Environmental Protection

Syntec, EERC to Make Bio-Butanol from Biomass and Waste

Syntec Biofuel Inc. of Vancouver has entered into a joint development program with the Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks for converting biomass and waste into bio-butanol.

The core process uses Syntec's high-performance catalyst technology in conjunction with an upgrading process exclusively licensed from the EERC Foundation.

Butanol has a high purity and energy level and can be used in a variety of ways, including as a fuel in internal combustion engines. Because its hydrocarbon chain is twice that of ethanol, it is more similar to gasoline than it is to ethanol and thus constitutes a superior fuel. Bio-butanol is also used as a solvent for chemical and textile processes, as a chemical intermediate for organic synthesis, as a base for perfumes and paint thinners, and as a solvent in other coating applications.

"We are delighted to work with the EERC, a leader in the field of biomass gasification and liquefaction able to contribute its expertise to assist Syntec in our quest toward commercialization," said Michael Jackson, chief executive officer of Syntec. "We are not aware of any other company in the world that is developing a thermochemical process utilizing nonfood materials to predominantly produce bio-butanol. In a joint venture with DuPont, BP is building a demonstration plant in the United Kingdom to convert sugar into bio-butanol."

EERC Director Gerald Groenewold said: "Combining the EERC's expertise in biomass conversion and butanol production with Syntec's unique catalyst technology will provide an excellent commercial opportunity to provide the world with an economical and sustainable renewable fuel option."

Syntec is a Washington state corporation based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Syntec has developed a thermochemical process that breaks down sustainable, low-cost municipal solid waste, wood, and agricultural waste into reactive components that form with Syntec's patent-pending catalysts to produce ethanol, methanol, propanol, and butanol.

The EERC is recognized as one of the world's leading developers of cleaner, more efficient energy and environmental technologies to protect and clean our air, water, and soil. The EERC is a high-tech, nonprofit branch of the university and pursues an entrepreneurial, market-driven approach to research and development to demonstrate innovative technologies and commercialize them through its foundation and many clients.

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