Auburn University to use PureVision technology

By Susanne Retka Schill
Web exclusive posted Oct. 28, 2008 at 1:45 p.m. CST

PureVision Technology Inc. made its first equipment sale and technology transfer agreement in mid-October to Alabama's Auburn University Natural Resources Management & Development Institute. The rapid biomass fractionation unit converts cellulosic biomass into sugars and lignin for making biofuels and chemicals. It will be used by Auburn's Center for Bioenergy and Bioproducts and be located in newly renovated space in the Forest Products Laboratory on the Auburn University campus. Funding for the equipment and research program is being provided by Auburn University, the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries, the USDA and the U.S. DOE.

"Our biorefining research and development programs are focused on deploying these advanced biomass fractionation technologies in conjunction with biochemical and thermochemical conversion processes to take advantage of Alabama's abundance of natural resources, particularly woody biomass, and convert them into energy or liquid fuels," said Steve Taylor, director of the Center for Bioenergy and Bioproducts.

PureVision's continuous process employs a counter-current extraction technique that removes and recovers hemicellulose and lignin fractions in two liquid streams leaving a solid fraction containing a relatively pure cellulose or fiber. The fractionation process, which can occur within approximately 10 minutes, can be done in a single stage or multiple stages depending upon the desired products.

In early October PureVision announced it had received the fifth and largest reactor to use in a new pilot plant at its laboratory in Fort Lupton, Colo. The continuous pilot plant is expected to be operational in December and will have a throughput capacity of about 1,000 pounds of dry biomass per day.