... is how an investment analyst assessed one of our projects, because furfural production as part of a cellulosic ethanol plant gives the financials a boost.
Although the C5-sugars (pentosans) of the hemicellulose can be turned into cellulosic ethanol, its pollutants are net contributors of CO2 greenhouse gases:
20% of the molecular carbon is lost by converting the C5-molecule in to two C2-molecules of the ethanol.
Once saccharified, there are further carbon losses associated with the typical fermentation inefficiencies of the ethanol production.
The removal of the conversions of pentosans to furfural in the pretreatment (see Paid4Pretreament™) stage has the following benefits:
no more furfural or furfuryl alcohol that poisons the yeasts (don't need any expensive/fortified yeasts).
allows a higher C6-sugar throughput.
furfural sales generate good profits.
The above summary statements are based on our own research (2008/09), our technology developments, subsequent assessment of real pilot/demo plant data, supplied by the world's leading cellulosic ethanol developers and a need to secure long-term furfural supplies.
Furfural production delivers profitable returns on the pretreatment equipment of a cellulosic ethanol plant!