Thursday, January 27, 2011

Bio-DiMethylEther from Black Liquor in Sweden: More On the Way

The European Union has approved the SEK 500 million (€55 million, $75 million) R&D grant awarded by the Swedish Energy Agency towards the industrial scale demonstration biofuels plant based on Chemrec’s gasification technology at the Domsjö Fabriker biorefinery in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden. The plant will produce the renewable and environmentally compatible biofuels biomethanol or bioDME using forest harvest residues as energy feedstock.

...Chemrec AB and our partner the Domsjö Fabriker biorefinery were awarded the R&D support in September 2009 by the Swedish Energy Agency. The plant will be based on the Chemrec black liquor gasification technology combined with advanced technology for fuels production. The project investment cost is estimated at approximately SEK 3 billion for a production capacity of 140 000 ton biomethanol or 100 000 ton bioDME per year in a dual product plant. _Chemrec_via_BiofuelsDigest
Chemrec Domsjo Biorefinery

Sweden possesses vast forests which are harvested for timber, specialty cellulose, and paper/pulp. A by-product of the paper/pulp industry is black liquor, which can be converted to useful biofuels via gasification.
Biofuels produced using our gasification technology reduce carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 95% compared to gasoline or diesel and replace imported fossil fuels with renewable fuels. The global potential of the technology is equivalent to replacement of approximately 30 million tons of diesel oil. The Domsjö plant will have the capacity equivalent to the fuel demand of over 2000 heavy trucks. _Chemrec Press Release

The bio-DME and bio-methanol produced by these plants will replace significant amounts of diesel fuel, and other petroleum products. But the process is but a niche application -- an add-on to a pre-existing industry which is itself an add-on (or offshoot) to the lumber industry.

That is one way in which market capitalism works -- by locating waste products of pre-existing enterprises which can be converted to valuable feedstocks and end-products.

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