UOP, Ensyn to form joint venture company

By Erin Voegele
Web exclusive posted Sept. 16, 2008 at 1:23 p.m. CST

UOP LLC, an Illinois-based Honeywell subsidiary, and Ontario-based Ensyn Corp. announced Sept. 10 that they have signed a letter of intent to form a joint venture company. The new entity will license technology and equipment that will convert biomass into oil used for power generation, and in heating and transportation fuels. UOP will maintain majority partnership of the venture. The agreement is expected to be finalized before the end of the year.

The joint venture company will offer Ensyn's Rapid Thermal Processing (RTP) technology which converts biomass materials, such as forest and agricultural wastes, into bio-oil that can be used in power and home heating applications. According to Ensyn's Web site, the technology involves introducing biomass material into a vessel. The material is rapidly heated to 500 degrees Celsius (932 degrees Fahrenheit) by a tornado of hot sand, and then rapidly cooled. The process creates a pourable bio-oil, which constitutes about 75 percent of the output. Char and non-condensable gas are produced as byproducts, and can be used to continue powering the process.

UOP will contribute its expertise in the design and engineering of large-scale plants. The company has significant experience commercializing refining technologies, which will be utilized as the technology to convert bio-oil into transportation fuels is developed.

The RTP technology is currently available. UOP spokeswoman Susan Gross said it will take approximately three years to develop the technology to convert bio-oil into transportation fuel.