Renewable chemicals are slowly replacing fossil-derived chemicals. These chemicals are often made from renewable resources such as wood, algae, and agricultural waste and can often be one-for-one, identical replacement materials, or in some cases, they are new and improved versions of the chemicals they replace.
Ethyl alcohol (ethanol, grain alcohol, drinking alcohol) has been produced from renewable resources – grain, hops, molasses, starch – for millennia for human consumption by fermentation. In the mid-20th Century, with the rise of petroleum cracking to make gasoline and diesel fuel that produced ethylene as a by-product, the industry developed methods to make ethanol from ethylene. This “synthetic” or “industrial” ethanol soon displaced renewable ethanol and was used for chemical processing, as a solvent, and as an intermediate in the production of other materials. In the 1980s the US introduced subsidies for corn-based ethanol, and soon renewable fermentation of ethanol regained its position as the major source for most uses.
While ethanol is the best-known of the renewable fuels, as oil becomes more expensive and harder to find, other oil-derived chemicals are being displaced by renewable substitutes. Among the most prominent and promising are isobutanol, 1,4-butanediol, PET (polyethyleneterephthalate), and PEF (polyethylenefuranoate). For some of these materials partial replacement of petro- by bio-based units has been achieved, e.g. PET where ethylene glycol from renewable sources alternates with petro-based terephthalic acid in the product. Others, like PEF, are true replacements for their competition (PET) with different chemical structures and properties.
The development of renewable processes requires significant expertise and patience. An expert may assist clients in evaluating renewable chemical processes and investors in selecting the right technology or vendor and in preparing due diligence/feasibility studies and loan/grant applications. During the R&D stage, seasoned experts can provide insights into advantaged techniques for developing biochemical processes and knowledge of the vast array of prior work that is relevant to the client’s interests. During the process design stage, the renewable chemicals expert may perform a peer review of the design, prepare risk assessments, and assist with vetting vendors. During plant construction, the renewable chemicals expert might assist with construction oversight of the renewable chemicals handling facilities and provide commissioning reports. They may also provide operator training, start-up assistance, and management to assist in making the facilities run as smoothly and efficiently as possible. In matters involving renewable chemicals litigation, the consultant may serve an expert witness and assist the attorneys with understanding the processes and related technical issues and may testify in court about renewable chemicals technology, performance, compositions, and related matters.
Lee Enterprises Consulting (LEC) offers a wide range of services in biofuels, biochemicals, biotechnologies, biomaterials, synthetic biology commercialization, feedstocks, and hemp/cannabis. The company has business and financial services like due diligence, feedstock availability, grants and loans, and bio-market research. The company also offers technical and engineering-related services like techno-economic analysis, environmental evaluations, feasibility studies, risk analysis, and expert witness engagements. The company also has strategic partnerships in place to assist clients with insurance, legal, accounting, plant fabrication, and feedstock procurement. With over 150 experts worldwide, Lee Enterprises Consulting also has experts in anaerobic digestion, fermentation, biomass, conversion technologies for things like tires and railroad ties, organic synthesis, fuel additives, ethanol gas, biodiesel fuel including algae biofuels, solid-state and industrial fermentation, green energy grants, ag-biotech, agricultural waste, alcohol fuels, alternative proteins and animal-free products, sustainable foods, beverage fermentation, biocatalysis, biodiesel conversion, biogas production, biomass power, carbon intensity, co2 utilization, combined heat & power, Fischer-Tropsch technology, food waste, hydrothermal carbonization, industrial enzymes, landfill management, microbial fermentation, organic synthesis, plastic pyrolysis, plastic recycling, plastic waste, pyrolysis oil, reactor design, renewable identification number, the Renewable Fuel Standard (rfs2), solid recovered fuels, torrefaction and torrefied biomass, waste to energy, and waste-to-hydrogen. This is a multidisciplinary group of green energy consultants that is a virtual “one-stop-shop” for any client need and handles projects of all types and sizes.
Look at our experts and the services we provide. Most of our experts are also available to advise and serve as expert witnesses in bioeconomy litigation matters. For larger projects, we specialize in putting together full-service, interdisciplinary teams with one point of contact. Call us at 1+ (501) 833-8511 or email us for more information.