Several ethanol plants have been changing hands and one of the more recent was the purchase of Xethanol LLC, based in Blairstown, Iowa, by Fiberight LLC, based in Virgina. Fiberight purchased the plant with the intent of converting it into a cellulosic ethanol demonstration plant. The fuel will be produced through the conversion of municipal sold waste (MSW) to ethanol. The company acquired Xethanol for $1.65 million and the conversion is estimated to be around $20 million.
The technology is not new to Fiberight which for three years has been operating a pilot-scale plant in Virgina. In an article published by Biomass Magazine, Fiberight CEO Craig Stuart-Paul said of their technology, “We’ve been operating in stealth mode because we don’t want to make claims until we can prove them.” They plan on doing just that in Blairstown.
While there are several MSW technologies, Fiberight says that its process is unique for several reasons. One is that their technology, “has the ability to fractionate the waste stream into various forms and then create a homogenous feedstock.” Stuart-Paul notes that this is the biggest hang-up for MSW technologies to date.
Second, Stuart-Paul said that their proprietary process allows the recycling and re-use of enzymes. This lowers costs and speeds up commercial competitiveness in that their fuel will be more cost-competitive with alternative fuels already in the marketplace.
According to the company, they are in negotiations to secure the waste from nearby Cedar Rapids, Iowa a community of 150,000 people that is less than 30 miles from Blairstown. These are the ideal communities for the company’s mini-mills and once the Blairstown plant is successfully running, Fiberight plants on siting additional plants in similar communities.