Membrane bioreactors (MBRs) are widely used in wastewater treatment plants because they intensify the biotreatment process, reduce the number of processing stages, retain the biocatalyst and help remove the product from the suspended solids. In order to take advantage of these benefits, as well as to enable continuous production, membrane modules have been developed and tested for lignocellulosic-ethanol production by researchers at the Dept. of Resource Recovery, University of Borås, with cooperation and support from the Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO).
Brazil – Technical and legal hurdles addressed by GranBio for its cellulosic ethanol plant [Full subscriber]
The first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant built in Brazil with investment by GranBio in São Miguel dos Campos, Alagoas was briefly operational in 2014 but had to shut down a couple of months later as a result of a variety of operational problems. According to Valor Economico, process conversion technology problems were exacerbated by legal issues underpinning access to latest technology.
Clariant has secured an approval from its board of directors to invest in a new commercial scale plant in south-west Romania to produce cellulosic ethanol.
Scientists from the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Cell Walls at the University of Adelaide have discovered that a variety of sorghum growing wild in Australia, Arun, has the potential to yield over 10,000 litres of bioethanol per hectare annually.
Feedstock for the demonstration-scale plant includes locally available wood chips, cotton stalk, cane bagasse and rice straw. The company reportedly invested more than US$5 million.
DuPont’s new $225m Iowa plant will begin making cellulosic ethanol next year, and the fuel is expected to result in 90 per cent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than conventional petrol. Feedstock will be corn crop residues cobs, husks and stalks which are baled following harvest.
The company recently inaugurated its first second-generation biofuel plant in Piracicaba, São Paulo, which is on the site of a conventional mill. The plant was completed late 2014 and built for BRL230 mln. The plant currently produces cellulosic ethanol at about BRL1.40 a litre, compared with BRL1.15 for conventional ethanol.
The plant currently produces cellulosic ethanol at about BRL1.40/ litre, compared with BRL1.15/litre for ethanol produced from cane sugar. Cellulosic ethanol production costs are expected to match sugar-based ethanol costs in 2017 and drop below them in 2018.