January 9, 2007

Japanese wood-to-ethanol facility uses Arkenol process

Among the many technologies under development for the conversion of biomass into cellulosic ethanol is concentrated acidic hydrolysis. Simply put, the process separates the biomass into two main constituents: cellulose and hemicellulose (the main building blocks of plant life) and lignin (the "glue" that holds the building blocks together), converts the cellulose and hemicellulose to sugars, ferments them and purifies the fermentation liquids into products.

Arkenol Biomass feedstocks include:
• agricultural residues (straws, corn stalks and cobs, bagasse, cotton gin trash, palm oil wastes, etc.),
• crops grown specifically for their biomass (grasses, sweet sorghum, fast growing trees, etc.),
• paper (recycled newspaper, paper mill sludge's, sorted municipal solid waste, etc.),
• wood wastes (prunings, wood chips, sawdust, etc.), and
• green wastes (leaves, grass clippings, vegetable and fruit wastes, etc.).

Izumi Arkenol Ethanol Facility
Since 2002 NEDO (New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Center) /JGC of Japan has been using Arkenol concentrated acid-hydrolysis technology to perfect a continuous stream biomass-to-ethanol conversion process (initially using wood chips). Based in Izumi, Japan the facility touts the following:

Milestones Completed
• Full integration (vs batch processing) of the Arkenol concentrated acid-hydrolysis system using waste wood chips as feedstock, operational since 2002
• Cellulose conversion efficiencies stable at 70%, with optimization to 80%
• Sulfuric acid recovery at over 97% with reconcentration to 75% in continual use since 2002 resulting in minimum make-up acid requirement
• Lignin combustion testing completed successfully verifying use of lignin as solid fuel
• JGC-developed flash fermentation offers significant operating cost savings
• Uses NREL developed rec. Z. mobilis (under Arkenol license) in fixed bed and S. cereviscae to produce ethanol at 95% and above
• Capacity of continuous ethanol production raised from 100 liters/day to a total of 300 liters/day in March 2004
• Uses first commercial membrane distillation and purification system supplied by Mitsui with significant operating cost savings over conventional (molecular sieve) technology
• Ethanol produced used by Japanese Government program for engine drivability tests and materials coupon tests

BlueFire Ethanol Identifies Southern California Landfill as Initial Location in the U.S. for Commercialization of Cellulose Ethanol Technology

BlueFire Ethanol, Inc. was established to deploy the commercially ready, patented, and proven Arkenol Technology Process of concentrated acid hydrolysis for the profitable conversion of cellulosic ("Green Waste") waste materials to ethanol.

(Bluefire plans to) build and operate an integrated biorefinery using cellulosic feedstock for the production of ethanol. The BlueFire biorefinery is proposed to be located at an existing landfill site in Southern California.

BlueFire's Southern California Biorefinery will process 700 tons of green waste and other cellulosic waste material per day into 24 million gallons of fuel grade ethanol per year with projected revenues of about $55 million and operating income of approximately $25 million per year. The proposed landfill location has been in existence since 1986 accepting approximately 10,000 tons per day of waste from Southern California Counties.

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