Friday, January 28, 2011

Terrabon Announces 70 gal / ton bio-gasoline from Waste

Through an advanced bio-refining technology, MixAlco® converts materials such as municipal solid waste (MSW), sewage sludge, forest product residues such as wood chips, wood molasses and other wood waste, and non-edible energy crops such as sweet sorghum into a wide array of chemicals and secondary alcohols that can be further refined through separate, well-established processes to produce renewable gasoline, jet fuel or diesel. The gasoline produced through the MixAlco® technology is not ethanol. In fact, it has a higher energy value than ethanol and can be blended directly with gasoline produced from hydrocarbons. _Terrabon
Houston based Terrabon creates advanced gasoline-like biofuel from mixed waste biomass, including sewage and solid waste. The company utilises a non-sterile anaerobic digestion for this versatile feedstock mix.
Terrabon’s MixAlco process is described by Luce as a linkage of biological fermentation and chemical processes. It begins by treating the feedstock with lime to enhance its digestibility, and then fermenting the biomass using a mixed-culture of microorganisms to produce a mixture of carboxylic acids. Calcium carbonate is added to the fermentation to neutralize the acids to form corresponding carboxylate salts, which are then dewatered, concentrated, dried and thermally converted to ketones. The ketones are then hydrogenated to alcohols that can be refined into renewable gasoline, diesel or jet fuel blendstocks.

“When we have those ketones, we use parts of the zeolite and hydrogenation catalysts,” Luce said. “Once we get through the organic acids, we actually create a whole series of secondary alcohols and then we use the same zeolite catalyst structure. The research with CRI that we’ve done is making sure the catalyst structure is set up in a way to optimize through the mix of ketones that we create.”

Terrabon’s cellulosic gasoline product, according to Luce, is a viable drop-in renewable gasoline blendstock that looks similar to cracked gasoline that comes off the fluid catalytic cracking conversion process, a pathway commonly used by today’s petroleum refiners.

“It ends up being a subcomponent of RBOB, which then ethanol can be put on top of to fulfill the RFS2 mandate,” Luce said. “What we’re hoping is that as we begin scaling it up that we can take on the next generation of catalysts to actually make it into a finished product, blend it with ethanol and make E85 straight to the retail station. But, that’s probably version three or four in our vision of what we’re trying to do. First, we want to show we can economically make a drop-in biofuel and use existing infrastructure and satisfy some of this RFS2 mandate.”

Terrabon’s work isn’t satisfied at stopping at this milestone. The company is in the process of engineering scale-up strategies in hopes of bringing its first commercial production plant online. “We’re looking at two regions of the country—one in Texas and another in the Pacific Northwest—to figure out where the best economic position is to put our first commercial facility,” Luce said, adding that the company is targeting an annual production output ranging between 5 MMgy and 25 MMgy. “We’re hoping if we stay on track with what we’re trying to do, then by the end of this year we’ll be breaking ground on either of those two sites for our first commercial facility.” _CheckBiotech

Houston—Terrabon, Inc., announced today that it has been successful in the production of an economical cellulosic gasoline fuel blend stock by leveraging CRI/Criterion’s renewable fuel catalyst technologies.

The use of catalysts are necessary to efficiently convert inedible feedstocks like garbage, sorghum, corn stover or woodchips into renewable cellulosic gasoline, diesel and jet fuel using Terrabon’s patented acid fermentation technology, MixAlco®.

These catalysts have enabled Terrabon to capture yield improvements from the MixAlco® acid fermentation process at its Bryan, Texas demonstration plant, known as Energy Independence I.

In fact, Terrabon actually exceeded the target yield threshold of 70 gallons of green gasoline per dry ton of garbage that it received from the cafeteria dumpsters and paper shredders at Texas A&M University.

Normally, this garbage would have been shipped to a landfill for disposal. _BiofuelsJournal

Seaweed is being viewed more widely as a valuable feedstock for biofuels production. Seaweed has many advantages over terrestrial biofuels crops -- including prolific growth rates, low lignin levels, and the ability to grow in salty and brackish water over most of the Earth's survace -- land and sea.

Japan is pushing ahead with 100% biomass-fired power plants. Torrefied biomass can be crushed and fired like coal. Gasification plants are preferable due the minimal waste resulting. Torrefied biomass -- either woody or grass -- can also be co-fired with coal with modifications to combustors. Biomass can also be co-fired with natural gas via gasification or pyrolysis -- using specially designed mixing chambers or nozzles and combustors.

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