Syntec Biofuel Inc. (Syntec), the Canadian company developing biomass to fuel conversion technologies, has announced that it has achieved a yield of 105 gallons of alcohol (ethanol, methanol, n- butanol and n-propanol) per ton of biomass. This is not far short of their target is 113 US gallons per ton of biomass (previous post).
According to Syntec this yield is equivalent to revenues in excess of $27 million per year for a 300 ton per day biomass processing facility. Michael Jackson, President of Syntec made the following statement:
We are consistently seeing monthly improvements in our Biomass to Alcohols (B2A) process. This level of achievement makes the B2A process profitable in relatively small scale facilities using a wide variety of waste biomass feedstocks in any combination.
The Syntec B2A technology, initially developed at the University of British Columbia, is a second-generation cellulosic ethanol production process. The Syntec process parallels the low-pressure catalytic synthesis process that has been used by methanol producers.
Syntec’s innovative technology uses any renewable waste biomass such as hard or soft wood, sawdust or bark, organic waste, agricultural waste (including sugar cane bagasse and corn stover), switch-grass to produce syngas. This syngas, comprised of carbon monoxide and hydrogen, is then scrubbed and passed through a fixed bed reactor containing the Syntec catalysts to produce ethanol, methanol and higher order alcohols. The Syntec technology can also produce alcohols from biogas (sourced from anaerobic digestion of manure and effluent), landfill gas or stranded methane.
Recent media coverage on ethanol produced from agricultural crops, such as corn, has prompted an international questioning of the ethics and “hidden costs” of such alternative fuels.
Syntec technology only uses sustainable waste biomass to produce its biofuel. We believe strongly that fueling the worlds energy needs can be achieved without further impact to our environment, and that we possess the best and most ethical solution to bio-ethanol production.
This is the type of ethanol production process I like to promote because fuel produced from sustainable waste equals sustainable mobility. The fact that this technology is efficient in small plants co-located with waste streams and recycles water should also make it ideal for Australian conditions.