New Bio-Refinery Pilot Plant with Two Ton Processing Capacity Debuted
Wausau, WI – On Friday, March 18, University of Wisconsin System President, Ray Cross, visited American Science and Technology (AST) and the newly established Cellulose Pilot and Processing Laboratory (CPPL), located in Wausau, Wisconsin, for a tour of the recently completed scaled-up biorefinery pilot plant. The visit followed only days after AST announced the completion of the pilot plant scale-up efforts, increasing AST’s processing capacity to 2 tons of cellulosic biomass per day. As a result of its ongoing collaboration with the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, AST and UW-Stevens Point were awarded approximately $2.8 million in November 2013 to assist AST with its biorefinery pilot plant scale-up efforts and to establish the CPPL in coordination with the university. The award was part of a $22.5 million initiative by the University of Wisconsin System to support economic development.
“One of our company’s strengths is our long-standing relationship with the UW System,” said AST President and CEO, Dr. Ali Manesh. “UW has been a vital partner in a number of collaborations and efforts throughout the past seven years. Their continued support has certainly helped us get to where we are today.” As part of this collaborative effort, the CPPL was established to provide pre-commercialization pilot processing capabilities to biomass users, owners, technology developers, and entrepreneurs.
“Great ideas need to be tested properly before they can become solutions of the future,” Manesh said. “That requires resources and capabilities that many companies and institutions may not have. CPPL was established to provide such necessary equipment and expertise to industry and research institutions.”
Based out of Chicago, Illinois, American Science and Technology Corporation has been utilizing its complete and integrated biorefinery facilities in Wausau to develop a highly sustainable and economically viable organosolv process to convert non-food cellulosic biomass into highly refined fermentable sugars, high purity lignin, high quality pulp, and organic solvents. AST's cellulosic sugar and lignin are key intermediate products in supply chains for producing biochemicals, plastics, biofuels, and nutritional supplements for food.