100% of the guayule plant is utilized for a truly sustainable bioprocess. The leftover dried, residual plant fiber is crushed and used as a feedstock for renewable energy. Applications include electrical power generation, liquid biofuels, cellulosic ethanol, bio-oils, and biodiesels.
As a source for renewable energy, Yulex’s guayule biomass – with its high percentage of green hydrocarbons – can produce electricity and liquid fuels.
Guayule has the highest BTU value of any industrial crop (scalable) at over 9,000BTUs per pound of dry biomass, compared to other popular feedstocks such as sugarcane bagasse and Miscanthus at just over 8,100 per dry pound, and Switchgrass at just over 7,000. Accordingly, the efficiency gains associated with producing electricity and industrial heating/cooling would make it the preferred solid fuel. Used in facilities such as cogeneration plants (Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plants), guayule premium solid fuel offers not only cost offsets and sources of additional revenue but also could help utilities meet mandates for renewable power by replacing fossil fuels.
Guayule biomass also offers significant performance advantages when used in green materials for the composites industry for building and construction, especially due to its natural anti-termitic properties. It also serves as an excellent base for nutrient-rich biofertilizers.
Along with Yulex’s biorubber, guayule biomass contributes to creatinga truly sustainable biorefinery with the smallest carbon footprint.
Nearly half of the electricity generated in the U.S. comes from coal, while biomass accounts for just over 1 percent.
Typically, biomass fuel – primarily from wood – is burned in a boiler to produce high-pressure steam. This steam is introduced into a steam turbine, where it flows over a series of aerodynamic turbine blades, causing the turbine to rotate. The turbine is connected to an electric generator so as the steam flow causes the turbine to rotate, the electric generator turns and electricity is produced.
With gasification technology, the gasification process converts any carbon-containing material into a synthesis gas—or syngas. Syngas is composed primarily of carbon monoxide and hydrogen and has many applications in the petrochemical and refining industries. It can be used as fuel to generate electricity, or even as a basic chemical building block for liquid biofuels.
Conversion technologies that densify biomass allow it to be used in conjunction with coal-fired electrical generation facilities or just as a feedstock alone. Plants where biomass is used either as a sole feedstock or with other wastes, such as construction materials or forestry residues are typically 15 megawatt to 50 megawatt per annum electrical power generating facilities, enough to power 7,500 to 25,000 homes.
Yulex guayule premium biomass already powers two power generation facilities in Arizona.
Through gasification, biomass fuel can be converted to a syngas and used to generate electricity.
The combination of guayule and a proprietary conversion process are anticipated to result in one of the world’s most productive renewable fuels systems on per acre of land and per megaliter of water-consumed basis. This conversion technology has been developed in concert with DARPA initiatives aimed at securing renewable domestic jet fuel for national security purposes. The biomass is converted into acids, then salts, and then into usable chemicals or fuels, including, but not limited to, jet fuel. The fuel produced is deemed ‘drop-in’ since it closely matches the specifications required for conventional fuels produced from crude oil.
Biomass is currently the only clean, renewable energy source that can help to significantly diversify transportation fuels in the U.S.
Given recent advancements in the field of biofuel technology, Guayule is an attractive option for the potential production of biodiesel and ethanol. Through extensive testing, Yulex has made significant progress towards creating such products. Consequently, strategic partnership opportunities abound and are currently under consideration.
An acre of guayule can produce an estimated 1,350 to 1,500 gallons of high-density liquid biofuel.