Monday, October 20, 2014

Ethanol From Cellulose Goes Into Industrial Production

This from Biofuels Digest for 10-20-2014:

In Kansas, Abengoa Bioenergy officially opened the world's largest cellulosic biorefinery in Hugoton on Friday, surrounded by dignitaries such as US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, Kansas senior Senator Pat Roberts, former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, former Energy Secretary Bill Richardson among many others.

The second generation cellulosic ethanol plant in Hugoton, Kansas, located about 90 miles southwest of Dodge City finished construction in mid-August and began producing cellulosic ethanol at the end of September with the capacity to produce up to 25 million gallons per year.

In today's Digest, we have the complete story - including remarks by US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, US Senator Pat Roberts, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, Abengoa CEO Manuel Sánchez Ortega and Abengoa Bioenergy chief Javier Garoz - and more - plus the full background on the refinery and industry reaction, at

At last,  non-food ethanol is arriving.  We now have a way to eat the corn,  and make fuel out of the cobs and stalks,  and it scales up to industrial operations.  When this catches on in a big way,  there will be no more "food versus fuel" as the excuse for not employing this technology to the max.

There's a lot more cellulose to convert out there than there is grain.  That'll take the resource-limitation off of ethanol production rates.  Which leaves only bureaucratic recalcitrance from those agencies in the pockets of big oil,  and from congress itself.

As it says in my other ethanol-related postings,  you can use this stuff in very stiff gasohol blends in totally factory-stock cars,  of any age.  It acts to extend catalytic converter life,  by keeping the soot buildup down.  Engines and engine oil run cleaner,  and last longer.  All from reduced flame soot.

Which also is why mileage is the same as plain gasoline up to about E-40:  the reduced-soot flame is also a more efficient combustion process.  That is what my doctoral dissertation was about.

E-10 is currently "unleaded regular",  E-15 is available in a few places for newer cars,  just not widely available.  I routinely use E-30 to E-35 in all my 4-stroke equipment of any age,  and have for 8 years.  If there were a problem in cars or 4-stroke lawn equipment,  I'd have found it by now.

The 2-stroke and boat motor communities need to catch up and get on board with this,  by making the change to ethanol-compatible materials.  The automotive and 4-stroke folks did this years ago,  and my experimentation confirms it.  The airplane folks also need to make this change:  leaded avgas won't be around forever.

The EPA is simply wrong to restrict its use to E-10 or E-15 for "fear of damage to emission controls",  and to restrict its use as E-15 to newer cars.  They listened too closely to the lobbies and not to the actual science and experimentation.

See also on this site not far below:

11-2-13:  "An Update on Ethanol Fuel Use"

11-3-13:  "Aviation Alternative Fuel Compatibility Issues"

Update 12-18-14:

This press release is from “Biofuels Digest” for Thursday 12-18-14.  One should note that Brazil is the world capital of sugar cane ethanol production.  This announcement is for cellulosic ethanol production at a price that sells in Brazil,  where the “easy” ethanol from sugar cane sugar has been “king” since the 1980’s.  Remarkable!  The end of the food-versus-fuel objection is now in sight. 

In Brazil, Iogen and Raí­zen announced they have begun production of cellulosic ethanol on schedule at Raízen`s newly expanded Costa Pinto sugar cane mill in Piracicaba, São Paulo, Brazil.

"We finished construction on schedule, and said we expected a Q4 startup, and we're on time," said Ziyad Rahme, SVP and General Manager for Iogen Energy. "We've had a short one-month ramp up, and started production and are making ethanol. Raizen right now have made 200,000 liters available and are selling cellulosic ethanol in Brazil. That's also very exciting."