Producing Clean, Renewable Diesel from Biomass

December 7, 2011

By Paul Bryan, Biomass Program Manager, Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy

After a rigorous testing process, DOE project partners at ThermoChem Recovery International (TRI) have validated a process that converts wood waste and forest residue into clean, renewable fuel. Pilot validation is a key milestone for biofuels companies like TRI. With critical engineering data in hand and the testing phase complete, TRI can now begin the journey toward full-scale commercialization of a proven technology.

With the support of DOE funding, TRI has done substantial testing of a thermal gasification and gas-to-liquids process at its pilot plant in Durham, North Carolina. Through its operations, TRI has converted several hundred tons of 100% woody biomass feedstock into diesel fuel and paraffin waxes. TRI has collected over 1,000 hours of operational data that validate the process, while meeting or exceeding all of their operational and product yield targets.

This achievement will directly benefit two biorefinery projects in Wisconsin that are cost-shared by DOE: NewPage Corporation's biorefinery, "Project Independence," in Wisconsin Rapids and Flambeau River Papers biorefinery in Park Falls. TRI's data will help inform final engineering design of their future biorefineries. The gasification and gas-to-liquids technology will be integrated into their existing pulp and paper mills to produce clean, renewable, marketable diesel fuel and paraffin waxes, and will provide additional renewable energy by supplying steam and hot water to the co-located paper mill. See Energy Blog post.