to   Biofuels list                    from    Lewis L Smith

The sender is a semiretired energy economist operating out of Puerto Rico 
since 1961, with extensive biomass-energy experience.

For a long time, some of us with cane experience have been looking for an 
economic   way to separate the cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin in bagasse 
fiber, because if you can do that, then there are a whole lot long-proven 
commercial processes which can turn these components into a whole slew of 
commercially valuable products. In fact, I think I first heard about this idea 
in a 
report by Lipinsky for Battelle Labs, probably dated in the late 1960's

At last count about 1996, I had run across 12 or 15, some of which actually 
worked, although they wouldn't make you any money !   Then head of our 
consulting corsortium accidentally walked into a buglary and was killed,  the 
Administration took away our latest project site and our major client tried 
stiff arm the survivors on billing matters. So I gave up on biomass in Puerto 
Rico. It reminds me a little of the old Appalachian poem about a chain of 
frustrations, " I came to a river and I couldn't get across, so I paid five 
for an old grey horse ..."

Then in 2005, we heard some encouraging words   from NREL about new work in 
enzyme decomposition, which NREL said was " the way to go " since there were 
prospects of a breakthough within a few years. 

However, now it appears from Dr. Benemann's statement that some of these same 
enzymes are going to be used to make ethanol from switch grass, only that 
isn't going to make any money either, at least not for the foreseeable future.

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