In competing bioenergy processes where lignin is not converted, a significant amount of the carbon and energy is not transferred into the final fuel product, creating inefficiencies. Although it is commonly accepted to offset these shortfalls by combusting the residual material for heat generation, or by marketing a biochar by-product, this clearly is not ideal considering the availability of higher efficiency conversion tools such as Hydrofaction®.
Hydrofaction® is also a more direct conversion route with higher overall energy efficiency than other thermochemical conversion pathways such as gasification followed by Fischer-Tropsch synthesis and fast pyrolysis followed by hydro-processing.
Steeper Energy has from the beginning been focused on woody biomass as the most promising candidate for Hydrofaction® processing driven by the following factors:
- It is the most abundant biowaste stream in the world.
- It is concentrated in sufficient volumes in specific locations to create handling efficiencies.
- It is one of the few biomass feedstocks that allow production of renewable oil at a scale that’s relevant for the petroleum industry.
- Less than 50% of a tree is utilized by current forestry industry practices. The other 50% is left as waste in the forest or in lumber yards, creating an opportunity for the deployment of Hydrofaction® technology.