INEOS Bio develops waste-to-bioethanol plant

By Lisa Gibson
Posted June 17, 2010, at 4:49 p.m. CST

A 30-million-liter bioethanol plant planned for the INEOS Bio Seal Sands site in Tees Valley, U.K., will be the first commercial plant in Europe using the company's advanced BioEnergy Process Technology.

The plant should be operational by 2012 and will also generate 3 megawatts of electricity for export from over 100,000 metric tons (110,000 tons) per year of biodegradable household and commercial waste, according to INEOS Bio. The plant will have the capacity to provide the biofuel requirement of around 250,000 vehicles per year running on E10 and electricity for 6,000 households.

"Using our technology, the waste that is collected from homes and offices and otherwise thrown away, can be recycled into clean biofuel for cars and renewable electricity for homes and industry," said INEOS CEO Peter Williams. INEOS Bio's BioEnergy Process Technology combines thermochemical and biochemical processes to produce energy-efficient and low-cost biofuel from biomass materials. At the heart of the technology is an anaerobic fermentation step where naturally-occurring bacteria convert gases derived directly from biomass into bioethanol, according to the company. The bioethanol production is integrated with combined heat and power generation. The process supports high recycling and high landfill diversion rates and an independent life cycle assessment indicates that the bioethanol would deliver 100 percent greenhouse gas savings compared with using petrol in today's cars, according to INEOS Bio.

The company has received £7.3 million ($10.8 million) in grants from regional development agency One North East and the Department of Energy and Climate Change toward the £52 million construction costs for the facility. The plant will create 40 new permanent jobs, along with 350 jobs in the construction process.

Once operational, plans include the expansion of the facility to a larger integrated biorefinery, combining advanced bioenergy production with advanced waste treatment by 2015, according to INEOS Bio.