Huge Ethanol Refinery Opens In Denmark

Straw, corn stalks and cobs, sugar bagasse, and grasses–it all turns into biofuels at  the Inbicon Biomass Refinery, which recently swung into full operation in Kalundborg, Denmark. However, it’s wheat straw that gives this new plant its claim to fame as the world’s largest producer of cellulosic ethanol, known as “The New Ethanol.”

This power plant operates in conjunction with Denmark’s Asnaes Power Station and uses the waste steam of the station to increase its efficiency by 71%. Even more impressive is the fact that this plant produces not only biofuels but also green electricity, as the refinery’s lignin biofuel co-product is so clean it can augment coal-firing in power plant boilers without further purification.

Inbicon Ethanol Plant

image via Inbicon

Inbicon’s integrated biofuels/biomass refinery systems seems to be attracting some attention in the US as well, as the 26th annual International Fuel Ethanol Workshop in St. Louis, Missouri, featured three U.S. companies unveiling cellulosic projects in development–each of which is slated to include a scaled-up Inbicon Biomass Refinery. This commercial design produces 20MMgy of The New Ethanol.

“We’re producing not only The New Ethanol to replace gasoline but also a clean lignin biofuel to replace coal,” says Inbicon CEO Niels Henriksen, in a statement. “But our renewable energy process is as important as our renewable energy products.  The Inbicon Biomass Refinery can demonstrate dramatically improved efficiencies when integrated with a coal-fired power station, grain-ethanol plant, or any CHP operation.  Symbiotic energy exchange helps our customers build sustainable, carbon-neutral businesses.”

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Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.