Bioenergy Deployment Consortium to host spring meeting, symposium April 5-6 in Washington, D.C., will feature information about 'horizontal' integration of biofuels, biochemicals facilities to sell byproducts, share infrastructure

WASHINGTON , March 9, 2011 (press release) –

The Bioenergy Deployment Consortium will host a spring meeting and symposium April 5-6, 2011, in Washington, D.C.
BDC is dedicated to providing the knowledge you need to make the right decisions regarding what your company is going to do in this new bio-industry. BDC is cutting through the fog to give you the information you need and can use right now. 

BDC Spring 2011 Symposium Content
Symposium Agenda for 2011 Spring Meeting
A BDC/USDA panel will follow the Spring Meeting and will be a unique opportunity for members to meet with USDA officials on the afternoon of April 6 to discuss how the USDA and the Pulp and Paper Industry can work together to meet mutual goals regarding energy reduction and biofuel production.
For information on these meetings, contact Bob Cadwalader at 630-858-4897 or at
The BDC is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to assist its members and build private and public institutional readiness to participate in the U.S. bio-economy with the focus on deployment of developed technologies. To achieve this mission, BDC's strategy is to keep our members abreast of the latest pertinent technology and government policy, while educating members of the energy industry, its nationwide partners, government officials, and interested members of the general public about the potential for the nation of producing bio-chemicals, biofuels and bio-power, improving energy efficiency and energy sustainability while reducing GHG emissions.
BDC will conduct semi-annual on-site member symposiums with industrial bioenergy facility tours focusing on technical topics, funding sources, and relevant government programs as directed by the steering committee.
BDC will provide regular, timely updates on those same topics relative to new technology information and changes in funding opportunities and government incentives.  This will include maintaining the BDC website with searchable database of relevant current and past articles, and past symposium presentations.
BDC will also work to secure funding or additional funding to deploy  pertinent bioenergy projects.  This could include leveraging private funds with federal, state and private funds.
Other activities will include preparation of white papers, partnering with organizations which have parallel missions, and sending out periodic press releases on BDC activities.
The emerging biofuel/biochemical industry is following classic techno-economic theory. There will be setbacks like that reported from Range Fuels, Soperton, Georgia, but there will be progress if fossil fuel prices remain high.  BDC  provides insights into technology platforms and individual projects. Members come to BDC to gain information about which projects will be more successful and which ones will be less successful. There is a growing understanding that biofuel and biochemical facilities need to be “horizontally  integrated” with other facilities to sell by-products like heat and power and/or share critical infrastructure.  
Several projects use this concept, others do not. For example, POET’s proposed cellulosic ethanol plant is horizontally integrated with their corn ethanol plant. The proposed Flambeau River Biofuels and NewPage Project Independence use TRI gasification technology and are horizontally integrated with paper mills.  Horizontal integration is not required, BUT when it is not present there needs to be some other significant economic offset like low cost raw material.  BlueFire and Enerkem are not horizontally integrated but they will use very low cost feedstock. There are a number of other  positive developments
A Honeywell division has just announced an RTP plant (Rapid Thermal Processing) plant that generates an pyrolysis oil to replace fuel oil) at Crane and Company in Dalton MA.  The process is integrated with the existing industrial facility.  It will have high yield (150+ gallons per dry ton of feedstock) and low cost raw material.  
KL Energy of Rapid City SD has entered into a Joint Development Agreement with Petrobras, the giant Brazilian Oil Company.  Petrobras paid in excess of $10 million to use the KLE demonstration scale plant in Upton, Wyoming.  If the run of bagasse is successful, Petrobras is committed to build cellulosic ethanol plants using KLE technology at their sugar ethanol plants in Brazil.  Here they will have both horizontal integration and cheap raw material.  Since Petrobras have plants and a good balance sheet, this is very interesting.
API is an energy company that is taking advantage of integration by taking ownership of the waste effluent from a hardboard plant in Michigan, which will provide a low cost feedstock.  The waste stream contains cellulosic and lignin wastes that API will convert to high value biochemicals.  API has a very good business model that should make it profitable.  The integration of processes for industries will result in lower costs, making them viable and competitive in the long run.
KiOR has shown promise with their process which uses standard oil refinery process equipment, a catalytic cracker, with the only change being the inlet feed which allows pulverized wood to be introduced rather than petroleum oil.  (KiOR has recently received loan guarantees from DOE of $1 billion to proceed with plants in Mississippi.)  In the catalytic cracker,  wood fines are converted to a crude "refinery oil" that can be taken to a standard refinery for converting to fuels and chemicals.  Since the process equipment is standard in the petroleum industry, scale up issues should be diminished. They will have high yields, but will start with clean chips and will need to convert to forest residues to address raw material costs and keep the process economic in the long run.
POET has proven their process of fermentation of cellulosic corn waste in a demonstration plant and is planning to build a 25 million gallon per year commercial cellulosic ethanol plant in Emmetsburg, IA for startup in 2012.  Original costs of the ethanol produced was around $4.00 per gallon, but they have gotten it down to $2.15.  Based on their experience, they expect to have the cost down to $2.00 per ton or lower within a year or so.  Capital cost is $250 million with $100 million coming from DOE.  They have placed a lot of focus on collection of the biomass and see it as key to keeping costs down. They will supply the plant with material within a radius of 35 miles.  To reduce costs, they are using anerobic digestion to convert process waste to methane which will replace natural gas in the cellulosic biorefinery and in the adjacent corn ethanol plant.  
A key to success in the bio-industry is efficient use of the waste streams in a process.  In a thermal process, utilizing the waste heat to produce steam and electricity can take thermal efficiency from a range of 20 - 30% for standalone processes to 70 - 80% for integrated processes.  So again, processes that are likely to be successful are those where the facilities are horizontally integrated.
Europe provides more and larger examples of success where federal support has been steadier (fewer projects but larger financial support).  Here are some of the examples.
There is a Chemrec black liquor gasification demonstration plant at Kappa Smurfit in Pietà, Sweden.  Recently a Dimethyl-Ether (DME) demonstration plant has been added.  Volvo was commissioned to supply 17 trucks with special diesel engines.  The goal is to optimize fuel and engines for optimum thermal efficiency.  This facility in commissioning, and so are the trucks, just a few kilometers south of the arctic circle.  
Last month, the European Commission just announced $75 million funding for a commercial gasifier and DME plant at Domsjo in Ornskoldsvik, Sweden.  Domsjo is a mill that makes and sells chemical grade cellulose to Asia.
Last week, Metsà Botnia announced a 48 MW gasifier for their mill in Joutsento.  This gasifier will use forest slash to generate syngas to be burned in the lime kiln.  This is economical when natural gas and fuel oil costs are high.
Overall, there are  have setbacks and progress, but there is more progress than setback. The  developments in Europe need watching because  there is a different level of sustained support and higher energy costs.  In their environment the ratio of successes will be higher.  There is  more capital in the US but much lower energy costs and changing support policies.  In that  environment the US  will have more varied development but also more failures.

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