Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Industrial Scale Bio-Butanol Production w/ Clever Co-Processing

Cobalt’s technology converts sugars from non-food feedstock, such as forest waste and mill residues, into biobutanol. Cobalt’s continuous butanol production system is based on advancements in biocatalyst selection, bioreactor design and process engineering, resulting in a productive, capital-efficient, low-cost solution. This foundation ensures the production process is able to scale up quickly while maintaining capital efficiency. _GCC
Butanol is a four carbon alcohol which possesses much superior properties over ethanol for burning in modern gasoline engines, or for combining with diesel in modern diesel engines.

Cobalt Technologies is partnering with American Process Inc. to build an industrial sized bio-butanol plant. In addition, the partners are joining with Green Power + to include a clever carbohyydrate extraction system and alcohol processing module to a biomass power generation system (see image below).
Under the agreement, Cobalt Technologies and American Process will integrate Cobalt’s patent-pending continuous fermentation and distillation technology into American Process’s Alpena Biorefinery, currently under construction in Alpena, Michigan. Slated to begin ethanol production in early 2012 with a switch to biobutanol in mid-2012, the API Alpena Biorefinery will produce 470,000 gallons of biobutanol annually, which will be pre-sold to chemical industry partners.

Funded in part by an $18-million US Department of Energy (DOE) grant and a $4-million grant from the State of Michigan, the API Alpena Biorefinery will demonstrate the conversion of hemicelluloses extracted from woody biomass to fermentable sugars that can be used for production of ethanol. Meanwhile, Cobalt’s technology will demonstrate that these sugars can also produce butanol.

Greenpower+. GreenPower+ utilizes a module in front of the biomass boiler that utilizes steam extract hydrolyzate as feedstock and an ethanol extraction module. Dewatered solids are then returned to the biomass boiler. The process significantly increases overall profitability by converting low BTU hemicelluloses into high-value ethanol. The process enables cost-effective cellulosic ethanol production at a small scale of 10-20MMUSG/year, with an ethanol production cost of around $1/gallon US, API says.

The process significantly increases overall profitability of the site by converting hemicelluloses into fermentable sugars, which can be converted to high value biofuels and biochemicals. The GreenPower+ technology is applicable in any industry employing biomass boilers or having organic effluent. _GCC
As you can see, by combining cellulosic power and heat generation with cellulosic alcohols production, a company is able to increase revenue streams while providing its own process heat and electric power.

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