NewEnergyBlue acquired exclusive rights to Inbicon (earlier post) bio-conversion technology throughout the Americas and will first employ it to turn North Dakota wheat straw into a high-value, carbon-neutral automotive fuel. The technology license was purchased from Ørsted, a Danish green-energy company. Ørsted developed the technology over 15 years at a cost exceeding $200 million, proving efficacy and commercial operation at its refinery in Kalundborg for nearly five of those years.
NewEnergyBlue intends to build a series of biomass refineries across grain belts and sugar-growing regions to process agricultural residues such as wheat straw, cornstalks, and sugar bagasse, converting them into a high-octane advanced ethanol that’s more than 100% below the carbon baseline of grain ethanol and more than 140% below gasoline.
Using Inbicon technology at the core of our refinery gives a clean process–no acid or high ammonia used—unlike other technologies at commercial scale, said Thomas Corle, CEO of NewEnergyBlue. NewEnergyBlue’s refinery prefers high-pressure steam followed by an enzyme bath to break down the biomass fibers into sugars and lignin that are valuable for making liquid and solid biofuels.
Instead of using fresh water, the enclosed-loop design recycles the water from the biomass—about 15% moisture—which can produce a surplus of clean water for uses such as irrigation.
The company now expects groundbreaking for its Spiritwood, North Dakota refinery in 2020. The Spirit Biomass Refinery will be owned by NewEnergyBlue and its equity holders that includes regional investors with interest it contributes to the area economy. NewEnergyBlue finds that farmers welcome the opportunity to earn a second income from each year’s harvest.