“This process will demonstrate the use of local biomass from our community and our farmers and it will answer questions across the state,” said Diahann Howard, Port of Benton economic development director. “It will also give more options locally to use waste for energy and not stockpile ag waste, which can create hazardous or unappealing situations,” she said.
The team of Washington State University Tri-Cities, the Port of Benton, Clean-Vantage LLC and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) will conduct the $1.5 million “BioChemCat” pilot project in the Bioproducts, Sciences and Engineering Laboratory (BSEL) at WSU Tri-Cities under the leadership of Birgitte K. Ahring, director of the WSU Center for Bioproducts and Bioenergy and the Battelle Distinguished Professor.
Biochemical and thermochemical
New twists included
The waste can be wet. Many biofuels processes first require that the waste be dried, which can be expensive and time consuming.
The process can be operated in a spoke-and-hub manner, where the initial part of the process (the creation of distillates) is done in small-scale local facilities, while the final upgrading into advanced fuels is done in a few specialized hubs.
Both parts of the process combine new breakthrough knowledge that allows for reducing the final fuel cost.
The process is expected to be high-yield. For example, it potentially could make more than 70 gallons of jet fuel per ton of dry materials. This is much higher than other processes.
The process can be operated to produce either gasoline, diesel or jet fuel depending on the need. Therefore, it represents an example of producing “drop-in replacement fuel” for oil-based products.
True Tri-Cities project
“The growth of the university leads to the growth of the port,” Howard said. “This is exactly what we’re here to do.”