Monday, July 16, 2007

The Era Of General Fiber Ethanol Begins

How It Works (steps and link below) - Image Credit: Range Fuels

The Era Of General Fiber Ethanol Begins

Range Fuels, a company that is in the lead on building conversion plants that can take ANY fiber material (switch grasses, chaff, wood chips, mown grass, fallen tree limbs, waste stalks from corn production as opposed to the food – corn, and etc.) and convert it to Ethanol fuel has just been selected to construct the first commercially viable “Cellulosic” based power plant by the state of Georgia.

The reason this is truly “Peachy” isn’t that Georgia is the leading producer of a nuisance waste plant - KUDZU – but that this type of Ethanol production is the path to the change over from finite fossil fuels to renewable, human produce-able fuel resource.

This type of fuel production is very efficient. Cellulosic Ethanol can contain up to 16 times more energy than is required to create it! This is quite impressive when one considers that fossil fuel gasoline contains only 5 times more energy than was required to create it … and corn or sugar based ethanol contains only 1.3 times the energy required to create it.

So, let the era of sustainable general fiber Ethanol fuel production begin!

Image Credit: Range Fuels

Excerpts from the Range Fuels website –

Range Fuels awarded permit to construct the nation’s first commercial cellulosic ethanol plant
Independence Day marks the start of our country’s independence from fossil fuels

Range Fuels News Release - Palo Alto, CA. and Broomfield, CO – July 2, 2007

Range Fuels announced today that the company was awarded a construction permit from the state of Georgia to build the first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant in the United States. Ground breaking will take place this summer in Treutlen County, Georgia for a 100-million-gallon-per-year cellulosic ethanol plant that will use wood waste from Georgia’s forests as its feedstock. Phase 1 of the plant is scheduled to complete construction in 2008 with a production capacity of 20 million gallons a year.

“We are thrilled to receive this permit and anticipate the construction of many plants throughout Georgia and the Southeast using wood waste to make ethanol,” said Mitch Mandich, CEO of Range Fuels. “With Independence Day on July 4, we are excited to begin the march toward independence from our country’s reliance on fossil fuel.”
"The Department is pleased that the country is one step closer to making the widespread use of cellulosic ethanol a reality," U.S. Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman said. "This furthers the President's goal of deploying clean, renewable energy into the marketplace, and we are eager for the results of Range Fuels’ work, and the work of the other biorefinery grant recipients, to help increase energy security and enhance economic growth."

Range Fuels is at the forefront of new proprietary technology for producing cellulosic ethanol. While most domestic ethanol production requires corn as a feedstock, Range Fuels' proprietary process does not. The country’s ability to make corn ethanol is limited by the agricultural land available to grow it. The latest estimates predict that corn ethanol can only produce up to 15 billion gallons per year. On the other hand, the U.S. Department of Energy, in their joint report with the USDA, has identified over one billion tons of biomass annually that could be converted to biofuels, like ethanol. Range Fuels’ technology can transform all of this biomass, including wood chips, agricultural wastes, grasses, and cornstalks as well as hog manure, municipal garbage, sawdust and paper pulp into ethanol. The company has already successfully tested close to 30 types of biomass for producing ethanol.

Image Credit: Range Fuels

The company’s technology completely eliminates enzymes which have been an expensive component of cellulosic ethanol production. Range Fuels’ thermo-chemical conversion process, the K2 system, uses a two step process to convert the biomass to synthesis gas, and then converts the gas to ethanol. In addition to the ability to process a broad range of potential biomass feedstock, the K2 system benefits from a modular design.
The company selected Georgia for its first plant based upon the abundance of forest refuse and the renewable and sustainable forest industry. The state has demonstrated great stewardship of its forest lands and environmental sensitivity. The forests of Georgia can support up to 2 billion gallons a year of cellulosic ethanol production.

Range Fuels, with Governor Perdue, announced plans to build the plant on February 7 of this year.

Read All>>


Range Fuels has invented a two-step thermo-chemical process to produce cellulosic ethanol. Even if these words are foreign to you, the positives are sure to resonate: the process is self-sustaining, produces virtually no waste products, emits very low levels of greenhouse gases, and produces high yields of clean ethanol.

A Design Driven by Efficiency
Our focus on efficiency goes beyond how we produce ethanol – it also extends to where we produce it. Our distributive design lets us bring systems to sources where biomass is most plentiful, instead of having to transport biomass to a central processing site. This reduces transportation costs and related transportation fuel consumption. Our modularity also allows the system to grow as more biomass becomes available. Simply adding another module – which is easy to ship and install – immediately doubles the output. We put our systems where they are needed, in just the size that is needed.

Nature’s Way
Our entire approach is based upon the invention of eco-friendly technology. The best evidence of this is that we produce more ethanol per energy input than competing technologies. Nature likes this. Especially since everything going in is plant and waste material that serves no useful purpose. We call this conversion "waste to value," and this thrust is what motivates us to keep working our hardest.

Our Two-Step Thermo-Chemical Process

Step 1: Solids to Gas
Biomass (plant matter) that cannot be used for food and currently serves no useful purpose, such as agricultural waste, is fed into a converter. Using heat, pressure, and steam the feedstock is converted into synthesis gas (syngas), which is conditioned before entering the second step.

Step 2: Gas to Liquids
The conditioned syngas is passed over a catalyst and transformed into alcohols. These alcohols are then separated and processed to yield a variety of liquid products, specifically ethanol of a quality suitable for use in fueling vehicles.

Image Credit: Range Fuels

A Simple Process
Because Range Fuels’ process utilizes a thermo-chemical process, it relies on the chemical reactions and conversions between forms that naturally occur when certain materials are mixed under specific combinations of temperature and pressure. Other conversion processes use enzymes, yeasts, and other biological means to convert between forms.

Feedstock Flexibility
The Range Fuels process accommodates a wide range of organic feedstocks of various types, sizes, and moisture contents. This flexibility eliminates commercial problems related to fluctuations in feed material quality and ensures success in the real world, far from laboratory-controlled conditions.

Tested and True
Range Fuels’ technology has been tested and proven in bench and pilot-scale units for over 7 years. Over 8,000 hours of testing has been completed on over 20 different non-food feedstocks with varying moisture contents and sizes, including wood waste, olive pits, and more. This technology will be used in our first facility planned for a site near Soperton, Georgia.

Range Fuels K2 Process Graphically Explained Here>>

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