Dynamotive Energy Systems of Vancouver BC Canada has signed deals with Marketech International Corporation (MIC) of Taipei City Taiwan for a review of the technology as commercially feasible and if warranted, design and construct what it seems would be the world’s first two commercial fast pyrolysis bio oil production plants. Both firms are publicly held, OTCBB: DYMTF and on the TAI Ticker No. 6196 respectively.

This post is not investment advice.

The press release suggests that the funding would be Taiwan sourced. Should the agreement come to fruition of constructed operating plants the Dynamotive share would be capitalized license and engineering for up to 10% of project ownership. The first plant would fed dried distillers grain with the oil production designated to go to the company hosting the project. The announced plan proposes to process 100 tons per day of dry biomatter. A feasibility study has been completed with the parties agreeing to a favorable study result.

The second plant is proposed for a Taiwan agricultural company that has available 100 metric tons per day of prepped sugar cane and other residuals.

Fast Pyrolysis from Dynamotive

The current plan has Dynamotive delivering their fast pyrolysis modules and MIC installing and supplying the feedstock handling, preparation and other non-core facilities and doing the overall construction. Dynamotive and MIC expect to use this experience to gain additional sites and agreements in China. With all the news from the announcement and press release attention, the efforts offered remain subject to agreement terms for the feasibility studies and determinations that one or more plants are technically, financially and legally capable of construction. When developed to that stage further agreements and securing financing will need negotiated.

It seems that Dynamotive has a success in partnering with MIC who has considerable experience in servicing new plant construction and refurbishment. But the most interesting facet is the prospect that Dynamotive’s technology may well come to commercial production in the far east.

Reviewing the Dynamotive site’s Technology link offers that prepared feedstocks at less than 10% moisture and sized at less than 2 mm is fed to a bubbling fluid bed reactor at 450 to 500 degrees C. The principle is to stay at low temperature and yield oil with little waste. The process works like water sprayed onto a very hot surface, the feedstock flash disintegrates and vaporizes into gases. The gases then pass into a cyclone for particle removal and then get quench cooled to condense into the oil state. Non-condensing gas is used to do the heating. Time in process is 2 seconds.

The Dynamotive process yields bio oil at 60 to 75%, the solid char ranges from 15 to 20% and the non-condensable gases 10 to 20% by weight from the feedstock. The oil and char are saleable products and the non-condensing gases used to provide the heat give about 75% of the needed process BTUs. No waste products are left over.

How real is all of this?

Dynamotives Guelph Installation

Dynamotive shipped its first oil from their Guelph facility last week. The plant runs 200 tons per day of recycling materials from wood. It’s located about 45 minutes west of Toronto Ontario Canada. They expect to sell about 130,000 barrels of oil equivalent per year. At $110 per, that’s a likely profitable project. It’s a long way to 90 million barrels a day, nevertheless, it’s a start, much like a 356 barrel a day oil well, that never depletes, grossing about $40K per day.

But . . .

Its pyrolysis oil, not base petroleum stock. Pyrolysis oil contains a wide array of combustible elements and can have water in solution. Dynamotive offers in the “What is BioOil” page a very complete explanation. The pyrolysis fuel product is valuable and this is a good technological start. At about half the heating value of heating oil by volume it becomes important to think about what processes can take those pyrolysis gases and not just condense, but reform into more energy dense products. That is not to take away from Dynamotive’s success, rather they have a fast pyrolysis process that gets us to a fuel, and a very strong sense of the possibilities innovation can bring in pyrolysis gas reformation.

Innovations can be expected in the stage past the pyrolysis gasification event. With 60 to 75% by weight from the feedstock producing a fuel, those pyrolysis gases offer an enormous resource. Keep in mind, for comparison, 100 metric tons a day is less than 4 semi loads of corn. We will be looking at a new catalyst process in the next few days that is being published by the Chemistry & Sustainability, Energy & Materials journal. When the paper can be viewed by the taxpayers who paid for it in full, we’ll have at it.

For now, we know from a National Science Foundation press release that University of Massachusetts researchers, lead by George Huber, rapidly heat cellulose in the presence of solid catalysts, materials that speed up reactions without sacrificing themselves in the process. They then rapidly cool the products to create a liquid that contains many of the compounds found in gasoline. The entire process takes under two minutes using relatively moderate amounts of heat. The compounds that formed in the first single step, like naphthalene and toluene, make up a fourth of the suite of chemicals found in gasoline. The liquid can be further treated to form the remaining fuel components or can be used “as is” for a high-octane gasoline blend.

It’s getting interesting.


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