Mill, Baby, Mill
by Jim Lane (Biofuels Digest) In-field bioprocessing? Dramatically higher plant oil production? R&D breakthroughs offer new paths to victory for Millers vs Drillers.
If you haven’t been getting most of your information on the Renewable Fuel Standard from the Grocers Manufacturing Association, you’ll note that biofuels manufacturers have been able to deliver all the fuel called for in the mandate, despite the massively-publicized shortfall in the cellulosic ethanol component of RFS.
That’s in large part because producers on the oil-side – that is to say, biodiesel producers, have managed to dramatically increase production since 2010, more than offsetting shortfalls amongst the cellulosics.
…Detailed economic analysis is showing that a new thermocatalytic technology called hydropyrolysis can be competitive with $100 crude oil.
…Game-changer – but how? Primarily, its a technology designed to be cost-competitive with crude oils at small scale, which means that it can be processed on a mobile basis, even in the field.
While research elsewhere has made mobile units, Purdue’s Agrawal commented “Material like corn stover and wood chips has low energy density…It makes more sense to process biomass into liquid fuel with a mobile platform and then take this fuel to a central refinery for further processing before using it in internal combustion engines.”
Think in terms of units that can be mounted on a truck-bed – that’s an outcome envisioned by the inventors.
… A group of researchers at Brookhaven National Laboratory have found the mechanism that plants use to limit the production of oils in their oilseeds, and published their work recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. READ MORE