Self Powered Cellulosic Refinery Launched

Joanna Schroeder

Back in 2009, Allard Research and Development debuted its small ethanol and biodiesel refineries. This month, they have released the first self-powered modular cellulose ethanol refinery that uses cellulose feedstock grown as part of the system in hydroponic shipping containers. The system can produce 20 gallons per hour and fits into 3,600 square feet and can be attached together to create larger scale systems.

“The ability to grow the cellulose feedstock as part of the system is a game-changer,” said Adam Allard, Founder and Chairman. “Historically, the big limiting factor for people wanting to make their own ethanol fuel has been a lack of abundant feedstock.  Now it comes with the system. This process also provides an answer to an ongoing debate in this industry… it stops the food vs. fuel debate and does not take farmland that could be used to produce food crops.”

The patent pending system integrates an engine generator and distillation system in one. The waste heat from the engine is used for the distillation process and creates enough electricity to also power the entire mini biorefinery. The engine uses the gasified waste from the cellulose process as its fuel. In addition, the water is cleaned and reused in the system. Together, the ethanol is produced in a closed-loop system that minimizes waste and uses all feedstock components.

The company believes that its mini-biorefinery is a good option because it can be sited next to the feed source, needs only a fraction of the costs of a full-scale plant and the fuel can be sold to fuel retailers for use as E85 or any other ethanol fuel blends. The company expects to go into production during the 1st Quarter of 2012 but is currently taking orders.

Cellulosic, Ethanol