CELLULOSIC ETHANOL A NEW GENERATION OF BIOFUELS
Cellulosic Ethanol helps us to break our dependence on fossil fuels and at the same time lowers emissions of fossil greenhouse gas emissions. SEKAB’s patented process takes waste products from agriculture and forestry and converts them into ethanol, biogas and solid biofuels.
Our society is dependent on oil. Fossil energy has contributes to the high standard of living we have today, but an increasing number of observers believe that oil production has now peaked. We will probably soon see higher prices and reduced access to oil-based fuels and raw materials in the future.
Oil is an important raw material and the loss of it will have a significant impact. It forms part of numerous materials that we take for granted today, it builds our houses and runs our cars.
Residues response to declining oil production
New sources of energy and raw materials are required in response to declining oil production. SEKAB E-technology has developed a process for producing ethanol from cellulose, a raw material that is available in virtually unlimited quantities. Ethanol is a versatile chemical that can replace oil both as fuel and as a raw material in a multitude of chemical processes.
Cellulose is a renewable raw material
Cellulose is part of nearly all plant material and is the most common organic material on the planet. It consists of long chains of sugar molecules that are very difficult to break down. For 20 years SEKAB E-technology has, along with researchers from the universities of Umeå and Luleå, developed a process that uses heat, weak acids and enzymes to extract the sugar from the cellulose and convert it into ethanol.
Food and fuel in the same field
The cellulosic process provides many advantages. One of the most significant ones is that residues from the agricultural and forestry industries can be utilised. By using the straw instead of the grain from the wheat when it is harvested no foodstuff is used in the production of ethanol.
In the sugar industry what remains of the sugar cane is called the bagasse. If it is also used to produce ethanol, the production per hectare can be increased from 8000 to 12,000 litres – a 50 percent increase. There are many raw materials that can be used, everything from wood chips and paper residue to bagasse, corn residues and straw.
Cellulosic ethanol provides great benefits in terms of better utilisation of the land and higher energy output. The process can also be linked to a thermal power plant to produce electricity and heat from the residue, or to a biorefinery for biogas production. Then as much as 85 percent of the total energy content of the raw material can be utilised.
Full-scale plant soon in place
The demo plant in Örnsköldsvik is one of the most advanced in the world and our patented processes have been refined over time. We offer our customers the know-how and experience needed to build a full scale and tailor made facility that is optimised to meet their needs.
We also carry out development work with various partners and customers where we use our facilities and in-depth knowledge of testing the potential of raw materials, enzymes and yeast types.
Please contact us for more information – the chances are that we have mutual goals. For us at SEKAB the case is clear: cellulosic ethanol is going to be an important ingredient in a fossil-free future.