The Biorefinery Project of the Future – Part II of 10 – Add Cellulosic biomass
In part I of our series, we outlined the beginnings of the Bioenergy Project of the Future, based on dozens of interviews on the future of technology, policy, rural communities, finance, and the demand for bio-based products and renewable fuels.
We outlined three principles fordevelopment: First do no harm. Less is more. Add ingredients slowly and stir.
“We not only have to demonstrate technological prowess in bioprocessing, we have to demonstrate financial and management acumen to all our stakeholders – the community, policymakers, lenders, and customers.
Biomass storage at the Inbicon plant in Kalundborg, Denmark
“That’s where the first-generation biofuel plant comes in. In this phase of the Project – which can be purchased or built – the product goal is to make and distribute ethanol (butanol is fine too) or biodiesel. Ethanol is preferred.”
Part II – Collecting Cellulosic Biomass
In the Bioenergy Project of the Future, you have told us that we will be thinking in terms of a graduated series of bolt-ons, beginning with the collection of cellulosic biomass. No, we won’t yet be adding the capacity to convert that into fuels just yet. That would be getting ahead of ourselves. First, we have to demonstrate that we can build a sustainable ecosystem around the harvest and delivery of biomass.
In some executions, we have an established system for aggregating biomass. For example, municipal solid waste, or wood chips. But we need to ensure that we understand how to effectively sort MSW to isolate the materials we need, and in the case of wood chips we would need to demonstrate that we can build a feasible system that is not exposed to ruinous competition for biomass from existing pulp-and-paper and biomass-to-power assets.
But it is more than that. The USDA, in its Roadmap for achieving the goals of the Renewable Fuel Standard, identifies energy grasses and agricultural residues as the key feedstocks over the next ten years. And in our bolt-on philosophy, we are almost certainly building or acquiring a plant near the current first-generation feedstocks, which dictate a reliance on grasses.
Submitted by mbroeren on Mon, 2010-09-27 09:54