UK-based TMO Renewables has inked deals with two Chinese firms to develop pilot cellulosic ethanol production plants. The deals are with state-owned COFCO Limited, China's largest oil and food importer and exporter, and China National Offshore Oil Corporation, one of the nation's leading state-owned oil giants.
The aim is to use a TMO-patented process to break down cassava crop waste to produce cellulosic ethanol, which will then be used as an alternative transportation fuel. TMO says that production of its biofuel is more efficient than making ethanol from corn even though commercial production of cellulosic ethanol is still in the early stages, overall. It's thought that cellulosic ethanol holds an edge over biofuels made from edible crops.
The two Chinese firms have agreed to a technical development process and, provided that testing is a success, will eventually construct pilot plants capable of producing 25,000-30,000 tons of cellulosic ethanol annually. TMO will earn royalties from the sale of the ethanol end product.
[Source: Ward's Auto – sub. req.]