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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Domestic Fuel » Cellulose

Domestic Fuel » Cellulose: "KL Process Design Group First Cellulosic Plant Posted by Chuck Zimmerman KL Process Design Management TeamWhile we’ve been listening to people talking about when someone will build a commercially viable cellulosic ethanol production plant one company has actually gone ahead and done it. That’s what KL Process Design Group claims. I met with their leadership team at the Cellulosic Ethanol Summit.

Go to page and listen to the story. Pictured are (L-R) Dave Litzen, Tom Slunecka, Randy Kramer and Steve Healey."

Let's take a look at some of the locations and the working model...

I sat down with Dave and Randy for an interview to learn more about how they’ve been able to accomplish this. For one thing they’ve been working with the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, the Wyoming Business Council and the Wyoming Department of Forestry.

Helge: The podcast is very good, gives and insight to what the group has been doing...

Through experimentation and research they’ve been able to produce ethanol from their Western Biomass Energy plant in Upton, WY.

They get their feedstock from ponderosa pine wood chips/waste in the foothills of the Black Hills of Eastern Wyoming.

Basically, they’re not only making ethanol from the wood waste but they’re helping with the forest management which includes thinning to prevent forest fires. That sounds like a two-fer to me.

They’re going to be going at this cellulosic business in a kind of non-traditional way as you’ll hear in the interview.

For example, they’re looking at smaller plants and customers who have a need to take care of waste products that pile up and become a problem like wood mills and anyone involved in silviculture.

This means that the ethanol they produce will come from many sources. I think you’ll find the interview very interesting.



  • The group had corn ethanol plant as basic model
  • In process of starting probably the first Wood waste ethanol plant in US
  • Commercially viable production units using cellulose in the process
  • Started development 2001 - 2002
  • Started from demonstration unit
  • Testin, research, own design
  • The association with the school
  • Backgrounds in chemicals and oil
  • Ferment it to ethanol
  • Improving the equipments
  • They have very solid data
  • Commercial and pre-commercial facility
  • Refining the process and the plant
  • Ahead of others
  • Looking at business models
  • Sawdust from plywood operations
  • Hudson Bay in Canada
  • Large piles of sawdust
  • 5 to 10 million gallons per year
  • City landfills
  • A lot of opportunities out there
  • The thinnings in the national forests
  • Getting the material to the the plant
  • This instead of burning in the forests
  • Wood mills
  • Silviculturers
  • Ethanol
  • Bioplant boiler takes the lignin and transforms it to heat and electricity
  • It's not new science
  • It's been around for quite long time
  • Water usage is a big issue in ethanol and biodiesel production
  • Food versus energy debate is also a big issue; controversial
  • The water consumption issue
  • A zero discharge plant in mind
  • The group learned a lot about fermentation from corn processing
  • Process simulation has been used for decades in the oil and chemical industries
  • Simulation has not been used to its full potential in ethanol process planning
  • Reverse engineering
  • Has designed the most efficient corn ethanol plant in US
  • Take those techniques
  • Water minimizing plants
  • Ewaporate cooling
  • Process simulation
  • The consumer, the average person in the street
  • It's different, a component from a larger energy perspective
  • Compare to a forest fire of thinned material
  • Biodiesel doesn't come from just one resource
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