NextFuels revives hydrothermal technology, plans test facilities
California-based NextFuels has unveiled its strategy to produce advanced biofuels from wet, unprocessed agricultural waste via a hydrothermal process originally developed by Shell in the 1980s. The company is currently focused on converting agricultural waste from palm oil production in Southeast Asia into drop-in coal and petroleum replacements.
The technology processes biomass within liquid water at temperatures of 300 to 330 degrees Celsius and pressure of 200 to 230 atmospheres, producing a putty-like GreenCrude. The GreenCrude can either be burned as a coal replacement, or further refined into transportation fuels.
NextFuels is in the process of designing and assembling a pilot plant in the Netherlands. The facility is expected to be operational by the second quarter of next year. The company also plans to construct a demonstration plant in Asia.