Friday, July 31, 2009

Pyrolysis Plays

A number of enterprising companies have taken a new look at an old technology - pyrolysis - to produce environmentally friendly products and energy. Pyrolysis, the decomposition of organic materials through chemical processes rather than combustion, portends reduced emissions of harmful gases such as carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxides.

The idea of using what would otherwise be waste headed for the landfill as a feedstock in a process that emits less CO2 and NOX is compelling. Incineration has come under fire as an even worse polluter than landfills. At the other end of the combustion spectrum, oxygen-free pyrolysis shows promise for wringing value from waste without increasing toxic emissions.

Mantria Industries, LLC. a privately held operation based in Pennsylvania is one of several operations trying to build a commercially viable operation using the pyrolysis process. Through its EternaGreen subsidiary, the Company proposes to put waste materials through pyrolysis to produce biochar or biofuel. Mantria has made considerable progress but is still an early stage operation with a limited history. It is also private and therefore out of reach for most investors.

Honeywell’s Envergent Technologies (HON: NYSE) is working on pyrolysis processes to convert biomass to oil for heat, power and transportation fuels. The company is using wood chips or straw as feedstock. Envergent recently announced that its pyrolysis oil has met the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards for biofuels used in industrial burners. The standard sets hurdles for flash point, pour point, viscosity and gross heat of combustion among other vital factors.

Petrochemical supplier LyondellBasell (LYO: NYSE) based in the Netherlands is also tapping into pryolysis processes to produce what it calls Pyrolysis Fuel Oil, a product used in heating and marine fuel applications.

Pryolysis generated fuels are not likely the silver bullet so many are seeking. However, we believe that on the appropriate scale pyrolysis generated biofuels could be a viable supplement to fossil fuels in industrial and commercial applications. There have been early successes with applications in industrial and power plant boilers.

Neither the author of the Small Cap Strategist web log, Crystal Equity Research nor its affiliates have a beneficial interest in the companies mentioned herein.


Vincent2012 said...

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IanBanol2012 said...

Yet, despite its huge range of benefits and technical feasibility, nobody I talked to had even heard of biochar, and hardly anyone was actually practicing it.

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