Inbicon selects preferred engineering firm

By Kris Bevill | December 01, 2011

Cellulosic ethanol technology developer Inbicon A/S has certified the U.S. division of Helsinki, Finland-based engineering firm Pöyry as meeting all of the quality, reliability and professional standards necessary for engineering Inbicon projects.

Inbicon’s technology can be used to convert waste materials such as wheat straw and corn stover into cellulosic ethanol. The process also produces renewable power through the combustion of lignin. A standard Inbicon plant would use 1,200 metric tons of feedstock per day to produce 20 MMgy of ethanol, 180,000 metric tons of lignin and 185,000 metric tons of C5 molasses, which can be used as animal feed or as a component in the production of biochemicals.

Benny Mai, Inbicon’s technology development manager, said Pöyry was selected as Inbicon’s preferred engineering firm because it is capable of delivering a high level of engineering expertise. “By certifying engineers with superior capabilities such as Pöyry, we lower the risk for prospective owners of renewable energy parks using our technology,” he said. “We also lower our own risk to the point where we can offer performance guarantees that wrap the entire Inbicon Biomass Refinery, not just our patented process technology.”

Inbicon has yet to announce construction of its first commercial-scale biorefinery in the U.S. However, the company, which is a subsidiary of Denmark’s Dong Energy A/S, has been operating a demonstration-scale facility in Kalundborg, Denmark, since 2009. It is also involved in the development of a project in North Dakota which will potentially co-locate a hybrid corn/cellulosic ethanol plant with a coal-fired power generation plant operated by Minnesota-based electric cooperative Great River Energy. Despite the lack of project announcements, Inbicon believes there is great potential for cellulosic ethanol production. The company stated that it believes there is enough corn stover and wheat straw available in the U.S. and Canada to establish 500 biomass refineries producing 10 billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol and as much as 20,000 megawatts of power by 2022.

Pöyry employs 7,000 people in 50 countries including a U.S. office in Appleton, Wis. Mai said engineers at Pöyry USA will assist in identifying potential customers for Inbicon, conduct process engineering activities, and assist in developing and executing projects. “We’re really looking forward to a long-term relationship with Inbicon,” said Carl Micke, vice president of projects and construction management for Pöyry USA. “We have all the different engineering disciplines they’ll need and Inbicon has a process proven at demonstration-scale at Kalundborg, which gives them an important edge in an industry with tremendous growth prospects.”