CRIBE to Provide $6 Million in Funding to Domtar, Battelle, Wood to Fuel Project

April 12, 2012 - CRIBE (Centre for Research and Innovation in the Bio-Economy) announced that it is providing up to $6 million in funding to leverage a total project value of up to $14 million for a partnership between Domtar and Battelle to develop a new approach to converting under-utilized wood to fuel.

Battelle is one of the world's largest independent research and development organizations.

Domtar and Battelle have teamed up to develop a unique, cost-effective system that if successful, will increase operational efficiencies and create a fossil fuel alternative for transportation fuels.

According to CRIBE, the system uses "fast pyrolysis" technology, a process that rapidly converts biomass using heat without oxygen to produce crude bio-oil and gas. The key to Battelle's approach is in the treatment and processing of this crude bio-oil to a "drop-in fuel", which can be blended directly with gasoline or diesel fuel.

Domtar's Dryden mill will use wood waste, which is currently burned for low value, as the biomass feedstock for the process. If successful, the bio-oil will be used to blend into the fuel for Domtar's vehicle fleet or it could be used internally to offset the use of natural gas.

"We are pleased with this opportunity to help develop, demonstrate and commercialize this innovative technology," said Bruno Marcoccia, Director of Research and Development at Domtar. "It will be good news for everyone if we are successful."

One of the big advantages to Battelle's system is that its unique design requires far less energy to produce the same fuel product as existing "fuel from wood" technology. As well, because it simply adds to an existing operation, it reduces capital and operating costs, making it more economically viable.

In this two phase project, Phase 1 will utilize wood waste from Domtar's Dryden mill to produce the higher value bio-oil. Once the process is optimized and results are demonstrated, Phase 2 involves the construction of a 100 ton/day pilot plant, to be integrated into Domtar Dryden's facility.

CRIBE is a provincial initiative to transform the forest products industry in Northern Ontario, Canada. It is an independent, not-for-profit research corporation, with $25 million in funding provided by the government of Ontario, that partners closely with other relevant organizations to provide support to direct and turn research results and innovative business opportunities into operational realities.