ICM completes two 1,000-hour performance runs of Gen 2.0 process

By ICM Inc. | August 18, 2015

ICM Inc. proudly announces successful completions of its first and second 1,000-hour performance runs (1,100 continuous hours each run) of its patent-pending Generation 2.0 Co-Located Cellulose Ethanol process.  The runs, performed at ICM’s pilot plant in St. Joseph, Missouri, prove out the colocated technology design for the conversion of cellulosic biomass feedstocks, including energy crops such as switchgrass and energy sorghum, agricultural crop residues, and forestry residues, to cellulosic ethanol and coproducts.

The first performance run, which ran from March to late April, focused on switchgrass, a perennial crop as its feedstock. The second performance run, which ran from early June to late July, focused on energy sorghum, an annual crop as its feedstock. Essentially, both runs were similar in nature, but with a few minor operational modifications included to allow for smoother operation between the two runs.

The 1,000-plus hours of continuous production in each run are a significant achievement, as it qualifies these data sets for federal loan guarantee programs, which can be utilized in the financing of new, advanced generation renewable energy technologies.

From both mechanical and process operations perspectives, the two 1,000-hour Generation 2.0 (Gen. 2.0) runs performed continuously and exceptionally well on a 24/7 basis, as would be required in a commercial operation.

These runs also validate ICM’s colocated model that produces valuable boiler fuel and animal feed co-products in addition to cellulosic ethanol.

“This achievement is important because it provides operational confidence at a commercially relevant scale. We used all commercial-type equipment for these performance runs that processed 10 dry tons of feedstock per day. At that scale, we were able to achieve continuous operations throughout both performance runs to generate key data required to move forward to commercialization as the market provides demand for Gen. 2.0 Cellulosic Ethanol and coproducts.” said Doug Rivers, director of research and development at ICM.

Previously in December 2012, ICM’s research and development team successfully completed a 1,000-hour run of an integrated cellulosic corn fiber campaign to prove out its patent-pending Generation 1.5 Grain Fiber to Cellulosic Ethanol Technology (Gen. 1.5), which resulted in substantial operating and capital expense cost savings over a Gen. 2.0 approach to cellulosic ethanol production. The  1,000-hour run for Gen. 1.5 was achieved through the sequential completion of twenty-four 15,000-gallon pilot fermentations and five 585,000-gallon commercial scale fermentations. In addition, this performance run demonstrated the production of high protein dried distillers grains (DDG) as a valuable co-product of ICM’s  Generation 1.5 Grain Fiber to Cellulosic Ethanol Technology process.

ICM believes that the success with each of these three 1,000-hour runs comes from the dedicated individuals and extensive testing of various feedstocks at the pilot scale for next generation conversion technology to produce renewable fuels that meet low carbon fuel standards.
 
“We believe our novel approach to Generation 2.0 ethanol production will add value to both agriculture and the ethanol industry going forward. Our R&D staff has been able to achieve results that we believe will pave the way for expanded use of cellulose as a feedstock to produce low carbon fuels for America” said ICM Principal Scientist and Cellulose Team Leader Jeremy Javers.

“We want to thank the U.S. DOE Bio Energy Technology Office for their ongoing support since obtaining the U.S. DOE award (DE-EE0002875) for this project. We are encouraged by the results achieved during these three 1,000-hour performance runs. Our patent-pending Generation 1.5 Grain Fiber to Cellulosic Ethanol Technology is designed as a bolt-on product, which can be added to existing corn/milo (sorghum) ethanol plants and our patent-pending Generation 2.0 colocated design will pave the way for expanded use of biomass as a feedstock for fuels and chemical production in the future. These successful runs validate ICM’s ability to continually add value to grain already being processed in existing U.S. ethanol plants, as well as biomass,” said ICM CEO Dave Vander Griend.