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Abengoa Bioenergy: Ethanol from lignocelluloses

10450151_680657768650710_5470902751896477621_nHeadquarter in Spain, Abengoa Bioenergy focuses on the development of ethanol production from lignocellulosic biomass via biochemical route. Its rank is 14th in the Biofuel digest ranking of 50 hottest companies around the world related to biofuels.

Lignocellulose to Ethanol: Biochemcal Conversion Technology
Abengoa bioenergy utilizes lignocellulosic biomass such as corn stover and wheat straw to produce fuel grade ethanol. The feedstock first undergoes milling and cleaning. It is followed by the acidic and thermal pretreatment to open it up and to solubilize hemicelluloses. The pretreated biomass is subjected to enzymatic hydrolysis to release sugars. The hydrolysate from lignocellulosic biomass contains both C6 and C5 sugars as opposed to only C6 sugars present in the hydrolysate from starch rich cereals. The proprietary yeast strains of the company co-ferment the C5 and C6 monomeric sugars from hemicellulosic and cellulosic fractions of the biomass simultaneously. The ethanol and carbon dioxide are produced and distillation results in the collection of fuel grade ethanol.


York Pilot Plant
The pilot plant is operational since 2008 in York, Nebraska, United States. The ethanol production capacity of the plant is 0.4 million liters annually.

Hugoton Commercial Biomass Plant
This is one of the first commercial lignocelluloses to cellulosic ethanol plant of the company. It is positioned at Hugoton, Kansas, USA. Its annual production capacity is 100 million liters and to achieve this it needs 350,000 tons of biomass residues.  Wheat straw, corn, grass, wood waste and other locally available wastes are the usual feedstock.As an approximation about~300 tons/day residues are left after ethanol production which is combusted. The produced 18 megawatts of electricity is sufficient to power the entire facility.

Abengoa opened this cellulosic ethanol production site in October 2014. However, the company at present  is facing major financial woes and in December 2015 decided to suspend production from this plant.

BCyL Demonstration Plant
In 2009, the biomass-to-ethanol plant at Babilafuente, Salamanca, Spain became operational. The production capacity of the plant is 5 million liters fuel grade ethanol per year using 70 tonne per day of lignocellulosic biomass such as wheat straw and barley straw.

Waste to biofuels (W2B) demonstration plant
The BCyL plant at Salamanca, Spain has been modified so that it can also process municipal solid waste (MSW) to bioethanol. The bioethanol production is based on enzymatic hydrolysis and fermentation of MSW. The plant has a capacity to treat 25,000 tons of MSW annually from which up to 1.5 million liters of bioethanol is obtained.


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