TMO Renewables Ltd has completed the construction of the UK’s first cellulosic ethanol Process Demonstration Unit (‘PDU’)

7 February 2023

TMO Renewables Ltd has completed the construction of the UK’s first cellulosic ethanol Process Demonstration Unit (‘PDU’), together with a scale through (a complete miniature version of the PDU) in the first half of 2008 on time and on budget. The completion of the PDU is an important development for the business as it enables TMO to integrate all the necessary steps in a continuous ethanol production process.

In the second half of 2008, the scale through and the PDU have been running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week processing a number of different cellulosic feed stocks on an industrial scale in order to refine the TMO process. The PDU is staffed by a dedicated team of 12 full time engineers and incorporates 5km of pipe work, 50km of cable, 2000 valves and an automated process control system which monitors some 5000 separate parameters in the plant.

The completion of the PDU and the subsequent ability to process feed stocks marks a significant milestone in TMO’s objective of producing a cleaner, more sustainable fuel source.

United States (US) Market Developments

There have been a number of legislative developments in the US in recent years as America has adopted an aggressive approach to investing in cellulosic ethanol.

In 2007, TMO’s market opportunities were enhanced with the passing of The Energy Independence and Security Act which requires 36 billion gallons of ethanol to be produced by 2022; 21 billion gallons of which has to be derived from new technologies such as TMO’s.

In addition, the Farm Bill was passed in 2008 by a majority in Congress incorporating significant economic incentives to support the development of second generation technology. The Bill committed to a mandatory loan guarantee scheme under section 9003 bio refinery program for advanced bio fuel projects. Under this scheme there is a provision for a loan guarantee of up to 80% of the project cost, which should ensure that these businesses are able to access the necessary funds to invest in new second generation projects. This loan guarantee funding has already been accessed in early 2009 illustrating the government commitment to investing in cellulosic ethanol. Additionally, the Bill allows the Secretary of Agriculture to make grants of up to 30% of the cost of construction and development of biorefineries.

The Farm Bill also provides a significant fiscal incentive with a tradable tax credit of $1.01 per gallon of cellulosic ethanol produced. TMO’s future customers should be able to benefit substantially from these economic incentives and they significantly strengthen TMO’s opportunities in the US market.

The inauguration of Barack Obama has continued to build on the efforts of the previous administration and has served to strengthen the US’s resolve "to place America at the forefront of efforts to aggressively address energy independence and global climate change".1 Indeed in Obama’s Inaugural Address, he stated that America "will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories" and that America can no longer "consume the world’s resources without regard to effect".2 This message was reinforced by the Energy Secretary and Nobel Laureate Steven Chu when he said that America "must make a greater, more committed push towards energy independence" with an "increased commitment to research and development of new energy technologies".3

TMO views these recent developments in the United States as adding to the significant opportunities our technology can deliver.


1 Governor Tom Vilsack, Senate Committee On Agriculture, Nutrition, And Forestry. January 14, 2009.
2 Barack Obama, Inaugural Address. January 20, 2009.
3 Steven Chu, Secretary of Energy –Designate before the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, U.S. Senate, January 13. 2009.