set. California has plans for an electric high speed rail that will now cost $100 billion and NO one know how it will be paid for. In fact when you run the real numbers, it will NEVER be paid back with user fees.



China already has 27,000 Km of very high speed e-trains in operation and/or in construction.

EU is not far behind with 20,000 Km.

Japan and So-Korea are progressing rapidly.

Russia will soon have 1,000 Km

USA, India, Canada, Australia and Mexico have a today of 0.0 Km.

Is there a message here?


A USA very high speed e-train network could start with a 10 to 20 shorter links between major adjacent cities.

Most of those short links could be integrated into a national network at a latter date and replace many less efficient airplanes.



You are a dreamer, if no one wans to pay for it, it will never be done...period. It does not matter what "could" be done.


The world needs a few more dreamers, otherwise we will be condemned to Dollar Stores, Bigger Macs, smoky noisy gas guzzlers, CPPs in every backwards, cables and cable poles every 5 to 10 ft or so; because it is cheaper than doing it the right way?

Slow polluting steamers were replaced by not so clean slow diesel-electric locomotives almost 80 years ago.

The time has arrived to replace old technology diesel-electric with very high speed electric locomotives.

That's what the majority is going to do.

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