Commercial plant produces cellulosic methanol

August 18, 2010
Aug. 18, 2010, Broomfield, CO – Range Fuels Inc., which is focusing on commercially producing low-carbon biofuels and clean renewable power, has produced cellulosic methanol from the initial phase of its first commercial cellulosic biofuels plant near Soperton, Georgia, using woody biomass. The first phase of the Soperton plant operations employs Range Fuels' innovative, two-step thermo-chemical process, which uses heat, pressure, and steam to convert biomass such as woody biomass and grasses into a synthesis gas composed of hydrogen and carbon monoxide. The syngas is then passed over a proprietary catalyst to produce mixed alcohols that are separated and processed to yield a variety of low-carbon biofuels, including cellulosic ethanol and methanol.

The cellulosic methanol will be used to produce biodiesel, ultimately displacing diesel oil in transportation fuel markets. It may also displace diesel in heating applications, be used as a fuel additive in gasoline-powered motor vehicles, or be used to power fuel cells. Range Fuels plans to begin production of cellulosic ethanol from the plant in the third quarter of 2010 that will meet ASTM standards for fuel-grade ethanol. It will displace gasoline in local and regional transportation fuel markets.

"This milestone is a giant step in overcoming the technological and financing challenges facing the commercialization of cellulosic biofuels and positions us extremely well to expand production of cellulosic biofuels,” says David Aldous, Range Fuels' president and CEO.

The Soperton plant initially will use woody biomass from nearby timber operations, but plans to experiment with other feedstock for the conversion process, including Miscanthus and switchgrass. Range Fuels plans to expand the capacity of the plant to 60 million gallons of cellulosic biofuels annually, with construction to begin next summer. The Soperton plant is permitted to produce 100 million gallons of ethanol and methanol each year.

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