Canadian Biomass Magazine

Canadian governments strengthen bio-extraction

December 14, 2011
By Wood Business

Dec. 14, 2011 - New solvent-recovery equipment being installed at POS Bio-Sciences will improve its capacity to help Canadian industry and international clients bring new bio-based oil ingredients to market with reduced research costs and environmental impact.

Dec. 14, 2011 – New solvent-recovery equipment being installed at POS Bio-Sciences will improve its capacity to help Canadian industry and international clients bring new bio-based oil ingredients to market with reduced research costs and environmental impact. POS's clients from the cosmetics, nutraceuticals, food supplement and bio-fuels industries are eager to begin trials using this new equipment.

The Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification, and the Honourable Ken Cheveldayoff, Minister of First Nations and Métis Relations, on behalf of the Honourable Jeremy Harrison, Saskatchewan Minister of Enterprise and Minister Responsible
for Trade, announced a shared investment of $261,000 to purchase and install solvent-recovery equipment at POS Bio-Sciences which will achieve more cost-effective extraction processes for oils, proteins, and bio-mass by reducing water and solvent usage.

"The Government of Canada is working to provide the technology and resources Canadian companies require to expand and create more jobs," said Minister Yelich. "Targeted investments for industry-related research and development will improve business productivity and enhance Canada's economic competitiveness."

"The support we are providing to POS Bio-Sciences is part of our commitment to build on our knowledge economy by making Saskatchewan a destination for researchers and research companies looking to do business," said Minister Cheveldayoff. "Saskatchewan has an established track record of joining applied sciences service to various industries, using cost effective, cutting edge technology to produce reliable results."


The federal and provincial governments are each contributing $130,500 through the Canada-Saskatchewan Western Economic Partnership Agreement (WEPA) to the equipment purchase and installation. POS Bio-Sciences is providing the balance of the project funding which totals $440,000.

POS Bio-Sciences will purchase and install a custom-designed, explosion-proof solvent condenser along with two storage tanks and a chiller system tailored to POS specifications for biomass and microalgae extraction. Installation is expected to be complete in summer 2012.

Solvents in the bio-extraction process are costly, challenging a company's ability to achieve price point competitiveness. POS's new equipment will minimize the amount of solvent required in the extraction process, thereby reducing production costs and increasing the profitability of
product development.

"This equipment will be of great interest to a broad spectrum of companies in both food and non-food industries, predominantly those with an interest in extraction of biomass such as microalgae, yeast, and bacteria," says Dale Kelly, POS President & CEO. "The extraction technology for biomass is in its very early stages and its potential spans far beyond the early identified uses, into the future."

American Process Incorporated (API) launched a waste-to-cellulosic ethanol biorefinery project in Alpena, Michigan.

The pilot scale biorefinery is at the Decorative Panels International
hardwood plant in Alpena. The biorefinery will convert the process waste
effluent from the plant into cellulosic ethanol, sodium acetate and
clean, warm water. The project has potential to be replicated across the
state in other biorefineries, pulp and paper mills, and food and
agricultural processing plants.

Michigan Technical University will contribute research to improve
fermentation processes and also on the use of sodium acetate for novel
de-icing applications.

The $4 million in COEE funding to API helped secure a US Department of Energy (DOE) grant for $17.9 million.

API has invested $10 million in the project and estimates that
replication across Michigan in existing industries alone could create
annual economic value of $200 million within 10 years.

Background (from API website)

American Process Inc is prominent in the cellulosic biorefinery field.
We have developed several proprietary processes for ethanol production.
Our proprietary process, AVAP™ (American Value Added Pulping)
co-produces pulp and ethanol from wood in an integrated biorefinery
application. Another technology, GREEN POWER+™, is a process to add an
extraction module and ethanol production module to a biomass boiler. In
addition to developing technology, American Process provides complete
ethanol plant design, detailed engineering and project management.

AVAP™ utilizes alcohol sulfite cooking liquor to fractionate softwood
chips into three lignocellulosic components. An addition of alcohol
speeds the pulping, while preserving the cellulose strength. Volatile
cooking chemicals are stripped and reused in the cooking process at a
high recovery rate. Lignosulfonates are precipitated and burned to
produce process energy. The remaining liquid fraction contains
hydrolyzed hemicelluloses. The value of converted hemicelluloses is 4-5
times greater for society as ethanol than as presently burned. Biomass
from the surrounding wood processing plants as well as logging residues
can provide energy self-sufficiency for the mill.

Process integration and efficient recovery of chemicals are the
cornerstones for the low overall cost. Because ethanol processing occurs
concurrently with pulping, the heat and chemical input are split
between the two products, without sacrificing the yield on either
product. Flexibility to swing yield between the two products provides
financial stability over the market conditions. Additional biofuels and
chemicals are obtainable from the process if the economics are

American Process, in partnership with Diamond Alternative Energy, a
wholly-owned subsidiary of Valero Energy Corporation, completed
construction of a biorefinery demonstration plant in Thomaston, GA in
February, 2010, to prove and refine the AVAP™ process.

GREEN POWER+™ utilizes a module in front of the biomass boiler that
utilizes steam extract hydrolyzate as feedstock and an ethanol
extraction module. Dewatered solids are then returned to the biomass
boiler. The process significantly increases overall profitability by
converting low BTU hemicelluloses into high value ethanol.

The process enables cost effective cellulosic ethanol production at a
small scale of 10-20MMUSG/year, with an ethanol production cost ~$1/USG.

Key success factors of this process are the cost effective treatment of
the extract, being able to return consistent biomass composition to the
boiler with uninterrupted operation, and an effective energy integration
of ethanol production with biopower.

This technology is applicable not only in the pulp and paper industry,
but also for biomass power stations in utilities and any industry
employing biomass boilers for power production.

American Process is planning a prototype biorefinery in Alpena,
Michigan, that this technology is based on. The plant has been awarded
grants from the Michigan Economic Development Commission, and from the
Department of Energy. This plant is projected to be operational by the
end of 2011.

Besides our own technologies that we are continuing to develop in our
two labs in Atlanta, we believe that there will be many credible
technologies to be used for co-producing cellulosic ethanol with pulp
and paper. Therefore, we are continuing to gather know-how in the fields
of gasification and hemicelluloses pre-extraction by collaborating with
the leading biorefinery academic institutions and forest products

We believe the right technology for each case will depend on the local
economic energy prices, the paper product mix, the wood species and the
existing site configuration.

Simulating ethanol production in pulp and paper mills and doing “what
if” scenarios is critical in order to achieve an efficient design.
American Process Inc has the only commercial simulator that simulates
pulp and paper and ethanol in one program, apiMAX™.

Source for article: Wood Business

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