The IBUS Process – Lignocellulosic Bioethanol Close to a Commercial Reality



Integrated Biomass Utilization System (IBUS) is a new process for converting lignocellulosic waste biomass to bioethanol. Inbicon A/S has developed the IBUS process in a large-scale process development unit. This plant features new continuous and energy-efficient technology developed for pretreatment and liquefaction of lignocellulosic biomass and has now been operated and optimized for four years with promising results. In the IBUS process, biomass is converted using steam and enzymes only. The process is energy efficient due to very high dry matter content in all process steps and by integration with a power plant. Cellulose is converted to bioethanol and lignin to a high-quality solid biofuel which supply the process energy as well as a surplus of heat and power. Hemicellulose is used as feed molasses but in the future it could also be used for additional ethanol production or other valuable products. Feasibility studies of the IBUS process show that the production price for lignocellulosic bioethanol is close to the world market price for fuel ethanol. There is still room for optimization – and lignocellulosic bioethanol is most likely a commercial alternative to fossil transport fuels before 2012.