Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Weyerhaeuser to Add Cellulose Processing to Mills

The vast North American lumber industry is a natural match to the cellulosic biofuels, chemicals, and electricity industries. A huge amount of cellulosic mass is wasted in the lumber industry for various reasons. That biomass can be converted to very valuable products. Forestry giant Weyerhaeuser is looking more closely at its options.
Lignol Energy Corporation, a cellulosic ethanol and biochemical company, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Weyerhaeuser Company to explore the development of commercial applications of biochemical outputs from Lignol’s proprietary biorefining technology.

The parties have also agreed to evaluate the development of a commercial-scale Lignol biorefinery plant at or near a Weyerhaeuser mill site. The MOU excludes applications for transportation fuel. The initial scope of the MOU involves the testing of certain biomass feedstocks within Lignol’s facilities, including the company’s integrated industrial-scale biorefinery pilot plant located in Burnaby, British Columbia.

Lignol uses a modified solvent based pre-treatment technology for cellulosic biomass, originally developed by a former affiliate of General Electric, and then further developed and commercialized for wood-pulp applications by a subsidiary of Repap Enterprises Inc. The technology produces a clean pulp that converts biomass feedstock rapidly into fermentable sugars with high yield and lower enzyme costs.

The process also produces co-products with revenues that mitigate the costs of production and commodity risks, including a high-quality cellulose fiber with applications in certain specialty markets and high-purity lignin (HP-L Lignin), an organic compound that is differentiated from other types of lignins that are typically produced as by-products in the traditional Kraft pulp manufacturing process. _GCC
Most of the emphasis on cellulose by the forestry and paper industries has been on cellulosic ethanol and other liquid fuels, but cellulosic electricity and cellulose-derived chemicals may prove to be even more valuable in the long run.

Along the same lines, Choren and Norske Skog/Xynergo are cooperating on evaluation of Biomass to Liquids (BTL) in Norway.

Production of high quality jet fuel from vegetable oils is progressing nicely.

Big industry around the world is entering the biomass and biofuels arena. Earth is the only biological world that we have discovered. For a sustainable energy future, bio-energy will stand alongside nuclear fusion, solar, and geothermal as the cleanest and most reliable energy sources on this planet. Nuclear fission and oil equivalent from coal, gas, oil sands, oil shales, and heavy oils will provide the energy bridge we need to cross from here to there.



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