On November 6, 2007 Range Fuels broke ground, on what it claims is the nation’s first commercial cellulosic ethanol plant located near Soperton, Georgia. Range Fuels, one of six companies selected by the Department of Energy (DOE) for financial support in building a commercial cellulosic ethanol plant, will be the first to break ground.
The Range Fuels process accommodates a wide range of organic feedstocks of various types, sizes, and moisture contents. This flexibility eliminates commercial problems related to fluctuations in feed material quality and ensures success in the real world, far from laboratory-controlled conditions.
The first plant focuses on utilizing leftover wood residues from timber harvesting that serve no useful purpose, converting them to about 20 million gallons of ethanol and other alcohols per year, initially. By the time they ramp up to full-scale operations at the Soperton Plant, the plant is projected to produce up to 100 million gallons of ethanol each year.
The plant will employ Range Fuels’ innovative and proprietary two-step thermo-chemical process, K2:
Step 1: Solids to Gas
Biomass (all plant and plant-derived material) that cannot be used for food, such as agricultural waste, is fed into a converter. Using heat, pressure, and steam the feedstock is converted into synthesis gas (syngas), which is cleaned before entering the second step.
Step 2: Gas to Liquids
The cleaned syngas is passed over their proprietary catalyst and transformed into mixed alcohols. These alcohols are then separated and processed to maximize the yield of ethanol of a quality suitable for use in fueling vehicles.
Source: Range Fuels