Ethanol Facility to Use Wheat Straw Feedstock

While corn is primarily used to distill ethanol, a new facility in Spain will convert wheat straw as the ethanol’s feedstock.

SunOpta has signed a 4.7 million Euros (USD $5.8 million) contract to supply its so-called “steam explosion” equipment and process technology to Abener Energia S.A. of Seville, Spain, a wholly owned subsidiary of Abengoa, for a commercial production facility to convert wheat straw into ethanol. Scheduled to be operational in the fall of 2006, the facility will be built adjacent to an existing cereal grain to ethanol plant operated by Abengoa. Ethanol is produced from cereal grain in Europe and corn in North America and it is generally recognized that the cost effective supply of grains and corn will be a limiting factor in meeting the growing demand of ethanol for energy use. Experts agree that it is critical to use technology that extracts fermentable sugars from the whole plant, including wheat straw and corn stalks to meet this growing demand. SunOpta specializes in preparation, pretreatment, steam explosion and extraction of value added compounds from plant biomass material. The company focuses on integrated business models in the natural and organic food markets.

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