A new piece of equipment arrived at the KiOR Inc. site on the Island in Columbus on Thursday. The renewable crude oil converter is over 200 feet tall and weighed in at over 700,000 lbs. The $5 million converter was brought in by barge and took four trailers and two industrial cranes to move.
According to the company, the converter will be an integral part of KiOR’s biofuel production process, which, in its whole, will take biomass feedstock (woodchips) and turn it into renewable crude oil, which the company processes into gasoline and diesel blendstocks that can be used in vehicles on the road today.
The converter is part of a recirculating catalyst system. The upper section is the stripper section where the catalyst is separated from the product vapor stream; the lower section is the regenerator where the catalyst is regenerated by burning off the coke. The crude oil produced can be further processed for various uses.
The converter is one of 160 pieces of equipment that will be installed on the the Island, at the 22 acre KiOR plant.
The woodchips will be acquired form Weyerhaeuser’s timber supply sites and they plan to use Southern yellow pine wood. The company plans to be producing oil by mid -2012.
KiOR has developed a proprietary technology platform to convert sustainable, low-cost, non-food biomass into a hydrocarbon-based renewable crude oil. Using standard refining equipment, the company processes its renewable crude into gasoline and diesel blendstocks that can utilize the existing transportation fuel infrastructure for use in vehicles on the road today.
To produce oil, which can be made into fuel, KiOR uses a process called Fluid Catalytic Cracking (FCC) technology combined with its proprietary catalyst systems to reduce the time it takes to produce oil “from millions of years to a matter of seconds,” according to their website. Their Biomass Fluid Catalytic Cracking (BFCC) technology has been used to reduce the cost of producing biofuel . The gasoline and diesel blendstocks that are produced can be combined with existing fossil-based fuels and used in modern vehicles.
KiOR plans to open four more plants in Mississippi, creating over 500 new jobs state-wide.0