POET-DSM Plans On-Site Enzyme Manufacturing Facility at Project Liberty
(POET) POET-DSM Advanced Biofuels will build an on-site enzyme manufacturing (OSM) facility in Emmetsburg, Iowa, pending state and local approvals. The facility will be integrated into the Project Liberty technology package, replicable in future facilities. For Project Liberty, the OSM will directly pipe enzymes into the Liberty production process without requiring downstream processing, stabilizers and other chemicals required for enzyme transportation.
New enzymes developed by DSM are also expected to improve effectiveness of the enzyme mix, further reducing costs for the process. CRB has been awarded the contract for the design, engineering and construction management. Basic engineering is complete, and construction is expected to begin in late spring or early summer.
Project Liberty is a cellulosic ethanol plant that uses corn cobs, leaves, husk and some stalk to produce renewable biofuel. Over the last 18 months significant design improvements have been made to the plant and further investments to improve yields and make the process more consistent and reliable. The facility is producing at a rate of 70 gallons per bone-dry ton of biomass, near the target conversion rate, and is currently in a ramp-up phase.
“Enzymes for cellulosic ethanol have been improving dramatically in recent years, and this is another leap delivered by our partner DSM in both cost and performance,” POET President and COO Jeff Lautt said. “It will be a valuable addition to POET-DSM’s integrated licensing package.”
“We have reached some important production thresholds in recent months. This gives us the confidence to move to this next level of technology development,” Atul Thakrar, President DSM Bio-based Products & Services said. “The startup and ramp-up of Project Liberty have provided valuable experience for developing a cost-effective process that can be replicated across the U.S. and world.”
About POET-DSM Advanced Biofuels, LLC
POET-DSM Advanced Biofuels, LLC, is a 50/50 joint venture between Royal DSM and POET, LLC. Based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, the company is a cooperative effort of two innovators that provides a key to unlocking the opportunity of converting corn crop residue into cellulosic bio-ethanol. Built on the strengths of both companies, the joint venture has a critical mission: to make cellulosic bio-ethanol competitive with corn bio-ethanol, the most competitive renewable liquid transportation fuel on the US market today. Drawing on the deep expertise and experience of POET and DSM in different areas of converting cellulosic biomass into bio-ethanol, POET-DSM Advanced Biofuels has built its first commercial-scale plant co-located with POET’ Biorefining – Emmetsburg in Emmetsburg, Iowa. Based on this plant, the JV plans to globally license an integrated technology package for the conversion of corn crop residue to cellulosic bio-ethanol. More information: www.poetdsm.com READ MORE and MORE (Biofuels Digest)
Excerpts from Biofuel Digest: You see, you can’t produce 25 million gallons at a plant, with say 90% uptime, without producing something like 75,000 gallons per day, and at 70 gallons of fuel yield per ton of biomass, you need to jam that bale through the system in about a minute. Else you get the same thing happening in cellulosic fuels that you get on the Santa Monica Freeway at rush-hour — a logjam that’s frustrating, cost-wasting and time-wasting — and everyone gets crabby, especially the people who invested the money.
So, you have 60 seconds to get that bale wet, sloppy, and moving along the pipeline and into the fermenter. It’s the most dangerous 60 seconds in the cellulosic movement — something like the moments of peak-stress on a spacecraft during re-entry.
If it takes five minutes to get that bale nice and sloppy wet and ready to be completely enveloped by enzymes and dissolving into a vehicle-ready fuel, you might have a wonderful yield, and you might have a wonderful fuel. But you are going to get something like 5 million gallons of fuel per year out of that $250 million wonder you’ve built near a cornfield, and you are going to get your financial fanny paddled, and hard.
Here’s what we’ve heard from POET-DSM.
“The facility is producing at a rate of 70 gallons per bone-dry ton of biomass, near the target conversion rate, and is currently in a ramp-up phase.”
And what that tells you is everything you need to know. If they could jam a half-ton bale a minute into that system, they’d be shipping massive quantities of high-value cellulosic fuels to California, minting money, and we’d be chatting about which POET facility gets the next cellulosic license.
It’s the rate. It takes a certain amount of technical Whoopee to get a bale that sloppy, that ready for enzymes, and that ready for hydrolysis, in 60 seconds or less. It’s a game of Beat the Clock and, so far, the industry is getting a bad beat.
The new enzyme package
The facility will be integrated into the Project Liberty technology package, replicable in future facilities — without requiring downstream processing, stabilizers and other chemicals required for enzyme transportation.
New enzymes developed by DSM are also expected to improve effectiveness of the enzyme mix, further reducing costs for the process.
Cellulosic is going to happen. Some skeptics are pointing to supplying fuels to Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. Won’t take that long, amigo — but the best thing to do right now is take the eyes off the clock and let cellulosic’s pioneers do what pioneers do — deliver the frontier.
Does it really matter whether the West Was Won in 1847 or 1852? The important thing is the winning of the west. And the pioneers will get there — no matter how many swamps they have managed to fall into along the way. They’re not winning against the clock but they will beat the prairies and the mountains and the quicksand and the deserts. California here they come — you can count on that. READ MORE