Canadian Biomass Magazine

Cobalt demonstrates new pre-treatment process

March 8, 2012
By Cobalt Technologies

Mar. 8, 2012 - Cobalt Technologies has successfully demonstrated its new pre-treatment process for converting sugars into n-butanol.

Mar. 8, 2012 – Developer of next generation n-butanol, Cobalt Technologies, has successfully demonstrated its biomass pretreatment process.

The dilute acid hydrolysis pretreatment process, which is the initial
step for converting sugars into n-butanol, was tested in cooperation
with Andritz, supplier of technologies, equipment and plants for pulp
and paper industries. The process, which extracts sugars from
ligno-cellulosic biomass, was validated on woody biomass, bagasse and
agricultural residues.

The demonstration illustrates major progress towards the goal of
commercial scale production. 'Demonstrating our high-yield pretreatment
process is a key milestone for Cobalt as we prove that our n-butanol
technology will efficiently work at commercial scale and at an
attractive low cost,' says Bob Mayer, CEO of Cobalt Technologies.

The Andritz pulp and paper mill demonstration facility in Springfield
is specifically designed to validate new processes before
commercial-scale implementation and was the location of the recent


Cobalt's pre-treatment process was tested on both a batch and
continuous basis, proving both its flexibility and efficiency. These
runs processed up to 20 bone-dry tons of biomass per day and
successfully extracted sugars from the biomass to produce liquid
hydrolysate, without the use of enzymes. Liquid hydrolysate is a
liquid-based sugar that can be converted into n-butanol.

'By proving we can meet, and in some areas, exceed our commercial
targets and cost metrics at this scale, we are now well positioned to
leverage this critical milestone to support our on-going
commercialization efforts,' says Mayer.

This marks the first phase of Cobalt's partnership with specialty
chemical company, Rhodia, which will see the development of bio
n-butanol refineries throughout Latin America using bagasse as a

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