POET-DSM Advanced Biofuels, a joint venture of Royal DSM and POET, yesterday proved its revolutionary technology that converts agricultural residue into renewable fuel at the Grand Opening of its first commercial cellulosic ethanol plant in Emmetsburg, Iowa.
“Removal of corn residue for biofuels can decrease soil organic carbon and increase CO2 emissions because residue C in biofuels is oxidized to CO2 at a faster rate than when added to soil. Net CO2 emissions from residue removal are not adequately characterized in biofuel life cycle assessment”. A $500,000 study – paid for by the U.S. federal government and released last Sunday in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Climate Change – concludes that biofuels made with corn residue release 7% more greenhouse gases in the early years compared with conventional gasoline.
An Iowa ethanol plant that will be one of the first producers of biofuels made from crop waste will be operating by June, Steve Hartig, General Manager for Licensing of POET-DSM Advanced Biofuels, said at the National Ethanol Conference in Orlando, Florida.
POET-DSM, a joint operation between leading U.S. ethanol maker POET LLC and Dutch food and chemicals group DSM, will be among the largest to make so-called advanced biofuels on a commercial scale. The $250 million facility in Emmetsburg, in the north-central part of the No. 1 corn-growing state, will produce 7 million to 12 million gallons of ethanol this year using cobs and other corn “stover”.
A fuel of the future is being introduced to the streets in a fleet test launched by the joined forces of Clariant, a globally leading specialty chemicals company, based in Muttenz near Basel (Switzerland), Haltermann, one of the leading suppliers of high purity refinery chemicals used in the automotive, pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries, based in Hamburg (Germany), and Mercedes-Benz (Daimler AG). The Clariant sunliquid® process converts wheat straw into cellulosic ethanol. The company Haltermann then mixes the cellulosic ethanol with conventional fuel components to form the new fuel. The production of cellulosic ethanol is virtually CO2-neutral, saving almost 100 % of CO2 emissions when compared to gasoline. Sunliquid®20 is 20 % cellulosic ethanol, i.e. the well-to-wheel comparison shows reductions in greenhouse gas emissions of around 20 % with consistent engine power. There is no competition with food production or for agricultural acreage. A high octane number (RON) of over 100 guarantees optimal efficiency.
Canadian corporation Iogen has developed and patented a new method to make drop-in cellulosic biofuels from biogas using existing refinery assets and production operations. The company estimates there is refining capacity in place to incorporate 5-6 billion gallons per year of renewable hydrogen content into gasoline and diesel fuel. Iogen will initially commercialize the approach using landfill biogas, and then expand production using biogas made in the cellulosic ethanol facilities it is currently developing.