Taiwan to Produce Cellulose Alcohol

A government-run lab in Taiwan has started work on a project to produce cellulose alcohol from rice straw with the aim of expanding the sources of raw materials for biofuel, government sources have reported.

Researchers for the project, have completed testing a prototype system of cellulose alcohol production and expect to establish a pilot plant with a daily alcohol output of 200 liters by late 2009. Straw is mainly composed of cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin, according to project director Wang Chia-pao who said that xylose and glucose, both ingredients for alcohol, can be extracted from cellulose and hemicellulose.

“Our refining techniques can turn xylose and glucose into alcohol with 99.5 percent purity, which is suitable for gasohol production, ” Wand said. “However the only downside at the present stage is that the production cost is still far higher than the acceptable range.”

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