For 15 years, at first in relative obscurity, DONG Energy the largest energy company in Denmark, now Ørsted, did the initial work—the research and development of Inbicon biomass conversion technology. It advanced, step by painstaking step, from lab bench to successive pilot plants to a demonstration refinery capable of turning soft lignocellulose into 2 million gallons a year of cellulosic ethanol.
After five years of rigorous refinery testing, equipment upgrades, rebuilding for process improvements, rebuilding again to add mixed-sugar fermentation, Ørsted is fully justified in believing that Inbicon technology is now “the most sustainable and energy-efficient [cellulosic ethanol] process in the world today.”
On a parallel marketing track in the U.S. for six years, Inbicon’s partner Leifmark had an epiphany. Green investors don’t care what your technology can do. What counts is what it can do for them.
They asked, is it profitable, sustainable, socially and environmentally responsible? In other words, can you turn it into a great business?
In 2017 New Energy Blue, whose Founding Partners who have been working on the Inbicon technology–some since its inception, was invited to launch the technology commercially in the Americas. New Energy Blue has developed a total business model: New Energy Biomass Refinery, putting the Inbicon technology at its core. And why we custom-design and self-perform each phase of a project, wringing out the risk in both the business structure and the execution.
For example, we began with a low-cost yet comprehensive site-and-situation-specific analysis, ending with a pro forma, that predicts project success before advancing to Phase 2 engineering. Biomass supply chain options; commodity pricing, buying, and selling; consumables such as enzymes; technology platform trade-offs; carbon intensity reduction; automated systems; performance guarantees; waste water recycling; access to rail, highway, and utilities; permitting and legal; CapEx and OpEx, co-locating synergies or greenfield advantages—everything has to gel. Including a process that can now commercialize the lowest carbon and highest octane transportation fuel without a drop of fresh water used in processing.
Nobody can afford less than success. Not on the first project or the 101st.