Raven was formed to address the unprecedented global demand for clean and renewable energy. The principle focus is production and distribution of high quality fuel-grade cellulosic ethanol. Raven's management has strong financial and operational backgrounds, long-standing relationships specific to the renewable energy sector and are transaction-driven executives capable of structuring and undertaking institutional financings. Raven represents a significant opportunity for investors.
The company is positioned for growth in the more evolved and, potentially, more profitable second wave of biofuel companies (cellulosic), or what experts are calling “Biofuels 2.0”.
Raven's mission is to be a world leader in creating environmentally responsible energy and superior returns for its shareholders.
The company intends to achieve this through the licensing and acquisition of leading edge technologies that transform waste into energy.
Raven Biofuels Technology
Raven and its technology partners have been leading the charge to develop technologies and processes that will transform cellulosic waste biomass into renewable fuels. To date we have achieved the following milestones:
- $24,000,000 invested in R&D
- 9 US patents in three principle areas; process patents for separating sugars to make ethanol and high value chemicals, fuel additives and diesel fuel mixtures.
- 21 International Patents Granted including Europe, Japan, China, India.
- Extensive independent testing of technology since 1997 with conclusively positive results.
The technology that Raven has chosen to commercialize is based on Acid Hydrolysis and further proprietary technology which can produce high value specialty chemicals from agriculture waste products, hence reducing the production cost of ethanol below $1.00 per gallon.
The technology is based on a two stage dilutive acid hydrolysis process. It essentially works by breaking down bio matter, such as wood chips, corn stover, and sugarcane bagasse into primary sugar streams that are then converted into a suite of chemicals including ethanol. Raven management believes this technology is superior to other cellulosic production methods in use today.
While many companies have attempted to produce ethanol from cellulosic (non-corn) waste feedstocks during the past 10 years, Raven has a proven technology that can successfully produce fuel-grade ethanol in commercial quantities. The process is known as “two-stage dilute acid hydrolysis.” Raven’s proprietary process works by breaking down biomass (agricultural waste products such as wood chips, corn stover and sugarcane bagasse) into three primary streams that are then converted into a suite of derivative chemicals, ethanol, and energy producing lignin. The chart below illustrates this process:
How it Works
STAGE ONE: After cellulosic feedstock is ground into a fine stream mass, it passes into a first stage acid hydrolysis process where it is treated with a weak sulfuric acid solution to separate residual xylose (C5 sugars). Since xylose does not easily ferment into ethanol, Raven’s patented process converts the xylose into a derivative chemical product (furfural) which can be sold into the petrochemical and biotechnology industries at significantly higher prices than ethanol.
STAGE TWO: The remaining feedstock is again treated with a sulfuric acid solution. The second stage acid separates glucose (C6 sugars) from the basic feedstock stream. The glucose is then subjected to a standard fermentation process which ultimately produces ethanol.
The final step in the process involves the utilization of lignin. Lignin is considered the “backbone” of all cellulosic waste material and represents only 15% by weight of the original feedstock, but contains about 80% of the heat energy content. Raven’s process takes advantage of this energy source by using high efficiency boilers to generate energy for the plant saving significant energy costs.
Furfural is an industrial chemical derived from a variety of agricultural byproducts like sugar cane bagasse and corn cobs using our process. Its chemical formula is C5 H4 O2. In its pure state, it is a colorless oily liquid with the odor of almonds, but upon exposure to air it quickly becomes yellow. Many plant materials contain the hemicellulose, a polymer of sugars containing five carbon atoms each. When heated with sulfuric acid, hemicellulose undergoes hydrolysis to yield these sugars, principally xylose.
Furfural is used as a solvent in petrochemical refining and is used to create various lubricants. Furfural, as well as its derivative furfuryl alcohol, can be used either by themselves or together with other chemicals to make solid resins. Such resins are used in making fiberglass, some aircraft components, and automotive brakes. There is a worldwide market for this chemical in many industries.
Raven will build, own and operate all of its own plants and will seek equity partners worldwide. Our technology has been tested for commercial operation and allows us to convert cellulosic waste streams (like wood and agriculture waste) into high value ethanol and derivative furfural chemicals.
Raven expects to build several bio-refineries over the next five years. Each biorefinery is being designed to produce an initial capacity of more than 10 million gallons per year (10 MPGY) of ethanol and high value furfural chemicals. We intend to significantly increase the initial capacity of our early biorefineries in future expansions. Our planned project is Mississippi would use local wood waste as feedstock. Our second project to be located in British Columbia, Canada is proposed as utilizing pine beetle infested wood for feedstock. This feedstock is readily available and unusable for other applications.
All of the company's production will come from cellulosic waste streams rather than expensive corn or sugar. Making renewable fuels from cellulosic materials can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emissions by over 80%.
USA - Mississippi
Raven has signed a memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) with Price Biostock to develop a cellulosic ethanol biorefinery located in the Gulf Opportunity Zone of Mississippi. This 35 acre site offers regional benefits such as favorably lower feedstock and labor costs combined with strong State incentives such as The Gulf Opportunity Zone (GO Zone).
The feedstock to be utilized for the biorefinery will be locally sourced wood and wood waste. In association with the GO Zone initiatives the project plan also includes development groundwork for a cogeneration facility to be undertaken in cooperation with local utilities.
The Gulf Opportunity Zone Act was passed into law on Dec 21, 2005 as an initiative to rebuilding the region devastated by multiple hurricanes (Wilma, Rita and Katrina) in 2005.
The cellulosic biorefinery capacity of this facility will be significant. Planned capacity is 33 million gallons per year (MGPY), based on a projected 21 MGPY of fuel grade ethanol and 12 MGPY of furfural products, plus lignin cake.
Raven has prepared initial implementation to fast track planning to start of engineering and groundbreaking.
Canada - British Columbia
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been signed with the Kamloops Indian Band (KIB) in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada. The purpose of the MOU is to work together to develop, build and operate a cellulosic biorefinery and cogeneration facility in conjunction with the KIB and our alliance partner Price Biostock.
The site for the biorefinery and cogeneration facility is ideally situated for industrial use near the City of Kamloops. KIB will provide access to feedstock resources secured via a multi-year Provincial forestry agreement in which KIB has rights to 124,000 cubic meters of beetle-killed wood within the Kamloops Timber Supply Area. The forestry agreement augments a forest and range agreement signed by the band in 2005, which granted $2.5 million in shared revenues and 272,000 cubic meters of timber over five years.
The biorefinery is planned to have an annual capacity of 7 million gallons (MGY) of fuel grade ethanol and 4 million gallons of furfural, furfural alcohol, related eco-friendly derivative chemicals and lignin cake. Due to the size of the proposed location, future capacity could be increased to double or triple the plant’s production. We plan to move quickly and develop a course of action for the lease of a 30-acre site with direct rail and road access for the construction of an environmentally safe facility.
John Sams - President & Chief Operating Officer
John Sams is a 30-year veteran in the energy, power, environmental and process sectors with specific experience in renewable fuels. Mr. Sams has over 20 years experience in senior management. He has held positions as President/CEO of a public company, a private Swedish company, President/COO of a startup clean energy company and a private process heating company. Three of these companies were turnarounds and one a startup. John has succeeded as a "hands on" manager with many large projects including own/operate facilities. He has B.S. in engineering and an MBA.
Joseph J. Titus, VP of Operations
Mr. Titus brings over 25 years operations and project execution management experience in the energy, environmental and process sectors. Joseph has a Bachelor of Science, Specializing in Paper Science & Engineering from the University of Wisconsin and an MBA from Loyola College of Maryland, Sellinger School of Business & Management. He has held multiple positions as Business Unit Manager and Director of Operations at Environmental Elements Corporation, an environmental process company and Alfa Laval Celleco, a Swedish pulp and paper process equipment company; Director of Operations for LPP Combustion LLC, a startup clean energy company and GTS Energy Inc., a process heating company with one of its key markets in the power sector. Mr. Titus will direct the engineering, construction and commercial operations of Raven’s proposed Washington State and British Columbia biorefineries.
Irshad Ahmed PhD – Technology Inventor
Mr. Ahmed brings more than twenty years of technological, scientific and executive management experience to Raven and will focus his energies on developing Raven’s global technology platform. He was formerly in charge of alterative energy consulting for Booze Allen and advised the United States Governments National renewable Energy laboratories. He has a PhD in Biochemical Engineering from Cornell University, an MS in Biological and Environmental Engineering from MIT and MA from the University of New Hampshire (joint degree program in biotechnology) and a BS with Distinction in Chemical engineering from Osmania University, Hyderabad, India. Mr. Ahmed has also completed advanced executive management programs at Harvard Business School and MIT respectively.