In an interview
with Birmingham News, Gulf Energy board member and lawyer Drayton Pruitt said the company had reviewed many options before it decided it would try out the wood fueled gasification ethanol option. The technology had been sophisticated by an unnamed inventor in Mississippi who had used his own money and grants for tests. Pruitt said
that the technology was the highest yielding and the cleanest of methods that he and his colleagues at Gulf Energy had seen in the recent past.
Pruitt and his colleagues are planning to be fully operative in the Fall of 2009. By then, as many as 160 people are likely to be in their employ. In addition to ethanol, Gulf Energy is also going to pioneer biosynthetic diesel and perhaps biosynthetic gasoline. One ton of wood waste makes for around 215 gallons of fuel and it´s estimated that Alabama provides up to 15 million tons of wood waste a year.
Commercial exploitation of gasified biomass is rather new in the US. According to Birmingham News only a handful of other companies are exploring similar non-food materials. The Californian company BlueFire Ethanol recently got the green light to begin building an ethanol plant fueled by garden, wood waste and unrecyclable paper to the tune of 175 tons a day. The facility is going to be conveniently located right next to the county landfill in Lancaster, and will initially produce 3.1 million gallons of ethanol. First fuels to go on sale will hit the market next year in June, a BlueFire spokesman said.