DOE hopes for cellulosic ethanol plant by 2012

Angel White
Associate Editor

HOUSTON, Sept. 29 -- The US Department of Energy is evaluating bids for the first commercial cellulosic ethanol production facility in the US, with hopes that the plant will be in operation in 2012.

This announcement was made Sept. 23 by Alexander Karsner, DOE's assistant secretary for renewable energy, at a conference at Rice University in Houston. Also attending the conference, Biomass to Chemicals and Fuels: Science, Technology, and Public Policy, was Adam Schubert, US product strategy manager for BP PLC subsidiary BP Fuels Management Group, who said BP is collaborating with chemical company DuPont to produce biobutanol.

Along with DOE's bid program, the agency also is offering loan guarantees to encourage the effort toward achieving early commercial use of cellulosic ethanol. Title XVII of the 2005 Energy Policy Act provides the basis of DOE's loan guarantee program.

Karsner said, "Companies must prequalify for this program by mid-2007."

Cellulosic ethanol—produced from nonfood plant material—is not yet commercial due to its production costs, which currently are higher than those of ethanol production from grain.

DOE hopes to drive down the cost of cellulosic ethanol production in the next 6 years to $1.07/gal from $2.25/gal in 2005, Karsner said. "We cannot achieve sustainability until we address profitability," he said.

Karsner said he views the energy solution as a "three-legged stool," with the three legs being research and development, policy, and markets. All three areas, he said, must work together for the solution to stand.

DOE has a goal for the US to produce enough ethanol by 2030 to equal 30% of current transportation fuel demand, he said.

During the week ended Sept. 8, US motor gasoline demand was 10.1 million b/d (OGJ, Sept. 18, 2006, p. 6). US ethanol production at midyear 2006 reached 318,000 b/d, according to the Renewable Fuels Association. Also at midyear, demand for ethanol reached 395,000 b/d, RFA said.

BP, DuPont collaboration
Schubert said BP is working with DuPont to introduce biobutanol into the energy market. Biobutanol is an advanced biofuel produced from the same agricultural feedstocks as ethanol.

Schubert outlined some of the benefits of the biofuel:

-- It can be blended with gasoline at the refinery due to its low vapor pressure.

-- It can use existing fuel infrastructure without the need for major modifications.

-- It has the potential to be used at higher blend concentrations than ethanol in unmodified vehicles.

-- It is less susceptible to separation in water than ethanol-gasoline blends.

According to a BP statement, BP and Dupont are assessing biobutanol's greenhouse gas emissions performance. "Initial indications are that, on the same feedstock basis, biobutanol delivers emissions reductions that are at least as good as ethanol," it said.

BP reported plans to introduce biobutanol as a gasoline biocomponent in the UK in 2007. That report stated that the company is working with Associated British Foods PLC subsidiary British Sugar to convert the country's first ethanol fermentation facility to produce biobuthanol.

Contact Angel White at angelw@ogjonline.com.

Related Articles

BLM approves ROW for Elko gas pipeline expansion project

07/07/2015 The US Bureau of Land Management’s Tuscarora, Nev., field office signed a decision record approving a right-of-way for Paiute Pipeline Co.’s (PPC) ...

Croatian refinery lets contract for upgrading project

07/07/2015 Croatia’s INA Industrija Nafte DD (INA) has let a contract to Findland’s Neste Jacobs Oy to provide project management consultancy (PMC) for a resi...

Obama urged by IPAA president to lift ban on US crude exports

07/07/2015 Commending the administration for its actions allowing some condensate to be exported as a petroleum product, Independent Petroleum Association of ...

AER shuts in 16 Murphy Oil sites in Peace River region for noncompliance

07/07/2015 Alberta Energy Regulator said it has shut in or partially shut in 16 sites operated by Murphy Oil Co. Ltd. in the Peace River region. The sites wer...

MARKET WATCH: NYMEX, Brent oil prices take dive on world oil oversupply concerns

07/07/2015 US light, sweet crude oil prices plummeted more than $4/bbl on the New York market July 6, marking a 5-month low, while Brent crude oil prices on t...

WAFWA: Aerial survey finds lesser prairie chicken population grew

07/06/2015 A recent range-wide aerial survey found the lesser prairie chicken population rose 25% from 2014 to 2015, the Western Association of Fish & Wil...

South Africa’s Enref refinery due maintenance

07/06/2015 Engen Petroleum Ltd. will shut down its 125,000-b/d Enref refinery in Durban, South Africa, for planned maintenance beginning on July 9, the compan...

Buru awarded onshore Canning licenses

07/06/2015 Buru Energy Ltd., Perth, and Mitsubish Corp. have been granted two production licenses for Ungani oil field in the onshore Canning basin of Western...

Cenovus sells royalty business for $3.3 billion

07/06/2015 Cenovus Energy Inc., Calgary, inked an agreement to sell its wholly owned subsidiary Heritage Royalty LP to Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan for gros...
White Papers

UAS Integration for Infrastructure: More than Just Flying

Oil and gas companies recognize the benefits that the use of drones or unmanned aerial systems (UAS) c...

Solutions to Financial Distress Resulting from a Weak Oil and Gas Price Environment

The oil and gas industry is in the midst of a prolonged worldwide downturn in commodity prices. While ...
Sponsored by

2015 Global Engineering Information Management Solutions Competitive Strategy Innovation and Leadership Award

The Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Awards recognise companies in a variety of regional and global...
Sponsored by

Three Tips to Improve Safety in the Oil Field

Working oil fields will always be tough work with inherent risks. There’s no getting around that. Ther...
Sponsored by

Pipeline Integrity: Best Practices to Prevent, Detect, and Mitigate Commodity Releases

Commodity releases can have catastrophic consequences, so ensuring pipeline integrity is crucial for p...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Digital Asset Approach - Defining a new era of collaboration in capital projects and asset operations

There is constant, intensive change in the capital projects and asset life cycle management. New chall...
Sponsored by

Transforming the Oil and Gas Industry with EPPM

With budgets in the billions, timelines spanning years, and life cycles extending over decades, oil an...
Sponsored by

Asset Decommissioning in Oil & Gas: Transforming Business

Asset intensive organizations like Oil and Gas have their own industry specific challenges when it com...
Sponsored by
Available Webcasts


The Resilient Oilfield in the Internet of Things World

When Tue, Sep 22, 2015

As we hear about the hype surrounding the Internet of Things, the oil and gas industry is questioning what is different than what is already being done. What is new?  Using sensors and connecting devices is nothing new to our mode of business and in many ways the industry exemplifies many principles of an industrial internet of things. How does the Internet of Things impact the oil and gas industry?

Prolific instrumentation and automation digitized the industry and has changed the approach to business models calling for a systems led approach.  Resilient Systems have the ability to adapt to changing circumstances while maintaining their central purpose.  A resilient system, such as Maximo, allows an asset intensive organization to leverage connected devices by merging real-time asset information with other critical asset information and using that information to create a more agile organization.  

Join this webcast, sponsored by IBM, to learn how about Internet of Things capabilities and resilient systems are impacting the landscape of the oil and gas industry.

register:WEBCAST



On Demand

Taking the Headache out of Fuel License and Exemption Certificates: How to Ensure Compliance

Tue, Aug 25, 2015

This webinar, brought to you by Avalara, will detail the challenges of tax document management, as well as recommend solutions for fuel suppliers. You will learn:

-    Why it’s critical to track business partner licenses and exemption documents
-    The four key business challenges of ensuring tax compliance through document management
-    Best practice business processes to minimize exposure to tax errors

register:WEBCAST


Driving Growth and Efficiency with Deep Insights into Operational Data

Wed, Aug 19, 2015

Capitalizing on today’s momentum in Oil & Gas requires operational excellence based on a clear view of what your business data is telling you. Which is why nearly half* of oil and gas companies have deployed SAP HANA or have it on their roadmap.

Join SAP and Red Hat to learn more about using data to drive process improvements and identify new opportunities with the SAP HANA platform running on Red Hat Enterprise Linux. This webinar will also show how your choice of infrastructure impacts the performance of core business applications and your ability to achieve data-driven insights quickly and reliably.

*48% use SAP, http://go.sap.com/solution/industry/oil-gas.html

register:WEBCAST


OGJ's Midyear Forecast 2015

Fri, Jul 10, 2015

This webcast is to be presented by OGJ Editor Bob Tippee and Senior Economic Editor Conglin Xu.  They will summarize the Midyear Forecast projections in key categories, note important changes from January’s forecasts, and examine reasons for the adjustments.

register:WEBCAST


Emerson Micro Motion Videos

Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!

 

Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected