Biofuel company Logos Technologies and partner Edeniq have completed more than 1,000 hours of continuous operation at their corn-to-cellulosic migration (CCM) pilot plant in Visalia, Calif., the companies say.
Employing Edeniq’s proprietary technology, the plant converts 1 metric ton per day of non-food corn stover into ethanol. Performed on a commercial scale, this conversion process would result in a domestically produced, renewable and competitively priced biofuel with low greenhouse gas emissions and a small carbon footprint, according to the companies.
Supported by funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and the Department of Energy’s BioEnergy Technology Office, Logos Technologies managed the design, construction and 1,000-hour demonstration of the CCM plant.
Located at Edeniq’s headquarters, the facility first started producing ethanol in March 2012. Operations include mechanical pretreatment, saccharification, fermentation, distillation, liquids-solids separation and integrated process water recycling.
Edeniq contributed technology including the Cellunator for mechanical pretreatment and advanced saccharification and fermentation biochemistry. The Cellunator technology produces sugars by milling corn and other plant materials into “right-sized” particles of feedstock that can be more easily converted.
The companies say they plan to commercialize the technology demonstrated at the CCM plant and develop other concepts with the goal of initiating large-scale cellulosic facilities.
Cellulosic ethanol is on track be cost competitive with corn-based ethanol by 2016, a development that could drive the fuel’s production, according to an industry survey published in March, conducted by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Cellulosic ethanol cost 94 cents a liter to produce in 2012, about 40 percent more than ethanol made from corn, BNEF said. That price gap will close by 2016, surveyed cellulosic ethanol producers predicted.