Research Project Information

Research Project Summary Information

Design of a 750-900 ton Commercial Mixed Northern Hardwood Sugar and Chemical Extraction Facility(ST9702-1)

O'Brien & Gere Engineers, Inc.


State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY- ESF) has developed a process to separate wood into valuable components, including wood sugars and acetic acid, a commodity chemical. The wood sugars can be used to make a variety of chemicals, including fuel ethanol or biodegradable plastics. The residue, called lignin, can be burned at the wood power plant.

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Project Description

The goal of this project was to design a facility to produce wood sugars and acetic acid co-located at a wood-powered electricity generation facility.


If successful, the proposers can use these results to prepare a site-specific design for a cellulosic ethanol plant, and the project partners would have a business plan that could lead to project financing. Over the 18 month construction cycle, 80-150 temporary jobs would be created. Each commercial biorefinery would create 26-32 jobs, and another 150 supporting jobs in the wood industry. Every 10,000 acres of willow would create 75 jobs. A biorefinery using 1000 ton/day of wood feedstock could produce about nine million gallons/year of ethanol, targeted to cost $1.07 at retail prices by 2012.

Project Results

Stage One objectives included: 1) reviewing and validating laboratory data, 2) designing the process, 3) developing an equipment layout and site-specific preliminary design, 4) assessing siting, transportation, and permitting issues, 5) preparing a cost estimate, 6) developing a construction schedule, and 7) developing a business model and commercialization plan. The project results will be used to help decide whether the cellulosic ethanol plant will be constructed.


O'Brien & Gere Engineers, Inc.
333 W. Washington Street PO Box 4873
Syracuse, NY 13202

Principle Investigator

Larry Martin

Universities Involved

SUNY College of Environmental Science an


Project Type:

Indigenous/Renewable Energy Resources

Technologies Types:

NYSERDA Contact Information

Judy Jarnefeld


R&D - Environment & Energy Res

Contract Details

Start Date: 1/11/2010
Project Status: Active
Contract Number: ST9702-1

Last Updated: 11/18/2010