Syntic buys catalyst technology to convert biomass to ethanol

I came across this over on Envirofuel, a company called Syntic Biofuel has got hold of some catalyst technology to convert biomass into ethanol at a cost of around US 37 cents when operating at

This is the kind of “cellulosic” technology that I like, it is well understood and the products from thermal decomposition look easy to manipulate into sensible fuels. I think that most of the competition will take place in the area of yields and rates of reaction, which is where catalysis technology will be important.

Luke has some good questions that will have to be answered if this technology is going to become commercial.

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One Response to Syntic buys catalyst technology to convert biomass to ethanol

  1. envirofuel 4 January, 2008 at 10:18 pm #

    Hi Simon,

    What I didn’t highlight in the post you’ve mentioned here is the amount of biomass these processes use. It is a lot. I first started thinking about this when I wrote about Choren . Choren are expecting to use one million tonnes per year of biomass to produce 250 million litres of synthetic diesel. If such a process is going to be sustainable Choren will need access to renewable forests about 20 times the area required to produce their 100 million tonnes a year. That is lot of trees!

    Fortunately the Syntec process appears much more efficient (not considering the efficiency of the fuel produced). Based on some very rough calculations the Syntec process should be able to produce about 400 million litres from 100 million tonnes of biomass.


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