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Biomass: A Federal Perspective
By Ron Kotrba
An article for those who want to be really "up" on ethanol and biomass.
Range Fuels' Process in a Nutshell
Range Fuels’ Soperton Plant is a first-of-its-kind plant to commercially produce low-carbon biofuels from non-food, renewable biomass. The plant employs Range Fuels’ two-step thermo-chemical process to convert woody biomass into cellulosic biofuels, including cellulosic ethanol and methanol. The first step volatilizes and gasifies the biomass to synthesis gas. The second step converts the synthesis gas to cellulosic biofuels, including methanol and ethanol, using a proprietary catalyst and reactor system.
The second step has not yet been realized. High cost of the enzyme catalyst has been cited by the company. - Blog Editor
Cellulosic Methanol Production
Range Fuels, Inc. has produced cellulosic methanol from the initial phase of its cellulosic biofuels plant near Soperton, Georgia. Range Fuels’ two-step thermochemical process uses heat, pressure and steam to convert nonfood biomass, such as woody biomass and grasses, into a synthesis gas composed of hydrogen and carbon monoxide. The syngas is then passed over a proprietary catalyst to produce mixed alcohols that are separated and processed to yield a variety of low-carbon biofuels, including cellulosic ethanol and methanol. “We are ecstatic to be producing cellulosic methanol from our Soperton Plant, and are on track to begin production of cellulosic ethanol in the third quarter of this year,” says David Aldous, Range Fuels’ President and CEO. “This milestone is a giant step in overcoming the technological and financing challenges facing the commercialization of cellulosic biofuels.” The methanol can be further processed into biodiesel. The Soperton Plant is permitted to produce 100 million gallons of ethanol and methanol each year. For more information, visit www.rangefuels.com.
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