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Inbicon makes lignocellulosic ethanol a commercial reality

Larsen, Jan, Haven, Mai Østergaard, Thirup, Laila
Biomass and bioenergy 2012 v.46 pp. 36-45
biogas, biomass, biorefining, energy, ethanol, fermentation, gasoline, issues and policy, lignin, lignocellulose, markets, molasses, pellets, power plants, wheat straw, Denmark
Based on the IBUS process, Inbicon has built an advanced biorefinery at the port of Kalundborg in Denmark. In this biorefinery Danish wheat straw is converted to second generation (2G) ethanol, lignin pellets and C5 molasses. It is a demonstration plant working 24 h 7 days a week. In this way it is working as a commercial plant, but the size of the plant is not large enough to carry out a feasible production. It is possible to run as a commercial plant as the Danish Energy Agency has granted the design and construction phase and the European Commission's 7th Framework Programme for Energy Research (FP7) has granted the commissioning and first three years of operation. By the end of 2010 the demonstration plant has been totally commissioned and has gone into production phase. The first 2G ethanol has been sold to Statoil and is now distributed in 100 filling stations all over Denmark as Bio95 2G petrol. Lignin pellets are sold to DONG Energy and used as a high-quality solid biofuel in power plants. The C5 molasses is sold as biogas booster in local biogas plants. The demonstration plant has proved continuous operation from straw bales to fermentation and the expected yield of 2G ethanol (>198 L t⁻¹ dry straw). The process is developed, the products are on the market, lignocellulosic ethanol is reality - but in the same way as for almost any other new energy technologies, further policy and market incentives are still needed before investors will construct the first full scale commercial plants.