Monday, April 7, 2008

Range Fuels: Biogass to Ethanol

I came across an article I thought worth sharing. Two points of interest. The initial article was found at and is worth reading.

One - Range Fuels, a biofuel startup, got a significant amount of direct investment. This to support its efforts in turning woody biomass into liquid fuel which are about to be commercially scaled in their first plant in Georgia under construction now. This round of funding came on the heels of another $76 million awarded by the US DOE to also support their technology.

Two - The process explained of how they will make their cellulosic ethanol. The article called it a "thermo-chemical" technique of turning wood into liquid fuel.

From my guessing this is a fancy way of saying they burn the wood, pull off the exhaust gas (now technically referred to as "biogas) and introduce the biogas to an environment that includes a catalyst. The catalyst in turn would create certain or pull out molecule chains that would then be further refined into liquid fuel (i.e. cleaned up).

Interesting stuff. I hope to have time to put up more on this technology process. I've read a little about it and seen presentations at conferences. Either way I need to learn more about it. Something in my gut says this is going to be the next big focus. Primarily because the combined heat and power potential probably fits extremely well with existing corn based ethanol and therefore could be readily adopted as a plant expansion for existing ethanol producers.

My thoughts are that we will be hearing increasingly more about Range Fuels going forward if for no other reason than they have the money to push for earned media coverage and must justify the cash they've recently pulled down.

NOTE: This blog first mentioned Range Fuels after they recieved a large investment from Vinod Kholsla. See the previous DieselGeek Post on the subject.

1 comment:

speakforthose said...

Nice post on energy "recycling," as it were. I'm actually associated with a company that does such things -- Recycled Energy Development. RED mostly works with waste heat, turning it into electricity and steam. And there's a lot of potential there to make the ethanol production process more efficient. The upshot is lower energy costs AND lower greenhouse pollution. That's what we need more of, and the technology is already here. The barrier is regulation -- utilities are protected as monopolies, and competitors are often kept out. That's where change needs to happen.