At the Platts Cellulosic Ethanol Conference, Bluefire Ethanol's chairman and CEO, Arnold Klann, described his company's ethanol-making process as an "oddball" in the marketplace. The upside, though, is that the simplicity of the system - which uses a concentrated acid hydrolysis process - means they can use feedstocks that others cannot, he said.
Klann said that BlueFire does not require the use of any GMOs to achieve results. This was a conscious decision because they realized the technology could run into problems if they tried to set up shop in other countries (in, say, Europe) and needed GMOs to operate correctly. Thus, any mix of wood waste, agricultural residue, and other biomass can be fed into the BlueFire ethanol production system. This makes BlueFire Ethanol a good partner for landfills and municipal waste plants, where the junk that comes in can be turned into ethanol. Klann said that the useable life of a landfill can be increased by 50 to 100 percent if stuff is pulled out to make BlueFire ethanol. The economics still work for the landfill operators, because BlueFire takes the material from them after they've gotten the fees from the trash collectors for dumping it in the landfill. The BlueFire process can make 70 gallons of ethanol per ton of waste, which calculates out to 20 billion gallons a year in the U.S. "We don't value our waste enough," Klann said.

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Our travel and lodging for this event was provided by GM.

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