Fuel From Waste? It’s Happening.

Recently INEOS Bio, a subsidiary of INEOS (a global manufacturer of petrochemicals), announced, it has been successful in producing ethanol from nonfood sources, such as wood waste and glass clippings. The first ethanol shipments are expected to begin this month.

INEOS generated the fuel at its Indian River County BioEnergy Center near Vero Beach, Florida, with the help of a $50 million U.S. Department of Energy awarded in 2009. The plant will source more than 90% of its equipment within the U.S and is expected to employ over 50 full time jobs on a USD 4 million payroll.

The company projects will produce eight million gallons (24kta) of cellulosic ethanol and six megawatts (gross) of renewable power, annually. The process begins with cooking biomass material – such as vegetative and yard wastes – into a gas of carbon monoxide and hydrogen. The bacterium exerted from the waste, eats the gas, and in return emits purified alcohol for use as fuel.

Although the plant is working out its glitches, this advancement is the first commercial-scale production in the world to use gasification and fermentation technology for conversion of biomass waste into bioethanol and renewable power.

If ethanol fuel can be produced from abundant nonfood sources – such as household trash and yard scraps – it can replace fuel made from crude oil, which will ultimately reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

In 2012, KiOR, another renewable fuel company, spent more than USD 200 million on a platform to produce diesel fuel from wood waste.

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