ETHANOL: Is It the Fuel of Tomorrow? Plenty of Companies Betting On It
Wednesday, July 25th, 2012
Late last week, Celanese Corp., Dallas, Texas, announced that it had established a pact with Indonesia that would allow Celanese to use its proprietary TCX technology to produce ethanol from coal. The company has already proven the technology in China and says it can produce ethanol at a price ranging from $1.50 to $2.00 a gallon. The technology can also be used to produce ethanol from other sources, including natural gas, which is being very carefully looked at in the U.S.
Stated Mark Oberle, senior v-p for Corporate Affairs at Celanese, "It's a breakthrough technology that allows us to produce ethanol cost-effectively using a variety of feedstocks." The company claims that ethanol burns cleaner than petroleum products and reduces emissions from vehicles.
According to Mr. Oberle, the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard precludes the use of any hydrocarbon as a raw material or feedstock for producing ethanol, thus most U.S.-made ethanol is produced from corn, an important feed crop. Celanese would like to change that Standard allowing readily available coal and natural gas to be used as a feedstock.
While Celanese has been a leader in developing ethanol process technology that doesn't capitalize on feed crops, it's certainly not alone.
Late last week, Swiss chemical maker Clariant inaugurated a pilot plant in Bavaria where it will produce cellulose ethanol from agricultural waste. At Straubing, Germany, Clariant plans to produce 1,000 m. tons of ethanol from 4,500 m. tons of wheat straw using its proprietary Sunliquid technology. The company said it has performed studies that indicate 22 million m. tons of wheat straw could be used to produce enough ethanol to replace about 25% of Germany's current gasoline requirements.
Closer to home, but also headquartered in Switzerland, Ineos announced yesterday that it has completed construction of a biorefinery j-v project at Indian River County, Fla. The $130 million project is expected to begin producing 8 million gallons of ethanol per year later in 2012 from yard waste, vegetable and household waste. Ineos' partner is New Plant Energy, a U.S.-based company.
Ineos said its ethanol plant is the first commercial-scale project of its type in the U.S., converting gases derived from waste into ethanol.
These technologies appear to make the use of ethanol as a vehicle fuel practical, primarily because they don't disrupt the cost of food stuffs and also because they reduce emissions.
If you liked this article, you might find these interesting too...
- ASSEMBLY: Ford Walks Away from Australia - 05-23-2013
- PLASTICS: Bayer Opens Polymer Development Center at Shanghai - 05-23-2013
- BUGS: Remember When Cars That Had Bugs Were Yellow? Not Anymore - 05-23-2013
- HERE WE GO AGAIN: Chinese Want to Buy Fisker with a Surprise - 05-22-2013
- RESEARCH: PSA to Close R&D, Admin Center - 05-22-2013
- ENGINES: Federal-Mogul Says it Has Breakthrough Piston Ring Coating - 05-22-2013