The Hot Zone: Thermocatalytic Biofuels Projects Are Going South – Here’s Who and Why
by Jim Lane (Biofuels Digest) …With the coming of advanced bioprocessing, the picture of opportunity has radically changed and the Southeast, Northwest, and Southwest, in particular, have been assessing their opportunities and attracting projects.
…But in the Southeast, there’s been a huge surge in project volume, primarily thermochemical in nature. It’s been the home of the thermochemical technologies that have, so far, made the leap to building out or announcing commercial-scale projects.
…But, by and large, the Southeast is proving to be the Hot Zone, where technologies that heat biomass well beyond the boiling point are in place – generally breaking through the biomass bonds with the right combination of heat and pressure, and thence converting a gas stream of carbon monoxide and hydrogen into target fuels by passing the cooling gas stream over a carefully designed catalyst.
But far from all companies are using catalytic conversion in the Hot Zone. In the case of INEOS Bio, Coskata and Lanzatech, they ferment the gas streams into their target fuels and chemicals.
To some extent, the technology is dictated by the feedstock.
…Who’s building demonstrations or commercial projects in the Southeast? The afore-mentioned INEOS Bio, Coskata and Lanzatech; also, Enerkem, Bluefire, KiOR and Sundrop. Shell is building a pilot in Texas based on Virent’s technology, too.
The other technology that is gaining massive traction in the Southeast is hydrotreating, which has been the choice for three large, commercial-scale renewable diesel projects that call Louisiana home: Diamond Green Diesel, Emerald Biofuels, and Dynamic Fuels.
…For sure, the South has discovered a new and highly sustainable pathway to adding a great deal of value to its agricultural products, in converting them into fuels and higher-value chemicals and bio-products.
That’s bound to lift the South to new economic heights – not only through the cash that high-value ag exports can bring, but through the economic impact of eliminating imports through low-cost domestic production – building the capital pools that help diversify economies through investment. READ MORE See Map and MORE (TheTownTalk)