About the Bio-Camak's Bio-Refinery

To meet the growing need and market demand for renewable sustainable products (fuels and chemicals) Biochem USA, LLC and its partners have formed Bio-Camak Bio-Refinaria, S.A. to build and operate a fully integrated biorefinery in Sines, Portugal.

The fully integrated biorefinery will produce food and feed products, advanced bio-fuels, and renewable chemicals. Products include high protein animal feed, food grade refined corn oil, industrial grade ethanol, advanced biofuels, and ethylene glycols

The market demand for renewable and sustainable products continues to grow, creating a growing demand for renewable products. The opportunity is driven by three key factors:

  • Growing consumer demand for renewable and sustainable products;
  • Need to reduce GHG emissions to meet the requirements of the Paris Accord and other international agreements; and
  • Regulations requiring use of advanced biofuels

The project benefits from a number of strengths including:

  • Single site: Eliminates cost associated with transporting the ethanol;
  • Direct process integration: energy and fixed cost savings;
  • Utilization of the most efficient and modern ethanol production technology;
  • Production of valued co-products
  • Utilization of the complete grain, including the cellulose;
  • Commercially proven technologies; and
  • Low cost production for bioMEG.

The biorefinery can be viewed as two plants, the first converts maize (corn) to ethanol and co-products and the second converts the ethanol to ethylene, and its derivatives including Glycols and other co-products. The conversion of maize (corn) to ethanol includes the following steps:

  • Corn milling
  • Corn oil extraction and refinement
  • Fiber separation
  • Starch fermentation
  • Distillation
  • Drying (fuel product only)

The biorefinery will also incorporate a unit to convert the cellulosic fiber to advanced biofuel ethanol, which involves:

  • Chemical pretreatment
  • Enzyme treatment
  • Fermentation
  • Distillation

The process to convert maize (corn) to ethanol will be directly integrated with a state of the art and commercially proven technology for the conversion of ethanol to ethylene and subsequent conversion to MEG. The process involves three key steps:

  • Catalytic conversion of ethanol to ethylene and water (dehydration)
  • Catalytic reaction of ethylene with oxygen to produce ethylene oxide (EO).
  • Reaction of the EO with water to produce MEG. Small amounts of the co-products diethylene glycol (DEG) and triethylene glycol (TEG) are also produced in this step.

Benefits

Portugal currently must import all the ethanol used to blend into gasoline. The fuel grade ethanol produced by the biorefinery will sustainably reduce the volume of ethanol that is being imported into Portugal. The renewable MEG produced by the biorefinery will greatly reduce and potentially eliminate the need to import MEG including that from other areas including the Middle East, while creating an export opportunity. The result is that the money used to purchase ethanol and MEG will stay within the country, bringing benefits to Portugal.

The fully integrated biorefinery will produce food and feed products, renewable advanced bio-fuel and renewable chemicals. Products include high protein animal feed, food grade corn oil, industrial grade ethanol, advanced bio-fuels, and ethylene glycols for a total product volume exceeding 600 KTA. The proposed biorefinery will create hundreds of new permanent jobs (both direct and indirect), improve the farm economy in Portugal. The biorefinery would also bring other benefits such as reducing imports and helping Portugal reduce its GHG emissions for meeting the objectives set by the Paris Accord.