Australia's Leaf Energy has completed initial continuous production trials at a pilot plant in the US that relies on a proprietary "glycerol pretreatment process" to convert waste sugarcane into a bio-fuel.
During the trials at the Andtriz bio-fuel plant in Springfield, Ohio, a continuous processing rate up to 4.4 tons per day was achieved.
In a written statement to investors, Leaf Energy described the result as "an important step forward towards commercialization of Leaf Energy’s Glycerol Pretreatment Process.
The material produced from this continuous process trial will undergo compositional analysis and enzyme digestion evaluations (i.e. how accessible the cellulose is to cellulase enzyme activity) with a globally recognized reference laboratory in the US.
Genencor (Du Pont) and Novozymes, two of the world leaders in enzymes markets, have agreed via sample request agreements to allow the Company to evaluate their current commercial enzymes on the trial product once initial analysis is complete.
New Biomass trials
To complement the work done on waste sugar cane Leaf Energy has signed a research contract with Queensland University of Technology to test the Glycerol Pretreatment Process on palm oil waste. Testing will initially be conducted in QUT laboratories and then at the Mackay Renewable Biocommodity Pilot Plant.
In addition Leaf Energy has commenced planning for tests using the Glycerol Pretreatment Process on Eucalyptus globulus (Bluegum) and Spruce (a coniferous evergreen tree found in northern temperate regions, commonly used in the paper industry).