BIOPOLYGEN Group of the MEEC reports a successful completion of the first phase of its new biomass hydrolysis process tests and announces the plans to construct and demonstrate a small-scale pilot biorefinery for co-production of second generation ethanol, organic-mineral fertilizers and power.

KIRYAT-ONO, IL, January 07, 2009 - BIOPOLYGEN Group of the Mediterranean Energy and Ecology Center (MEEC, Israel) has completed the first phase of testing its simple one-stage process, intended to hydrolyze the agriculture and forestry residues, energy crops, poultry losses, biodegradable part of the MSW and other ligno-cellulosic materials (LCM) with use of a proprietary inorganic catalyst. Such a catalyst creates an unique environment under the mild process conditions and constitutes an integral and important part of the valuable hydrolysis by-products: slow release organic - mineral fertilizers, animal stuff, and/or added-value bio-chemical products.

At the first stage of process verification the very high LCM solubilization efficiencies were demonstrated. In the single-stage treatment they amounted to 89-90% for hemicellulose, 80-82% for cellulose, and 83-85% for lignin, whereas in the multi-stage process the total LCM solubilization efficiencies have reached 95% for softwood specimen and 82% for corn stover one. The total saccharification efficiency has accounted for 58 - 59% and significantly exceeded one generally reported by many developers of one-stage dilute-acid hydrolysis. It is expected that the achieved level of saccharification efficiency will be significantly increased in the course of the planned process improvements.

The encouraging results of the verification tests became an adequate background for elaboration of a conceptual design and performing a feasibility study of the local BIOPOLYGEN refinery, intended to convert the softwood residues into the second generation ethanol, organic-mineral fertilizer and power. A very short simple payback period (2.5-3 years), resulting from the feasibility study, suggests that a profitable operation of the BIOPOLYGEN refineries can be ensured just now without any governmental subsidies and tax allowances.

Based on the promising results of the verification tests and feasibility study, the MEEC is initiating the design, construction and demonstration of a small-scale pilot biorefinery together with the interested partners in the context of the EU FP7, Eurogia+ or the similar programs and initiatives.

For further information please contact:
Prof. St. Sinatov, D.Sc.

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