Xethanol to Run Cellulosic Ethanol Plant using Wood Chips

Xethanol Corporation has organized BlueRidgeXethanol, LLC to re-engineer its acquisition of a former medium-density fiberboard factory to become a 35 million gallon per year ethanol production plant. Currently known as Carolina Fiberboard, its name will change to Spring Hope BioFuels, LLC, and is said to be the first commercial-scale cellulose ethanol plant that will come online in the U.S.

The primary feedstock of local hardwood chips and wood waste has been established, with other lower cost feedstocks eventually being integrated into the feedstock mix. It is anticipated that production will reach 5 million gallons per year in about six months. Using established forest products processing technologies, the company will implement the plant’s existing pulp digesters, which are fed by a large scale, biomass pre-processing and preparation module, and the dilute acid hydrolysis technology will convert the cellulose to fermentable sugars. Enzymatic hydrolysis will be introduced as it becomes economically feasible, the release states. “We believe that the technology that drives this plant will enable us to use feedstocks that are less expensive than corn and to efficiently convert local forest products to ethanol,” said Christopher d’Arnaud-Taylor, Chairman and CEO of Xethanol. “As always, we appreciate the support and enthusiasm of local government for our initiatives.” Vic Kramer, a principal of Carolina Fiberboard, commented: “Our combined resources will accelerate the production timetable to meet the burgeoning demand for ethanol. Our strategy of converting a dormant industrial facility near an abundant and renewable biomass feedstock is directly in line with Xethanol’s continued philosophy. Our plant in Spring Hope, NC has installed equipment that is currently being upgraded with a plan to begin limited ethanol production in 6 months and establishes Spring Hope as the first commercial cellulosic ethanol plant in the U.S.”
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