Atlantic Biomass, Bionoid partner on hemp-based SAF

By Atlantic Biomass LLC | August 12, 2022

In a surprise announcement at the annual Advisory Board Meeting of the Maryland Energy Innovation Institute (MEI2), Phase I MEI2 grant recipient Atlantic Biomass LLC signed a Letter of Intent with Bionoid Inc. signaling their joint commitment to producing commercial quantities of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) from residual hemp biomass.

This LOI will lead to the production of SAF and other bioproducts from up to 190,000 tons of annual residual hemp biomass harvests.

The first stage of this project will be based on hemp from Ecuadorian farms that are part of the Cannabis Biomass Production Pilot Project that Bionoid has recently developed with the Ecuadorian Center for Environmental Biotechnology (CEBA). “The combination of our Integrated Farmer Program with this very simple and very efficient process developed by Atlantic Biomass and their partners at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, The Ohio State University, and Hood College, will lead to a competitively priced source of renewable jet fuel,” said Ariel Maman, founder of Bionoid, a multinational hemp supply and service company built upon capital efficiency and rapid growth that focuses on ecologically sustainable, large-scale cultivation through farming partnerships, and pharmaceutical-grade processing. “Besides providing a very low greenhouse fas (GHG) renewable jet fuel, we will be able to provide a solid, sustainable income for growers international outside of the often volatile CBD market.” Income from the purchase of biomass for jet fuel production is estimated at $20 million (USD) over the three-year period included in the LOI.

“This agreement with Bionoid launches us on the commercial pathway we need,” said Atlantic Biomass President Bob Kozak. “And, we could not have done it without the Maryland Energy Innovation Institute. They took a chance on our lab science and with the Phase I funding we were able to prove it worked when we scaled it up. We can’t wait to build the prototype!”

The team’s next task is to translate Phase I results into a prototype that will be the basis for commercial operations. “In Phase II we have three goals,” said Kozak. “First, the system has to be easy to operate while producing high conversion efficiencies. Second, it has to be energy and GHG efficient, and third, besides the initial design, it has to be the basis for future portable systems that can work in regions with dispersed farms like the Eastern Shore.”

Primary Phase II prototype testing is envisioned to take place in conjunction with the University of Maryland Eastern Shore Department of Agriculture, Food, and Resource Sciences. “They already have built capacity in great hemp genetics, plant tissue culture systems, and pest management programs,” said Kozak. “We’d like to add biomass-to-biofuel processing to their quiver of expertise. This project would not only continue the tradition of building Maryland businesses by exporting Maryland-developed technologies, but it could also build the UMES biomass processing center into an international sustainable biofuel/bioproduct center, a first for a HBCU institution.”