Biomass-to-Gasoline Company Considering Additional Plant in Montana

CORE BioFuel Inc., a Canadian biofuel company that is commercializing a biomass-to-gasoline production process, will pursue an additional production facility to be possibly located in northwest Montana.

We are pleased with our progress in developing our demonstration production facility in British Columbia and we are now seeking potential sites for additional licensee facilities in those areas of the United States where beetle killed timber is readily available.

—Don Sigler, Chief Financial Officer and resident of Whitefish, Montana

CORE’s patent-pending MKS (Melnichuk-Kelly-Stanko) Gasoline Synthesis Process is a thermochemical process combining gasification and catalysts to produce an essentially carbon-neutral 92 octane gasoline (Zero Fossil Input (ZFI) Gasoline), according to the company.

Incoming biomass is chipped and dried to the desired moisture content. The dried wood chips are fed into a gasifier where they are converted to a synthesis gas and inert ash. The synthesis gas is then processed through a series of catalytic steps, with the end products being gasoline and distilled water. Conventional heat exchangers and steam turbines are used throughout the plant to produce sufficient electricity to operate the facility.

The Houston, British Columbia demonstration plant will produce approximately 18 million gallons of gasoline, 6 million gallons of distilled water, and will generate its own electric power.

CORE’s feedstock utilizes both beetle-killed timber and timber slash which has traditionally been burned in the field. Current estimates there are more than 40 million acres of beetle killed timber in British Columbia and the infestation has affected over 5 million acres in Montana.

(In another approach to using beetle-killed timber as a biofuel feedstock, California-based Cobalt Technologies, has successfully produced biobutanol from beetle-killed lodgepole pine using a non-enzymatic pretreatment process derived from the pulp and paper industry to release the C5 and C6 sugars from the pine, followed by fermentation with Cobalt’s optimized bacteria. (Earlier post.)


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