The demonstration cellulosic ethanol plant owned by Edeniq and located in Visalia, California has exceeded 1,000 hours of continuous operation. The corn-to-cellulosic migration plant uses the company’s proprietary technology to process more than one metric ton of feedstock per day into cellulosic ethanol. According to the company, this achievement exceeded the plant’s initial target. The project, funded in part by a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) grant, is being used to demonstrate the viability of producing ethanol in a cost-effective manner from non-food sources including corn stover, switchgrass and woodchips.
In addition to achieving over 1,000 hours of continuous operation, the plant sustained and exceeded the DOE’s target of at least 90 percent up time demonstrating over 95 percent operational reliability. In addition, the facility promotes the use of sustainable resources including reusing or recycling substantial portions of its water to meet process demands, according to a company press release.
“While we have been developing these ethanol technology solutions for years, being able to fully integrate and operate our own plant has given us invaluable, deeper insight into the intricacies of the process and has enabled us to continuously improve our core technologies and operations,” said Thomas P. Griffin, chief technology officer at Edeniq. “The DOE has been a tremendous leader and driver in moving US interests toward the commercialization of advanced biofuels, and we look forward to further collaboration with them in the pursuit of this shared mission.”
The next step for Edeniq is to continue operations of the plant under the co-sponsorship of the California Energy Commission. The plant will undergo further process enhancements toward the production of low-cost sugars from a range of biomass and agricultural waste sources, including those indigenous to California. Edeniq is also working with companies to implement larger scale facilities based on the successful testing and operations of its demonstration plant.