In a recent article by PR Newswire, Cobalt Technologies, a company based in Colorado, has found a new feedstock for biofuel development in the dead lodgepole pines that are found all over Colorado. These pines are just a small fraction of the millions of acres of pines that affected by the mountain pine beetle.The company claims that if it can use half of the 2.3 million acres in Colorado affected by this beetle it will be able to produce over two billion gallons of biobutanol. This large quantity of biobutanol would be enough to supply six years worth of a gasoline/ biobutanol blend for the state of Colorado. The company partnered up with Colorado State Unversity’s Engine and Energy conversion laboratory to see how an engine would react to such a combination of fuel. This a great way to take advantage of a feedstock that is sustainable for the country. This type of feedstock would help to remove a firehazard from the community and help turn a bad situation into a positive outcome. If this feedstock is successful then it opens up a whole new range possibilities for other feedstock sources that the microbes at Cobalt Technologies can digest.
According to Cobalt Technologies website, it can use just about any feedstock, right now mostly left over products from the mill process, to convert to biobutanol through continuous fermentation. These products can then be used for integration into jet fuels or plastics, blended with gasoline to make a viable fuel source, or sold as is for use in paints and coatings. It also boasts a special water saving technique through its Vapor Compression Distillation method which allows the water used in the biobutanol conversion process to be reused.