Using a $20 million federal Department of Energy grant, EdeniQ and Logos Technologies Inc., are starting construction of a corn-to-cellulosic pilot plant at EdeniQ’s headquarters in Visalia, in California’s Central Valley.
The construction will be celebrated with a groundbreaking ceremony on May 19 at EdeniQ’s facility at 2505 N. Shirk Road. The pilot plant will demonstrate the two firms’ suite of technology that they say economically converts non-food feedstocks into ethanol.
EdeniQ began developing the cellulosic ethanol technology in 2006 and built a small pilot plant in Visalia where it was able to convert ag waste such as corn stalks, wood chips and switchgrass into ethanol. In December 2009, the Department of Energy announced a funding of $20.5 million in federal cost share to construct a pilot plant at EdeniQ’s headquarters and R&D center in Visalia. With the DOE grant, and investments from venture capitalists, the firm says it is now positioned to show on a larger scale its proprietary biomass conversion technologies. Following the construction and commissioning of the plant, EdeniQ and Logos plan to test and refine the process to meet the real-world demands of round-the-clock production. The plant is expected to be operational in the first quarter of next year.
“The Central Valley is the ideal location for this research, since the ag industry produces the materials we can use to produce the next generation of liquid fuels,” says EdeniQ Chief Financial Officer Scott Janssen.
“The goal is to be able to produce cellulosic ethanol from agricultural waste in very large quantities and reduce America’s dependence on imported oil,” he says. EdeniQ says its proprietary technology mechanically breaks down any variety of biomass. Then the process uses a proprietary enzyme cocktail to convert the biomass into sugars, which are fermented into ethanol. EdeniQ has already invested $7 million in equipment at the Visalia site, and has a staff of 34, including Ph.D.-level scientists, engineers and managers. Logos has added five employees, including engineers and project managers, to the team in Visalia as well.
Logos Technologies Inc., headquartered in Arlington, Va., is a partner with EdeniQ on the project. EdeniQ is responsible for providing the pilot plant, technology development, engineering and commercialization plan. Logos is responsible for project management, engineering support and project life-cycle analysis.
Central Valley Business Times, 2011-05-05.