US firm breaks ground on seaweed-to-biofuels project in Chile

16 December 2011 16:43  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US biofuels firm Bio Architecture Lab (BAL) has broken ground on a pilot facility in Chile to further develop its technology to make biofuels from seaweed, it said on Friday.

BAL said the facility, in Chile’s Los Lagos region, would become operational next year, allowing it to “demonstrate a complete value chain from feedstock cultivation [of seaweed] to advanced biofuel production.”

The company plans to “scale-up” the project to a larger facility within four years, it added without disclosing capacity data.

BAL’s technology can metabolise the sugars in seaweed into fermentable sugars competitive with conventional sugar sources, it said. The company has already managed to produce ethanol and isobutanol from seaweed, it added.

“Seaweed is an ideal feedstock for commercial scale biofuels and chemicals production because it has up to 60% fermentable carbohydrates; it has no lignin; it does not require arable land use or freshwater to grow, and it reduces marine pollution,” it said.

On its website, Berkeley, California-based BAL lists a number of partnerships with other firms, including partnerships with DuPont and with Butamax, a biobutanol joint venture between DuPont and BP.

For more on DuPont and other producers visit ICIS company intelligence
Check out Doris de Guzman’s Green Chemicals Blog for views on sustainability issues


By: Stefan Baumgarten
+1 713 525 2653



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