Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Hydrochloric Acid Process Converts Cellulose to Fermentable Sugars

The fermentable sugars are a gateway to advanced biofuels (biobutanols, biodiesel, jet fuel etc) and biochemicals (bioplastics etc). The HCL CleanTech’s process allows a large variety of feedstocks to be used with minimal configuration, requires very little water and self sufficient energetically. _BiofuelsDigest
For now, the best way of converting lignocellulosic biomass to liquid fuels is via either gasification or pyrolysis, with catalytic conversion to fuels. But a number of other processes are being developed using biological or chemical conversions -- without the gasifiers and pyrolytic units. These alternative approaches may eventually introduce a wider range of scaling into the bioenergy.
“Basically, the Company tackles the pre-treatment and hydrolysis step all at once, without use of enzymes,” said Burrill & Company Director, Greg Young. “Accessing cheap sugar locked in biomass is one of the greatest challenges now faced by those pursuing renewable fuels and chemicals. HCL CleanTech’s technology represents a step change in accessing these sugars, and drops into the pretreatment step of any fermentation-based process or chemical reforming technique which starts with oligosaccharides. We are eager to see this proven at scale, at which point it becomes immediately relevant to adjacent industries aiming to use biomass as a feedstock.” _BiofuelsDigest
Biomass can be feedstock for not only the biofuels industry, but the chemicals, plastics, and biomaterials industries as well. Advances and breakthroughs in one area are bound to have spillover effects in other areas of industry.

Backwater areas that previously had nothing to offer to attract jobs and investment, will suddenly discover that their economic prospects are rising on a groundswell of opportunity in bioenergy etc.



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