Canadian Company Starts Production of Ethanol from Cellulose

Canadian Company Starts Production of Ethanol from Cellulose

Iogen Corporation has announced it is producing the world’s first cellulose ethanol fuel for commercial use. Cellulose ethanol is an ultra-low CO2 emission fuel that can be blended with gasoline and used in cars today.

Ethanol is currently produced from starchy grains such as corn, but cellulose ethanol is produced from more "woody" agricultural byproducts, such as straw, corn cobs, and corn stalks, which are often discarded as waste. Iogen is producing its cellulose ethanol at a demonstration plant, but claims to be in the process of finalizing locations for a full-scale commercial plant. The Biotechnology Industry Organization hailed the achievement as a "key breakthrough."

Iogen’s cellulose ethanol technology is a result of more than 25 years of research and development. Iogen and its partners have committed over C$110 million, and the company owns and operates the world’s only cellulose ethanol demonstration scale facility.

“Iogen has demonstrated that clean, renewable fuels are no longer a dream, they are a reality,” said Duncan Macleod, portfolio manager of Shell Global Solutions International B.V. “We believe that the global market for bio-fuels such as cellulose ethanol will grow to exceed $10 billion by 2012. Cellulose ethanol is a great fit with Shell’s commitment to leadership in fuels technology and sustainable development.”

All vehicles can use a standard blend of up to 10% cellulose ethanol mixed with gasoline, with no changes required.

Iogen’s cellulose ethanol demonstration facility is the final proving stage prior to the rollout of full-scale commercial plants. The company is working with its partners to finalize plant locations.