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A single pass harvesting system, developed by farmers for farmers to unlock a viable renewables businesses.

Since 2002, DalinYebo Trading and Development (“DalinYebo”) has been looking for supplies of corncobs to make biorenewable chemicals. In 2010, as part of the award winning Cobelec business plan[1], DalinYebo undertook a survey of the mielie farming locations throughout South Africa. It was determine that there is sufficient usable biomass (maize-cobs) availability as a basis for the roll-out of the GreenEnergyPark™ concepts[2]. A GreenEnergyPark™ consists of simple and profitable applications for the transformation of biomass to energy (electricity) and/or chemicals.

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How does one harvest corncobs?

With the drive for energy independence in the USA and the vast quantities of mielies (maize) planted, agricultural equipment manufacturers have been developing different ways to collect corncobs. The most outstanding collector was a system that has proven affordable and was developed by agricultural engineers who also are mielie farmers. Their on-the-go cob harvester is able to collect grain and corncobs in a single-pass with self-contained add-ons to the combine and the grain collection cart (see above picture). This system is easily adapted to South African farming practises.

For what will corncobs be used?

Quite simply, the corncobs collected will be used for the production of biorenewable chemicals and energy. Initially the main product will be an industrial chemical called furfural[3] The residue from this production will be used to e.g. generate power for furfural production and any other agro-processing industry operations in the area.

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What is “furfural” and what is a “GreenEnergyPark™”?

Furfural is a liquid chemical, which is made from biomass such as corncobs, oat hulls, sunflower husks, sugarcane bagasse and that finds industrial application in the manufacture of resins (esp. for moulds in steel industry). It is also a building block and intermediary for other chemicals, polymers and plastics and also used in automotive, construction, aviation, chemical, pharmaceutical industries. The global market for furfural is growing and in 2010 the demand exceeded its supply. It has been industrially produced from different agricultural residues since 1922.

Based on a stable supply of corncobs, the co-production of furfural and energy (steam and electricity) is an ideal platform for agricultural processing operations to be grouped into or near a GreenEnergyPark™. This GreenEnergyPark™ could also serve existing processing facilities like grain milling, feed drying and fertilizer mixing, as well as benefit future farming related businesses.

DalinYebo has a secure long-term off-take for furfural, which therefore has the potential to immediately add (FOREX) revenue to mielie farming. In the long term, a GreenEnergyPark™ provides many possibilities for increased revenues to other farming related operations.

How much will it cost?

The overall investment for a new furfural plant that processes about 60,000 t of corncobs per year will be in the order of R50 million to R60million. Based on the biomass supply commitment, there will be co-investors from the global industry leaders. Investments by the farming community or other SA companies are welcomed. The modification cost to the agricultural equipment is minimal in the context of the overall business returns. The project payback period is around 4 years.

What are the risks?

The biggest risk is not to do anything about it! Timing is everything: Currently there are international investors who would like to visit South Africa as soon as possible to evaluate SA farmer’s willingness to supply corncobs on a long-term basis. This is an opportunity that is not to be missed.

I’m interested, how can I find out more about this opportunity?

For those interested in participation in this business opportunity, particularly with regard to corncob supply, are invited to meet representatives of the project promoters. The www.greenenergypark.co.za website contains background information about the GreenEnergyPark™ concept. More information will be provided and questions answered during our presentation. There will also be an opportunity for private meetings with farmers and/or other parties (e.g. contract harvesters) who have a serious interest.

Contact Details (Project Promoters):

DalinYebo Trading and Development (Pty) Ltd: 

or Brent McKeon, Marketing Director

Plant Earth Biopower:

or Mr. Mzwandile Sithole

or Prof. Mark Laing

References:


[1] dalinyebo.com/cobelec

  • Cobelec™
  • GreenEnergyPark™
  • Corncobs...

Source:  http://www.dalinyebo.com/item/1220-does-the-co-harvesting-of-maize-and-cobs-make-business-sense

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Biobased terephthalic acid (TPA) for polyethylene terephthalate (PET)

Although beverage companies like Coca-Cola Ltd. have adopted biobased-PET since 2009, they use petroleum based TPA and therefore the PET's percentage biomass carbon content is a mere 20%. In a February 2015 publication [1], researchers propose a viable synthetic route, shown in Figure 1 (below), for the preparation of biobased TPA from furfural alone, which is produced industrially from inedible cellulosic biomass.

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Fig 1 - Furfural to TPA [1]

The researchers now aim to reduce the number of process steps to two and increase the overall yields.

Furfural is an ideal biomass resource, as it is traditionally produced from cellulosic and waste biomass such as corncob, corn stock, and rice hull. Furthermore, it is extremely abundant, with a global output of 500,000–1,000,000 tonnes/year.

Market:

PTA is expected to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 5.3% from 2011, reaching 66 million tons in 2020, with Asia-Pacific expected to account for around 82% of its demand. [2]

Also See:

image   Polyester From Furfural (November 2014)

image   Furfural as feedstock for PET alternatives (December 2013)

image   Important chemicals for the production of biomass-based monomers (Nov 2013)

image Renewable platform chemical and building block (October 2013)

image   Moving the field of furfural and its by-products into the limelight it deserves

Reference:

[1] Synthesis and Verification of Biobased Terephthalic Acid from Furfural

[2] CBI Research: China and India to Lead Global Purified Terephthalic Acid Demand Growth by 2020 (accessed: 19 April 2015)

 

Since 2001, DalinYebo provides knowhow:

To convert biomass to value added products that are used in industries such as steel, wood, pharmaceutical, automotive, agricultural chemicals, industrial chemicals, etc.

For the agri (biomass) processing, sugar, pulp&paper, etc. industries, we provide knowhow and technology to convert (residual) biomass to chemicals and energy.

For owners of biomass we offer technology and market access, creating investment opportunities in the cleantech space.

The essential technical challenge facing us, and the world in general, is the complete beneficiation of cellulosic material. We strive to provide viable and practical solution. Contact us to discuss the economic potential of your biomass.
  • PET
  • Polyesters
  • Byproducts...

Source:  http://www.dalinyebo.com/item/1216-a-truly-biobased-tpa-for-pet

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Aiming for a small slice of the ±50million tpa (polyester) market.

Polyester is a synthetic polymer made of purified terephthalic acid (PTA). Furan-2,5-dicarboxylic acid (FDCA) has been suggested as an important renewable building block because it can substitute for terephthalic acid (PTA) in the production of polyesters [1]. The synthesis of furfural to FDCA is a two step reaction, via furoic acid [2]. It is very old chemistry that goes back to 1930s. Most recently commercial developments of FDCA is based on 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural (5-HMF) as precursor.

Growth: 2014 to 2020 forecast for FDCA is in the order of a CAGR of 367.0% [3 4]

Market reports[4] forecast FDCA consumption by 2020 to be close to 500,000 tpa and that its market share should be in the following segments:

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Grandview Research (Industry Analysis: FDCA-Industry)

Although there are uses for FDCA in market sectors such as PET, polyamides, polycarbonates, plasticisers and polyester polyols, the production of PET from FDCA is expected to have highest potential by 2020. This market segment is forecast to account for over 60% of global FDCA consumption.

 

Market:

By 2020, the FDCA Market volume is expected to reach about 500,000 tpa. [4]

 

 

Why FDCA from Furfural?

The current (semi-)commercial production of FDCA is made via 5-HMF, which is an unstable molecule and requires expensive catalysts for its synthesis. In addition, its commercial viability depends on large-scale production and is reliant on the food industry to supply sugars and/or starches.

Furfural is made on small-scale production units (biorefineries) that are close to the biomass suppliers or attached to a sugar mill (or pulp mill).

Furfural production does not interfere with food-production.

Furfural production contributes to food-security, as its beneficiaries are the farmers, whose crop "wastes" are used to generate additional revenue for them.

Furfural biorefineries have a high socio-economic impact: They require low capital investments and are suitable to be owned and operated by small enterprises or co-operatives and therefore have a direct impact on their local economies (inc. creation of green, rural jobs).

 

Editor's note: The Furfural-to-FDCA research goes back to the early 20th century. Since the 1970s, new catalysts, new process technology, etc. have been developed in the hydrocarbon-based chemical industry, which could also be applied in the bio-renewable chemicals space. The background IP for Furfural-to-FDCA is freely available and given the low-cost/energy efficient furfural production that is commercially available from International Furan Technology, there should be no reason to meet the targeted US$1,000 per tonne of FDCA. 

Also See:

image   Furfural as feedstock for PET alternatives (December 2013)

image   Important chemicals for the production of biomass-based monomers (Nov 2013)

image Renewable platform chemical and building block (October 2013)

image   Bioplastics: 500% growth = 500% more green chemicals (September 2013)

image   Furoic acid, is the oldest know furan derivative

image   Moving the field of furfural and its by-products into the limelight it deserves

References:

[1] Wikipedia: 2,5-Furandicarboxylic acid

[2] Map to Furfural By-products

[3] Bioplastics News: Great Future of Furanics Chemistry

[4] Grandview Market Research: Industry-analysis: FDCA-Industry

[5] B. Kamm, M. Kamm. M. Schmidt, T. Hirth and M. Schulze, Biorefineries – Industrial Processes and Products, ed. B. Kamm, P.R. Gruber and M. Kamm, Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim, Germany, 2006, vol. 2, ch. 3, pp. 97-149.

  • Furfural
  • Furoic Acid
  • Bioplastics
  • FDCA
  • Furfural and its many Byproducts
  • Polyols
  • PET
  • Polyesters
  • Plasticisers
  • Polycarbonates
  • Polyamides...

Source:  http://www.dalinyebo.com/item/1212-polyester-from-furfural

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Furfuryl Alcohol's Role in the Space Shuttle Development

The 1958 US Space Act stipulated that NASA's research and advancements should benefit all people. As a result, many items we now use daily are a direct result of space technology innovation (e.g. scratch-resistant lenses,  cord-less tools, satellite communication, etc.). It also resulted in a vast array of chemical innovations. DalinYebo's mentor, Dr. Karl Joachim Zeitsch, was part of the team that developed the hypergolic fuel chemistry for the RD4 thrusters  used for the navigation of the Apollo Command Module and the Lunar Lander. Karl was also involved in the heat-shield development and its testing.

Furfuryl Alcohol and the Space Shuttle

Furfuryl Alcohol ("FA") was used in the Reinforced Carbon-Carbon (RCC) composite materials, which was developed to protect the shuttle around its nose and wing leading edge, where extremely high temperatures (>1,260°C) were encountered during the shuttles re-entry into the atmosphere.

Through pyrolysis, and after the graphite fabric has been rough trimmed, the polymer resin is converted into carbon which is then impregnated with furfuryl alcohol. The density of this material is increased by further pyrolysis, which also leads to improved mechanical properties[1].

An Industrial Renaissance

In our "New Agricultural Economy" article, we made reference to the furfural knowledge that has been developed in Durban (South Africa) since the 1970s. Besides the generation that has retired, there is also a generation of scientists and engineers that have left the industry, as a result of the limited opportunities or a lack of research funding (see "Drop-in Pothole Repairs"). However, these professionals are still available to share their knowhow.

One of the unique properties of furfural alcohol is its use to create really long-chain polymers ..

.. on its own or with other compounds. This chemistry was well researched already in the last century ( .. and almost forgotten), but very little of it is used commercially today. Conceptually similar to the process used by the NASA engineers, FA is used to penetrate cell structure of natural materials:

 FA is used to impregnate the cells of wood, where is polymerised and bonded with the wood. The treated wood has improved moisture-dimensional stability, hardness, and decay and insect resistance (see dalinyebo.com/tag/Kebony).

 In a similar way, new natural co-polymers are created that find its commercial use in structural panels for the aviation or automotive industries (see dalinyebo.com/bioresins-for-fiber-reinforced-bioplastics)

Today, the bulk of the FA is used for the manufacture of furan resins, mainly used in the foundry industry (also suitable for 3D printing).

 Furan resins have excellent chemical, solvent, and temperature resistance. Their use is limited, as furan coatings are brittle, show poor adhesion to nonporous surfaces (such as steel), and show high shrinkage on curing. However, there is unexploited research that shows how a copolymer can over-come some of these limitations.

Reference

[1] Space Shuttle and Furfuryl Alcohol and Materials Used in Space Shuttle Thermal Protection Systems

  • Furfuryl Alcohol
  • Bioplastics
  • Poly(Furfuryl Alcohol)...

Source:  http://www.dalinyebo.com/item/1211-unique-properties-of-furfuryl-alcohol

image
Furfuryl Alcohol's Role in the Space Shuttle Development

The 1958 US Space Act stipulated that NASA's research and advancements should benefit all people. As a result, many items we now use daily are a direct result of space technology innovation (e.g. scratch-resistant lenses,  cord-less tools, satellite communication, etc.). It also resulted in a vast array of chemical innovations. DalinYebo's mentor, Dr. Karl Joachim Zeitsch, was part of the team that developed the hypergolic fuel chemistry for the RD4 thrusters  used for the navigation of the Apollo Command Module and the Lunar Lander. Karl was also involved in the heat-shield development and its testing.

Furfuryl Alcohol and the Space Shuttle

Furfuryl Alcohol ("FA") was used in the Reinforced Carbon-Carbon (RCC) composite materials, which was developed to protect the shuttle around its nose and wing leading edge, where extremely high temperatures (>1,260°C) were encountered during the shuttles re-entry into the atmosphere.

Through pyrolysis, and after the graphite fabric has been rough trimmed, the polymer resin is converted into carbon which is then impregnated with furfuryl alcohol. The density of this material is increased by further pyrolysis, which also leads to improved mechanical properties[1].

An Industrial Renaissance

In our "New Agricultural Economy" article, we made reference to the furfural knowledge that has been developed in Durban (South Africa) since the 1970s. Besides the generation that has retired, there is also a generation of scientists and engineers that have left the industry, as a result of the limited opportunities or a lack of research funding (see "Drop-in Pothole Repairs"). However, these professionals are still available to share their knowhow.

One of the unique properties of furfural alcohol is its use to create really long-chain polymers ..

.. on its own or with other compounds. This chemistry was well researched already in the last century ( .. and almost forgotten), but very little of it is used commercially today. Conceptually similar to the process used by the NASA engineers, FA is used to penetrate cell structure of natural materials:

 FA is used to impregnate the cells of wood, where is polymerised and bonded with the wood. The treated wood has improved moisture-dimensional stability, hardness, and decay and insect resistance (see dalinyebo.com/tag/Kebony).

 In a similar way, new natural co-polymers are created that find its commercial use in structural panels for the aviation or automotive industries (see dalinyebo.com/bioresins-for-fiber-reinforced-bioplastics)

Today, the bulk of the FA is used for the manufacture of furan resins, mainly used in the foundry industry (also suitable for 3D printing).

 Furan resins have excellent chemical, solvent, and temperature resistance. Their use is limited, as furan coatings are brittle, show poor adhesion to nonporous surfaces (such as steel), and show high shrinkage on curing. However, there is unexploited research that shows how a copolymer can over-come some of these limitations.

Reference

[1] Space Shuttle and Furfuryl Alcohol and Materials Used in Space Shuttle Thermal Protection Systems

  • Furfuryl Alcohol
  • Bioplastics
  • Poly(Furfuryl Alcohol)...

Source:  http://dalinyebo.com/item/1211-unique-properties-of-furfuryl-alcohol

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