SunOpta To Build Cellulosic Ethanol Plant Based On Wood Chip Feedstock


Via:- Renewable Energy Access, "SunOpta Inc. signed a joint venture (JV) agreement with GreenField Ethanol Inc. to develop and implement commercial scale processes to produce cellulosic ethanol from wood chips One or more commercial-scale plants using the new process are planned". That's an impressive announcement on it's own; but, in looking for background we came across a far more interesting bit of information on the SunOpta website. Turn off the music, and take a quiet moment to read this carefully. We'll use the handy synonym for "Cellulosic Ethanol": CeEtOH, which is said, and colloquially written, as "Ceetoh."

Now then: having seen a technically oriented slide presentation by a SunOpta rep (source of both images), this writer is convinced that hardwood chips will initially come to dominate ag waste or grasses in importance as feedstock for making transportation fuel "Ceetoh". If so, fast growng pioneer species of trees such as aspen and popple will likely be a preferred Ceetoh feedstock in North America. In following decades, so called "energy crops" may equal or surpass wood chips in importance.


In the assumed scenario , here are the predetermined outcomes:

1. Forest product companies that sold their land holdings off to holding companies are going to be kicking their own behinds.

2. New owners of forest lands will be gloating, especially if they also are able underwrite the Ceetoh process development and, thus, have a say in plant 'siting'.

3. Land values in "God's Country" will shoot up.

4. National forests will be trashed unless sustainable harvest rules are developed and enforced. Outdoorsmen will be a powerful voice on this issue.

5. Rural employment will benefit.

6. Lumber and Pulp operations will have to compete on price for hardwood (if they use it).