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Making Jet Fuel from Wood Chips?

allen griggsallen griggs Member Posts: 34,530 ✭✭✭✭


By Drew Kann, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

17 hours ago

Project is one of several receiving new funding from the federal Department of Energy

A Georgia plant turning wood residue into jet fuel is receiving a big chunk of new federal funding to boost production, in the hopes that its products can eventually lower the climate change impact of the airline industry and other sectors.

The Department of Energy announced that it is awarding an $80 million grant to AVAPCO LLC, a biofuel, biochemical and biomaterials company that currently operates a refinery in Thomaston, about 60 miles west of Macon. The agency released $118 million to fund 17 projects around the country on Thursday, with AVAPCO’s grant by far the largest.

All of the projects receiving funding are working to advance U.S.-based production of biofuels — liquid fuels that can be made from plants, animal waste, used cooking oil and more. In a news release announcing the grants, U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm cited the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from a host of industries and build domestic energy independence in the process.

“Biofuels are a versatile tool because they have the immediate potential to power our ships, trains, airlines and heavy-duty vehicles — a huge contributor to total carbon emissions — with a significantly reduced carbon footprint,” Granholm said.

AVAPCO, in business since 2009, is now a subsidiary of GranBio, a Brazilian biotechnology firm.

In 2016, the company received a $4.7 million DOE grant for a phase 1 pilot demonstrating its method for converting woody residue from sawmills, paper and pulp plants into sustainable aviation fuel. The company’s process also produces nanocellulose, a fibrous material that can be used by rubber manufacturers to strengthen tires and other products.

Phase 1 of the company’s project was successful, the DOE said. Now, the new federal money will be used to fund construction of a larger plant capable of producing 1.2 million gallons of jet fuel annually, plus sustainable material for the rubber industry.

The new plant, likely to be located in Thomaston, is expected to be operational by 2026, said AVAPCO’s chief technology officer Kim Nelson.

Biofuels like ethanol have been used for years as an additive in gasoline, but interest in producing higher quality fuel for airplanes has grown in recent years. In 2018, a Virgin Atlantic aircraft flew from London to Orlando using a low-carbon jet fuel made at a different biofuels plant in rural southeast Georgia.

The fuels’ appeal stems both from their potential to reduce emissions and that they can be used with much of the economy’s existing fossil fuel infrastructure.

Biofuels produce greenhouse gas emissions when they are burned, but they can — in theory — be carbon neutral, because the plants they are derived from grow back and pull heat-trapping carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in the process. However, exactly how much lower their emissions are depends on how they’re produced, how the fuel is distributed and other factors.


  • WarbirdsWarbirds Member Posts: 16,621 ✭✭✭✭

    I feel like the libs just wouldn’t know what to do with themselves on this one.

    cutting down trees to reduce the use of fossil fuels.

  • Rocky RaabRocky Raab Member Posts: 13,194 ✭✭✭✭

    Love the bit about the airliner that flew from London to Florida using biofuels made in Georgia. And transported from Georgia to England just how? By a ship burning fossil fuel, of course!

    I may be a bit crazy - but I didn't drive myself.
  • SW0320SW0320 Member Posts: 2,117 ✭✭✭✭

    Not sure about jet fuel but the plant I worked in Maine switched all of their boilers from oil to wood chips and saved a bunch of money.

    In 1980 we were spending 15k per day for oil. The wood chips were on trailers. We had a lift that lifted the trailer to dump the chips in a bin with an auger. The auger pushed chips into the boiler.

    We basically had an industrial pellet stove.

  • BobJudyBobJudy Member Posts: 5,732 ✭✭✭✭

    How much energy does it take to produce? Is there actually a net gain in energy over what it takes to produce the fuel? If they are only using waste and have a gain in energy over production energy use I have no problem with it, but question if enough can be produced to actually make much of a difference. I think it is probably a typical greenie weenie feel good scheme like EV's that has no real net benefit. Bob

  • Ruger4meRuger4me Member, Moderator Posts: 2,708 ******

    Just another scheme to allow politicians and government workers to get more kickbacks while wasting taxpayers money...

  • JimmyJackJimmyJack Member Posts: 5,003 ✭✭✭✭

    Bring it on, with all the paper mill shutdowns around Wis. we could use the need for more wood.

  • waltermoewaltermoe Member Posts: 1,034 ✭✭✭✭

    Better solution: Drill, Drill, Drill, for crude oil.

  • Hawk CarseHawk Carse Member Posts: 4,325 ✭✭✭

    The project brings together Byogy's advanced alcohol-to-jet (ATJ) fuel process and Avapco's process that produces cellulosic sugars from woody biomass and other waste products. The sugars will be used to produce biochemicals, biomaterials and ethanol that will be integrated with the Byogy process for the production of biofuels, including renewable jet fuel,

    I was working on a biomass project in the 1980s trying to get worthwhile production of fermentable sugars, then alcohol, from cellulosic material like wood, crop waste, and waste paper. Process requirements were high and energy balance not favorable. Maybe AVAPCO is smarter. Or just smarter about collecting grant money.

  • Rocky RaabRocky Raab Member Posts: 13,194 ✭✭✭✭

    It takes a lot of energy to turn crude into jet fuel, too. There might not be much difference between the two.

    I'm generally in favor of reducing waste or - better - using waste. Schemes that run at a net loss, however, don't help with anything.

    I may be a bit crazy - but I didn't drive myself.
  • Texas1911DETexas1911DE Member Posts: 565 ✭✭✭✭

    ...The lefty Libs just love spending money, our money...all the idiots have to do is open up oil production here again...a big win for us here in Texas, America and the world...but oh no, the greenies have them by the short hairs and the Libs are a weak, sniveling, whining disgrace to humanity...and would burn babies before they would drill or do ANYTHING good for the America they despise...cannot stand them...

  • Mr. PerfectMr. Perfect Member, Moderator Posts: 64,670 ******

    Organic matter has been turned into fuel for centuries. I'm not sure how this is news other than the fact they got a nice contract.

    Some will die in hot pursuit
    And fiery auto crashes
    Some will die in hot pursuit
    While sifting through my ashes
    Some will fall in love with life
    And drink it from a fountain
    That is pouring like an avalanche
    Coming down the mountain
  • cbxjeffcbxjeff Member Posts: 16,769 ✭✭✭✭

    Agreed, Mr. Perfect. I worked for a few years for GM trying to burn coal powder or slurry in a gas turbines back in the '80's. Even with GM's questionable business decisions in that era, they wouldn't have pursued this without big DOE money.

    It's too late for me, save yourself.
  • jimdeerejimdeere Member, Moderator Posts: 24,384 ******

    Ya gotta keep trying.

  • montanajoemontanajoe Forums Admins, Member, Moderator Posts: 55,509 ******

    I learned how to make pruno from bread, sugar, and fruit when I was at prison. Bet it'd burn as hot as jet fuel too.

  • cbxjeffcbxjeff Member Posts: 16,769 ✭✭✭✭

    "Prison"? You been holding out on us MJ?

    It's too late for me, save yourself.
  • Ruger4meRuger4me Member, Moderator Posts: 2,708 ******

    He didn't say it that post which side of the bars he was on...😁

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