On the Cusp

GreenField launches G2BioChem to build cellulosic demo
By Holly Jessen | June 13, 2011

Cellulosic ethanol technology developed by GreenField Ethanol Inc. is “on the cusp,” with a demonstration plant planned for Chatham, Ontario, and, eventually, a commercial-scale plant either in Canada or the Midwest, says Barry Wortzman, president of G2BioChem and vice president of business development for GreenField Ethanol. “We’re doing it incrementally,” he says. “We have proven out our technology at pilot scale, now we’re moving it up to continuous demonstration scale and from there we will roll it out commercially.”

G2BioChem, launched in early May, includes some big-name partners and collaborators such as Novozymes, Andritz, Harvest Technologies and others. A 1,600-gallon-per-day demo plant will be built in Chatham, Ontario, integrated with the existing pilot plant and laboratory. This is an exciting time for GreenField and its partners, Wortzman says. “It’s been awhile coming.”

In the future, the demo plant will be scaled up to 670,000 gallons per day. Chatham is also the site of one of GreenField ethanol’s four grain-to-ethanol facilities located in Ontario and Quebec, that produce a total of 600 MMly (158 MMgy). The company expects the first demonstration phase on continuous pretreatment and lignin extraction to last six months. Phase 2 will test the hydrolysis and fermentation processes for three months, followed by six months for Phase 3 work on distillation, water recycling and energy optimization. In all, the company expects all three phases to wrap up by June 2013.

The commercial-scale plant could also be built in Chatham, although the Midwestern U.S. is being considered. Wherever it is built, the cellulosic ethanol plant will be co-located with a first-generation ethanol plant.  —Holly Jessen