Technology


‘Āina Koa Pono (AKP) is investing $450 million of privately raised money to develop a renewable fuel using crops grown on approximately 12,000 acres of private land in Pāhala on the Island of Hawai‘i. AKP’s project consists of building a biorefinery for the production of biofuels and the planting, cultivation and harvesting of the agricultural feedstock to be refined into biofuels. The AKP facility aims to produce annually 16 million gallons of renewable diesel fuel to be used at HELCO’s Keāhole power plant on the Big Island. Another 8 million gallons will be distributed by Mansfield Oil Company, with preference to Hawai‘i. If the fuel is sold in-state, it would represent 16 percent of Hawai‘i’s transportation diesel demand.

Micro Dee Process

Clean Energy Source

Production Efficiency

Bio Char

Proven Technology

Production: Thermo Catalytic Microwave Depolymerization Process

AKP’s refinery will use a technology called Microwave Catalytic Depolymerization (“Micro Dee”) to produce a renewable synthetic fuel with the same properties as fossil fuel. AKP is licensing the technology from Sustainable Biofuels Solutions, LLC (SBS), a renewable energy technologies company. Basically, the process takes most organic material (in this case agricultural feedstocks and woody biomass) and converts it into liquid fuel.

Micro Dee generates large quantities of renewable diesel fuel and highly valuable biological charcoal (“biochar”) using a proprietary SBS process that works more efficiently than other renewable energy technologies. The process is so efficient that roughly 85 percent of the energy value contained in most feedstocks is converted into biofuels and biochar.

Micro Dee uses a special, low temperature catalyst to break down long carbon molecules into shorter ones, resulting in a vapor that is cleaned and condensed into liquid fuel. Basically, the Micro Dee process accelerates the natural decomposition and metamorphosis of biomass into crude oil to just over an hour.

The synthetic crude produced can be refined onsite into a biofuel that is the functional equivalent of diesel fuel derived from oil. It requires little or no blending, uses existing petroleum distribution infrastructure, and is a “drop-in” fuel that can be used in modern engines with no modifications or loss of warranty coverage.
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A clean energy source

The Micro Dee process is a self-contained, closed loop system – with effectively zero emissions.

The process is conducted in a sealed system, and the vapors that are discharged are captured and converted to liquid fuels. Also, microwaves by their very nature have no gaseous emissions and are enclosed safely within protective shields that contain the microwave radio waves and surround the equipment.

Finally, the Micro Dee process generates no air pollution. Because it is a low temperature process, no toxic furans or dioxins are generated. The primary effluent is water vapor.
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Production efficiency

The Micro Dee technology functions in independent, self-contained modules, each with a capacity to process 33⅓ tons-per-day of biomass. Production facilities can be scaled to fit the available feedstock simply by installing the appropriate number of independent Micro Dee process trains.

AKP has determined that based on production per acre and quality of fuel, the Big Island facility would generate approximately 3,500 gallons per acre, versus 650 gallons per acre for other liquid fuel technologies. The process also produces a diesel fuel that is in many ways superior to petroleum derived diesel fuel – the same or better characteristics than No. 2 diesel, ultra low sulfur and very low in fine particulates.
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Biochar

The remaining material, called biochar, is a highly desirable soil supplement used to increase crop production. Because it is 80 percent carbon, it helps increase water retention and promotes healthy plant growth in a number of ways. Its positive effects are long lasting, unlike fertilizer, which must be applied annually. Also, it captures carbon and reintroduces it to the soil, ultimately reducing the carbon footprint.
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Proven Technology

Sustainable Biofuels Solutions, LLC (SBS) is currently operating a commercial scale Micro Dee demonstration facility in North Wilkesboro, NC. This Micro Dee demonstration unit processes five tons of feedstock per day. The throughput for each commercial process train is potentially 33 tons per day, or about six times the capacity of the demonstration unit.

AECOM Technology Corporation, the largest engineering company in the U.S. has, at its own expense, conducted more than 11 months of due diligence at SBS’ North Carolina demonstration facility. After reviewing numerous competing technologies, AECOM has found that Micro Dee is by far the optimal process for renewable liquid fuel production. Testing results to date have met or exceeded projections.
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Sources:

http://www.biofuels-solutions.com/technologies.php

http://www.aecom.com/