World”s First Commercial Cellulosic Ethanol Plant
The Dow Jones News Service carries a story on a cellulosic ethanal, which could be of interest to Wisconsin given the abudance of forest products and forest product wastes in the state:
CENTRAL CITY, Neb. (Dow Jones)–Opening of the world’s first commercial cellulosic ethanol plant is slated for this fall in northern Spain, even though costs of producing alcohol fuel via the emerging technology are still estimated to be about 50%-100% higher than that for plants which use grain as a feedstock.
The Ontario-based SunOpta BioProcess Group (formerly Stake Technology), a division of SunOpta Inc. (STKL), announced last week that plans for start-up of a wheat straw-to-ethanol plant near Salamanca, Spain, are proceeding on schedule. . . .
“Most viewers see present cost of cellulose ethanol as around $3.50 per gallon – double cost from carbohydrate,” said Harrison Cooper president of the Bountiful Applied Research Corporation in Bountiful, Utah. “There has been mention (that) cellulose enzyme/fermentation costs might be (reduced) to as low as $1.30, but this is based on hopeful conjecture.”
Murray Burke, vice president and general manager of SunOpta’s BioProcess Group, disagrees with those figures, estimating that modern grain alcohol plants being built today may have a breakeven as low as 90-95 cents per gallon, compared to a cost-of-production which likely ranges from $1.40-$1.60 per gallon for a commercial-scale cellulosic facility, such as the Spanish plant. . . .