Master Key: Unlocking Furfural's Potential

24 October 2013
Published in DalinYebo News
Master Key: Unlocking Furfural's PotentialMaster Key: Unlocking Furfural's Potential
A complimentary alternative to the current gatekeepers

We have come a long way (13 years), since our mentor, Dr. K.J. Zeitsch, in the epilogue to his book stated:

.. the furfural industry has been traditionally secretive to the point of appearing shrouded in clouds of mystery .. clandestineness .. totally erroneous information.
The surreptitious atmosphere has not been conducive to progress as evidenced by the fact that the very first industrial furfural process, launched 90 years ago with old equipment of a defunct cereal plant, is still used today although its yield is poor, without necessarily being so. ..

From the outside, perhaps not much has changed?

The Main Players May Still Know Each Other Reasonably Well, but ..

The furfural market is still a 'business to business' (B2B) trade where all the main players know each other reasonably well. However, it has seen growth and as a result we also see more effort in the development of furfural-downstream application[1], which will continue to grow the demand for furfural. These trends are further stimulated by the demand for "green chemicals & plastics".

Because these 'gatekeepers' have succeeded in keeping the market to themselves, i.e. very little information is made public, outsiders, especially large-scale agro-industries (e.g. Brazilian sugar industry or US cellulosic developers), struggle to understand or just don't see the attraction of the furfural business.

The markets are growing and there is room for additional production, especially outside China: There is a current market gap of ±30,000 tpa.

There Is An Absence Of (New) Technology?

Other than the work DalinYebo has undertaken over the last 12-years, no new technology has been commercialised. On the one-hand we believe that this has mainly got to do with the relatively small market size, which is not attractive for technology vendors. On the other-hand, we know that this 1920s process is fundamentally still the best technology to produce furfural. Our improvements make it more energy efficient, produce less waste water, especially if integrated with e.g. a sugar mill. Furfural production is "Not Rocket Science"!

Lack Of Understanding The Chinese Furfural Business

There is in particular a lack of or a stereotype understanding of the Chinese furfural business[3]. In our opinion, the cost of furfural production in China has not only exceeded the manufacturing costs that caused the loss of ±100,000 tpa of furfural production in the USA and (former) USSR in the 1990s. Now the Chinese furfural producers are actually facing similar challenges, as the industry did in the 1990s e.g. in the USA. In addition, weather conditions or alternate uses of their feedstock cause huge swings in the furfural prices, which jeopardise the use of furfural as a chemical building block of first choice for a variety of applications and in many different industries.

The Master Key

DalinYebo has developed the 'master key' in that we are not only able to assist with technology[4], but in that we have a thorough understanding of the furfural business and, in addition, maintain good relationships with all the major furfural 'players'. Our independence seems to attract regular interest from corporations that wish to discuss and/or seek to purchase (large) volume of furfural in their quest to roll-out bio-renewable chemicals or applications based on furfural. Therefore, besides the immediate market gap, there is a growing demand that needs new (preferably large scale) furfural production. DalinYebo offers our assistance and services to organisations who own biomass feedstock or investors who wish to join this renaissance of manufacturing a bio-renewable chemical that was first commercially produced in 1922. It's a sleeping beauty that needs to be woken-up.

References:

[1] See "Sustainable Strategies" download as well as "Map to Furfural and its many By-products" .  

[2] Top Value Added Chemicals from Biomass (p.12 ) .

[3] For our clients, we provided more insights on "How The Furfural Pricing Works In China" .

[4] Beyond Technology: Viable and practical solution for a Furfural Business .

  • Furfural and its many Byproducts
  • Technology
  • Furfural Markets
  • Furfural

Source: http://www.dalinyebo.com/item/716-master-key-unlocking-furfural-s-potential

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