Earth Biofuels signs LOI with Revolution Biorefining

By Ron Kotrba | August 03, 2007
Biodiesel distribution and production company Earth Biofuels Inc. announced plans to break into the cellulosic ethanol arena by recently signing a letter of intent (LOI) with Revolution Biorefining LP. The intention is to form a new company under the name Earth Revolution to commercialize a unique biomass processing technology, one that bypasses the traditional pretreatment of cellulose materials for downstream fermentation, said Robert Bickel, founder of Revolution Biorefining and inventor of the patent-pending tech design.

"It's a semi-mechanical process that falls into the category of almost being an ambient, supercritical, dynamic environment," Bickel said. Essentially the biomass is converted into a bioaerosol. "From there, you have the ability to do a lot of things from a catalytic standpoint," he said. The material is reduced to nano- and micro-scale particles, which, for instance, could eliminate the need for designer enzymes in pretreatment. Bickel said the same technology can be altered to produce biodiesel, too. "There's one simple piece of equipment sitting in my shop, where we can produce continuous-flow biodiesel to the tune of 70 gallons a minute," said Bickel, adding he believes some biodiesel producers today are still "hung up on ancient technology."

Despite recent reports of turmoil in the management ranks of Earth Biofuels-CEO Tommy Johnson left the company and country music legend Willie Nelson gave up his board seat-Bickel said Nelson is "still very much involved" with the company, and it continues to distribute BioWillie-branded biodiesel. "I know the people with Earth Biofuels and deal with them on a regular basis," Bickel said. "I know what they're trying to accomplish, and I think they've accomplished things while others want to sit around making a living on government grants."

Conditions of the LOI include building a small commercial unit to process 20 tons of biodiesel per day from virtually any biomass feedstock.
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