Ineos Studies Waste to Bioethanol Plant

According to press reports, Ineos Bio is studying the possibility of a new plant in the UK to produce bioethanol from household waste.

The study will cost some £3.5 million (of which £2m is public money) and will be completed in early 2010 so that a decision can be made on possible a 25kT  plant at the company’s existing Seal Sands’ Site.

The proposed plant would  also produce an estimated 3MW of electricity a year as a by-product.

According to the Ineos press release - the process is a combined thermochemical and biochemical technology for the production of bio-ethanol and renewable power from a wide range of low-cost carbon materials, including biodegradable household and industrial wastes. At the heart of the INEOS Bio technology is an anaerobic fermentation step, through which naturally occurring bacteria convert gases derived directly from biomass into bio-ethanol. The process supports high recycling and high landfill diversion rates.

The bioethanol from the plant will be initially used as a road fuel transport, but ultimately the company hopes to license the process for the production of low-cost chemical intermediates from a range of recycled waste materials.

If this process can economically produce fuel or feedstock, it will be a major step forward. The only stumbling block may be the availability of funding, given the current debt situation at Ineos but if the solution proves to be as attractive as it sounds, we must hope that a solution can be found.

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