Wood to Ethanol Production In the U.S.
Published Sat, 2007-07-28 14:02 Energy
Efforts are now underway to build the first commercial plant in the
United States to convert wood into ethanol, and the race is on to see if
that first plant will be located in Georgia or Michigan. Range Fuels,
Inc. was awarded a permit by the State of Georgia in early July to build
a plant that will gasify wood waste and then convert that "synthesis
gas" into ethanol. The company plans to break ground this summer on the
first phase of the plant, which will produce 20 million gallons of
ethanol per year when it starts production in 2008. On July 19th,
Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm announced that Mascoma Corporation
plans to build a commercial plant in that state that will convert wood
chips and other non-food agricultural products into ethanol. The Mascoma
process involves breaking down the biomass to free its sugars, and then
fermenting the sugars into ethanol. No timeline has been announced for
Mascoma's proposed plant, but Governor Granholm wants the facility to be
the first commercial-scale wood-to-ethanol plant in the country.
The world's first commercial wood-to-ethanol plant just started
production in Osaka, Japan. Verenium Corporation is licensing
fermentation technology developed at the University of Florida for use
at the plant, which can produce 370,000 gallons of ethanol per year.
Verenium also operates a pilot-scale plant in Louisiana and is building
an adjacent demonstration-scale plant that will be designed to produce
1.4 million gallons of ethanol per year. Construction of that facility
should be complete by year's end.
While these projects are producing ethanol from wood waste, Citrus
Energy LLC and FPL Energy, LLC plan to build a plant to convert citrus
peels into ethanol. FPL Energy announced on July 19th that the two
companies have agreed to build a commercial-scale ethanol facility on
the grounds of a Florida citrus processor. The facility will produce
four million gallons of ethanol per year.
Check for earlier Pacific Biofuel posts: http://pacbiofuel.blogspot.com/