Issue: Feb 2012


ANNOUNCEMENT OF MAJOR NEW BIO FUEL SYSTEM PLANNED FOR EARLY APRIL



by Bob Brooks

The authoritative industry newsletter, BiofuelsDigest, has reported that an important new bio fuel production system will be explained at the Advanced Biofuel Leadership Conference in Washington, DC, April 2-5, 2012 

The Digest information so far is limited to saying that a new technology option for conversion of biomass to cost competitive drop-in fuels is “capital-light and permits rapid scale up to massive scale”. This hopeful sign coincides with intense demand from military and airlines for very large quantities of bio fuel with national security and environmental advantages. All manner of military vehicles and many airliners have been test operated with experimental quantities of bio fuels made in relatively small quantities at high cost. Results have been favorable and fuel purchase orders readied for release as soon as economic large volume production is assured. 

While no specifics about the anticipated new technology have been revealed, one,
possibility may be the type of technology reported by AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRIES in September, 2011 developed by the Ottawa, Canada firm, Ensyn Technologies Inc. Ensyn’s RTP(rapid thermal processing)system developed over the past 25 years, converts pulverized biomass to light bio crude oil in 2 seconds when exposed to 500 degC sand. After separation from the sand, it is used as boiler fuel or further refined to gasoline, diesel or JetA fuels. Performance is equal to petroleum product. Ensyn is teamed with World class refiners Honeywell UOP and Chevron for crude to fuel processing.
Adding confidence in the Ensyn system is the firm’s production so far of over 30 million gallons of RTP based product positioning the firm as a leader in pyrolysis technology. It is not known, however, whether this or an alternative technology is the one referred to by BiofuelsDigest for presentation at the coming April meeting. 

A related development contained in the recent budget proposal by the Obama administration calls for $4 billion cut in tax credits per year for the oil and gas industry and 30% increase in funding for development of clean energy including bio fuels. Adding further incentive to move ahead with bio fuel are forecasts that the retail price of gasoline may reach $4.60/gal before the start of summer driving this year. 

Ensyn lists the following organizations as participants in development, evaluation or raw material supply for RTP oil and fuel; DOE National Renewable Lab., Northwest National Lab., Ceres Inc., Cargill, Grays Harbor Paper co., H.R Bio Petroleum Growth., Imperium, Tesaro, Country Mark, Kern Oil, General Motors, Boeing and Michigan Technical University(life cycle analysis) 

Ensyn has licensed its technology to Green Fuel Nordic Oy, Finland , now producing RTP oil as boiler fuel and for further upgrading to engine fuels which are considered “nearly carbon neutral”. Overall, Ensyn currently forecasts installed capacity of 800 million gal/yr in the U.S. by 2017 and a like quantity off-shore. 

Next are the who and what questions about the BiofuelsDigest news promised for April.


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