Ethanol report

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Competitiveness, report, reveals Economic Benefits

It brings a means to commercialization with a partner that can use the product and has the financial resources to build a series of plants across Canada. Another alliance partner that Iogen is developing is the federal government. It is believed that a key part of the funding for the new facility will be coming from the federal government through an existing program, likely technology partnerships Canada (TPC). Iogen is somewhat unique among the technologies reviewed in that the next steps in its development are underway. It has a facility that can be scaled up to a reasonable size and a partner in Petro-canada that currently has the will and the resources to build commercial plants providing that the economics are reasonable. Economics, the economics of the iogen process have been studied and analyzed numerous times over the past fifteen years. In the mid 1980's there were three published studies on the economics of the process done by ad little Inc., techtrol Ltd., and Entropy Associates Inc.

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If, for example, a high value market developed for lignin and natural gas provided some of the fuel there would be some discussion over how to value the energy value of co-products much as there exists a discussion on how to value distillers Dried Grains. Business Plan, iogen has a well crafted business plan for the next two to three years. Their strategic objectives are: build an organization that can business make biomass ethanol happen. Lead in the development and commercial implementation of biomass ethanol. Build alliances to ensure a successful commercial rollout. The company appears to be well under way in meeting its objectives. It has proven enzyme technology; it is developing manufacturing expertise around its enzyme business and with its new plant will be transferring that expertise to enzymatic hydrolysis. The commercial demonstration plant will be a leader in the industry. It will allow the company to continue with its commitment to research and development. The alliance with Petro-canada is also a key step for the company.

In the 1980's Iogen did a substantial amount of work looking for high value markets for the lignin produced by their process. One of the applications investigated was phenol-formaldehyde resin and the work proceeded to mill trials. The work increased the understanding of the product but was not sufficiently promising to proceed to a commercial stage. One of the goals of the facility under construction is to be able to produce sufficient quantities of various lignin products so as to be able to properly investigate potential markets for the products. The fall back position is that the lignin would be utilized as a fuel to produce steam or electricity. This yields a very low price fuller for the lignin, no more than 5 cents per kilogram. The process will produce a large quantity of liquid waste with a high bod and cod that must be treated and disposed. The technology to do this is readily available but does add to the cost and energy intensity of the process. The energy intensity may become an issue if the fuel is something other than recovered lignin.

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Iogen has no proprietary technology database in this area and resumes is planning to utilize yeast licensed from one of the leading developers of the new genetically engineered yeasts that are capable of fermenting pentose sugars. Iogen has done animal feed trials of this pentose containing material but believe that fermenting the sugars to ethanol is currently the best option. There is some risk in Iogen's approach to the pentose sugars as others have found significant problems moving from the lab to larger scale fermentations. One of the process configurations that Iogen is considering is the removal of lignin prior to fermentation. This may remove some inhibitors to the yeast and make the yeast more effective but this is clearly an important step to be demonstrated before any commercial plants can be considered. The process will produce lignin as a co-product. The relatively mild pretreatment process employed should provide a lignin that can be utilized as a starting material in other processes.

This configuration will overcome the barriers that others have faced with the high cost of operating pilot or demonstration plants. The iogen process is currently suitable for agricultural residues such as wheat straw and corn stover. Hardwood residues are also a suitable feedstock. A single step pretreatment process for agricultural and hardwood residues is able to produce a material that can be efficiently hydrolyzed by the enzymes. The pretreatment process is not as effective for separating the lignin of softwoods from the cellulosic material and thus the enzymes are not as effective. Much higher levels of enzymes are required and the production and capital costs are also much higher. Iogen has no plans to do further work on optimizing the pretreatment of softwoods at this time. They believe that there are sufficient feedstocks available in Canada that are suitable for their process that it is not necessary to look at softwoods now. The feedstocks chosen by iogen, although easy to pretreat, yield a significant quantity of pentose sugars and thus introduce the problem of fermenting these sugars to ethanol.

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Figure 1: Iogen jawaharlal Enzymatic Process. The pretreatment step involves steam explosion with dilute acid conducted at elevated temperatures and pressures. The hydrolysis and fermentation steps are undertaken at ambient temperatures and pressures. Distillation is the normal ethanol industry process. Iogen is currently building a commercial demonstration facility on a 13 acre site adjacent to the Ottawa airport. The plant is designed to process several truckloads of feedstock per day to validate the iogen process. It will operate 24 hours per day and will allow the scale up to a 100 million litre a year plant without difficulty.

Eventually, the facility will have over 20,000. Of building space including a five story section. The new facility will produce sugars as the primary product. Iogen will use the sugars in their enzyme manufacturing business. They were one of the first companies to be able to use glucose as the feed summary material for the organism producing the cellulase enzyme rather than the more expensive lactose. A small stream of product will be fermented to produce ethanol in order to validate the process. This configuration will allow Iogen to operate the facility at essentially a break even level as the sugars have a higher value to iogen than ethanol in the marketplace.

Iogen has owned and operated a one tonne per day fully integrated pilot plant in Ottawa since 1985. The facility includes pretreatment, hydrolysis, fermentation, distillation, and co-product recovery stages. In november 1997 Iogen signed an agreement with Petro-canada whereby petro-canada will co-fund research and development, and the construction of a plant in Ottawa to demonstrate the commercial feasibility of the technology. The plant is expected to cost between 15 and 30 million. Construction has begun at a site near the Ottawa airport. Petro-canada will earn the exclusive rights to use the technology in Canada for plants to meet its own needs for ethanol.


Petro-canada positioned their investment as part of an evolution of their business to meet the challenges of reducing fossil fuel greenhouse gas emissions. Iogen has alliances with. Hoffman-laroche to develop enzymes for animal feeds and the national Research council of Canada for improvement of enzyme properties with protein engineering techniques. The iogen process is an enzymatic hydrolysis process for converting lignocellulosics to ethanol. The unique aspects of the technology include the steam explosion pretreatment that was pioneered by iogen, and the proprietary enzymes developed, manufactured, and marketed by iogen. Iogen has patents in Canada and other countries for aspects of both the steam explosion and enzyme production. The block diagram for the iogen process is shown in Figure.

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Since that time the company has grown and expanded its research into the production of ethanol from lignocellulosics and the production and marketing of enzymes for a variety of applications. Iogen is Canada's only industrial enzyme manufacturer. Iogen has sales between 10 and 20 million per year from its enzyme business. This private company claims to have been profitable for the past five guaranteed years. It also claims to have spent 40 million developing its technology over the past 25 years. Natural Resources Canada has contributed over 6 million of the total. There are 65 people on staff at Iogen including 20 to 30 in research and development. The key staff members have been with the company for over ten years.

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Four of the five processes involve hydrolysis, fermentation, and product recovery routes. Some of these also involve a summary pretreatment step. The fifth process is a chemical process rather than biological one. The processes are at different stages of development that makes comparisons between them difficult. A summary is provided in the conclusion section. Iogen Corporation, iogen is a canadian company whose predecessor companies were founded in the 1970's. The company's initial research was on the steam explosion process for straw and wood to increase the digestibility of the feedstock as a source of animal feed. The impetus for the work was the skyrocketing grain costs of the early 1970's.

content and the hemi-cellulose produces significant amounts of pentose sugars. Softwoods have a higher lignin content, which makes the hydrolysis step more difficult, but they generally produce less pentose sugars. The five processes reviewed in this report each take a different approach to the problems that lignocellulosic material present. As a result some are better suited to one type of material or another. The suitability of the process for the feedstock is addressed in each section. In some cases there is more than one company marketing the basic technological approach. In those cases the companies reviewed here were chosen because they have been active in the bc either promoting projects or participating in the development of the knowledge base here.

The north American ethanol industry is spending considerable effort on finding new co-products that are higher in value and thus capable of making the ethanol from grain industry more cost competitive. Lignocellulosic materials such as agricultural, hardwood and softwood residues are potential sources of sugars for ethanol production. The cellulose and hemi-cellulose components of these materials are essentially long, molecular chains of sugars. They are protected by lignin, which is the glue that holds all of this material together. The technological hurdles that are presented by the materials are: The separation of lignin general from the cellulose and hemi-cellulose to make the material susceptible to hydrolysis. The hydrolysis of cellulose and hemi-cellulose takes place at different rates and over reaction can degrade the sugars into materials that are not suitable for ethanol production. The hydrolysis of these materials produces a variety of sugars.

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Technology review, process overview, fermenting sugars produces ethanol. The sugars can be derived year from a variety of sources. In Brazil, sugar from sugar cane is the primary feedstock for the huge Brazilian industry. In North America, the sugar is usually derived from the enzymatic hydrolysis (the conversion of starch to sugar) of starch containing crops such as corn or wheat. The enzymatic hydrolysis of starch is a cheap, simple, and effective process. This well developed process sets the baseline that other hydrolysis processes are compared against. The drawback to producing ethanol from sugar or starch is that the feedstock tends to be expensive and widely used for other applications. These costs are offset by the sale of co-products such as Distillers Dried Grains.


Ethanol report
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