Kior this month will begin shipping biofuel from its first “commercial-scale” facility, a significant step for the long-delayed advanced biofuels industry.
The Pasadena, Texas-based company’s CEO Fred Cannon yesterday said its Columbus, Mississippi plant was opened on schedule this month and is operated at anticipated production yields. The plant is producing a “biocrude” from wood chips which can be refined into gasoline or diesel.
Kior uses a method adapted from oil refining industry and standard oil industry components at its Columbus plant which will be producing at 13 million gallons per year when at full steam.
Biomass is treated with a proprietary catalyst that converts the cellulose into oil. Byproducts are water, coke, and gases, according to the company. The catalyst is separated from the oil and the coke is burned off, so the catalyst can be used again. The oil is then refined to fuel using off-the-shelf equipment.