Georgia Biofuel Plant to Convert Biomass to Biofuel
Soperton, Georgia is now home to a fully functional cellulosic biofuel plant, according to an announcement on Friday by Range Fuels, a renewable energy company. The plant is capable of commercially producing both ethanol and methanol, which can be converted to biodiesel, from non-food waste.
The cellulosic biofuel plant currently starts its process with wood chip waste from nearby timber plants, although Range Fuels says it is also experimenting with using switchgrass and miscanthus. Heat and pressure convert the plant material into a synthetic gas, which is composed of hydrogen and carbon monoxide. The gas then undergoes a second process at the cellulosic biofuel plant that includes a "proprietary catalyst." This process produces alcohols, which are then converted into ethanol or biodiesel and used to fuel vehicles.
Funded by a combination of private and government investments, the cellulosic biofuel plant is expecting to begin turning a profit very soon, with commercial production of biodiesel and ethanol expected to begin by the third quarter of this year. The current capacity of the cellulosic biofuel plant is less than 10 million gallons per year, according to an email from CEO David Aldous, but the company is planning to begin construction next summer to increase that capacity to 60 million gallons.