Companies partner for MSW-to-ethanol testing

By Anna Austin | July 08, 2009
Posted July 10, 2009, at 11:17 a.m. CST

Municipal solid waste (MSW)-to-energy technology company CleanTech Biofuels Inc. announced a deal with waste fiber-to-fuel company Fiberight LLC, where CleanTech will supply Fiberight with approximately 2,000 pounds of feedstock for ethanol conversion research and testing.

The impetus of the partnership is to establish anticipated yields and operating costs from using biomass produced by CleanTech to generate ethanol using Fiberight's enzymatic biofuel production process.

CleanTech's technology involves the separation of MSW into component parts to develop a homogenous, cellulosic feedstock. The technology employs heat, steam and agitation to convert the raw MSW into an output stream with uniform moisture content and particle size, roughly the consistency of compost, while simultaneously cleaning the other fractions of the garbage and removing a substantial amount of the volatile organic compounds.

Fiberight's technology, which the company has been developing for the past three years, sorts and transforms MSW into cellulosic fibers, which are extracted into biofuel through an energy recovery system. The process chemicals and enzymes used for conversion of cellulosic fibers are recycled, and its transformational system divides organic and inorganic wastes and converts them according to type.

The company recently opened a demonstration facility in Lawrenceville, Va.

The feedstock that CleanTech will supply to Fiberight will originate from a waste transfer station in Chicago. Fiberight CEO Craig Stuart-Paul said preliminary tests using CleanTech biomass in the company's system have been encouraging, with anticipated ethanol yields in excess of 80 gallons per ton of biomass.