A simplified process diagram of C2 Biofuels’ enzymatic hydrolysis and fermentation process is shown above.
The process is classified as the “carbohydrate” platform where the biomass (woodchips) is pretreated (broken down) into cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin using heat, pressure and catalyst to expose the sugar polymers.
Enzymes are then added to hydrolyze the polymers into simple sugars which can be fermented into ethanol.
The lignin from the wood is separated from the ethanol and dewatered sufficiently to burn in a boiler as fuel.
There is enough energy content in the lignin to permit generation of all process steam and electricity required
by the process and still have surplus for export to the electrical grid. Since the source of the fuel for the electricity is from the tree (as opposed to a fossil fuel), the electricity is considered “green”.
C2 Biofuels has demonstrated this technology on a lab scale in collaboration with scientists from Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia.
Initial results show that ethanol can be produced from southern yellow pine in an economically viable manner. Once the process is perfected for softwoods, other feedstocks will be examined.