SDTC, North Carolina fund biomass projects

By Bryan Sims
Several biomass projects in the U.S. and Canada have received grants to help accelerate their biomass projects.

In the U.S., the Biofuels Center of North Carolina awarded $584,000 to three biomass-to-liquid fuel-related projects within the state. The impetus behind the funding is to help trigger the state's renewable fuels mandate, which requires replacing 10 percent of all liquid transportation fuels in North Carolina with biofuel consumption. The Biofuels Center is tasked to implement this initiative.

Notable recipients of this funding include:

›Research Triangle Institute in Research Triangle Park, N.C., which is developing technologies to remove tars and other impurities from biomass-derived synthesis gas.

›Abell Foundation, which is working collaboratively with energy crop research and development company Ceres Inc. and gasification technology company ThermoChem Recovery International Inc. to identify which energy crops could be grown in the state for thermochemical conversion to gases and liquids. The crops will be tested for their conversion potential at ThermoChem's gasification plant in Durham, N.C.

›North Carolina State University in Raleigh plans to demonstrate the use of a viable torrefaction pretreatment process in conjunction with a gasification process to produce liquid transportation fuels from woody biomass.

In Canada, Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC), a nonprofit that finances emerging clean technologies, awarded $53 million to 16 new clean energy projects, three of which involve biomass technologies.

Recipients of this funding include:

›Alterna Energy Inc., which aims to develop a multimodule biocarbon production facility that will convert 121,000 tons of woody biomass into 27,500 tons of biocarbon.

›Performance Plants Inc. plans to demonstrate improved cellulosic ethanol conversion processes by advancing trait development technologies that break down cellulose efficiently into biofuels and biochemicals.

›Greenfield Ethanol Inc. intends to develop a biochemical technology process for lignocellulosic ethanol production using corncobs as feedstock. If successful, Greenfield Ethanol says it could produce approximately 70 MMly (18 MMgy) of cellulosic ethanol from corncobs by 2015.