Advanced biofuels and biochemical company LS9 Inc. reached a new benchmark with the June 12 opening of its demonstration-scale biorefinery in Okeechobee, Fla. A retrofit of the plant was completed in May, with large-scale production expected to commence during the third quarter of 2012.
The facility features 1,000- and 35,600-gallon fermenters, which are expected to produce approximately 75,000 gallons of product annually. LS9’s technology is capable of producing a wide variety of products, including biodiesel, biobased jet fuel, specialty esters and fatty alcohols. The process has been demonstrated with several feedstocks, including biomass hydrolysate, glycerin, molasses and sweet sorghum syrup. The company has announced that biodiesel will be one of the first products produced at the plant.
According to LS9, the demonstration-scale plant will be used to enhance production capabilities and generate large commercial samples for testing and product qualification. The company also intends to use the facility to test and optimize new process conditions in the future.
“The opening of our demonstration plant in Florida moves LS9 from a development company towards becoming a fully integrated commercial organization,” saysEd Dineen, LS9 president and CEO.
The Florida Opportunity Fund’s Clean Energy Investment Program invested $4.5 million to help fund the retrofit of the facility. In addition to making the necessary adjustments to implement LS9’s production technology, the company notes that retrofit activities also focused on reducing energy consumption through the use of technologies such as variable speed drivers and advanced computer control systems.