About

Wood Refinery was founded in March, 2012, in NYC, based on the co-founders’ belief that “continuously fast hydrolysis of wood” process will be the technological key to economic utilization of abundant lignocellulosic biomass as viable feedstocks for production of ethanol, chemicals, sugar and plastics. Wood Refinery’s co-founders include a world renowned Professor of Chemical/Material/Agricultural Engineering and an experienced Inventor/Engineer.

Wood Refinery’s vision is to develop the world’s best industrial-scale technology platform to produce ethanol, chemicals and sugar from lignocellulosic biomass by continuously fast hydrolysis in a flow reactor with water at supercritical conditions.

Zhen Fang, co-founder of Wood Refinery, Professor in Bioenergy;
Inventor of Fast Hydrolysis Process (US patent: 8268126) ;

Editor-in-Chief, Springer Book Series – Biofuels and Biorefineries;

Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Technology Innovations in Renewable Energy;

Associate Editor, Biotechnology for Biofuels (IF 5.2);

Editorial Advisory Board Member, Biofpr (Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining) (IF 3.7)

Associate Editor,  The Journal of Supercritical Fluids (IF 3.0)

Editorial Board Member,  Energy and Policy Research (Taylor & Francis)

Editorial Advisory Board Member, Energy, Sustainability and Society (Springer)

Listed in “Most Cited Chinese Researchers” for 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 in energy (Elsevier-Scopus).

Leader and Founder of Biomass Group

College of Engineering, Nanjing Agricultural University

40 Dianjiangtai Road, 210031 Nanjing, Jiangsu, China

email: zhenfangATnjau.edu.cn

URL: http://biomass-group.njau.edu.cn/; http://woodrefinery.com/zhenfang/

Briefly stated, Our inventions comprise method, equipment and applications for fast complete dissolution and hydrolysis of lignocellulosic biomass continuously.  The unique features of our inventions are simple, complete, continuous and fast dissolution and hydrolysis of actuallignocellulosic biomass (wood or grass). The advantages of Our invention offer a simple, fast and low-cost way of applying it on a large commercial scale because of the unique features of the invention.

Professor Zhen Fang has 23 years experiences in bioenergy research at top universities and institutes around the world. In my previous work, Professor Fang found for the first time that cellulose could be completely dissolved in water at temperature above 320 oC and became a ‘cellulose solution’, which made it possible to build up a continuous flow reactor for the rapid hydrolysis of cellulose. However, the separating of pure cellulose from actual biomass (e.g., wood) is complicated and costly. It is difficult for the solubilization and hydrolysis of pure cellulose to be commercialized. Thus, we invented a ‘fast hydrolysis’ process of actual lignocellulosic biomass (wood) by adding 0.8 wt% Na2CO3, actual wood without pretreatment can be completely dissolved upon fast-heating (7~16°C/s) to form a ‘wood solution’ at 329-367 oC at short reaction times (0.7-2 s). The ‘wood solution’ can be rapidly (ca. 15 s) hydrolyzed to sugars/sugar oligomers under homogeneous conditions. The patent is the latest development in Professor Fang’s 23-year effort in the study of biomass hydrolysis process, aimed at a simple, fast and low-cost method for a novel biorefinery. The ‘fast hydrolysis’ process will be the technological key to economic utilization of abundant lignocellulosic biomass as viable feedstocks for the production of industrial sugar, ethanol and chemicals. Our pioneering work opens the door, for the first time, to the possibility of developing industrial-scale technology at competitive cost for producing biofuels and value-added products from lignocellulosic biomass based on the ‘fast hydrolysis’ process in a flow reactor.

We are seeking to sell or license the patent rights, or other forms of collaboration to commercialize it. If you are potentially interested in the U.S. patent #: 8268126. Please contact me anytime at Tel:646-543-5318, 86-871-5170024

NYC Office
Tel: 646-543-5318
Tel: 917-740-5318

CHINA Headquarters
地址:江苏南京浦口区点将台南京农业大学工学院生物能源组

邮编:210031

College of Engineering, Nanjing Agricultural University

40 Dianjiangtai Road, 210031 Nanjing, Jiangsu, China

Tel: 86-25-58606657; E-mail: 483709907@qq.com; zhenfangATnjau.edu.cn


Prof. Fang is a world-renowned expert in renewable energy and green technologies. He has made major contributions to the fields of hydrolysis of lignocellulosic biomass (wood and grass), biodiesel synthesis and liquid biofuel production, hydrothermal process and heterogeneous catalyst synthesis for biomass conversions. He also has trained many young scientists, engineers, and students. Besides research and education, he serves as editorial board members of major international energy journals. As Editor-in-Chief, Springer Book Series – Biofuels and Biorefineries (highly-downloaded books), he is leading the editorial team, including several world-leaders, to organize and assist authors to publish a series of biomass-related books that have made great impact on this important area.

 

  • Prof. Fang invented a ‘fast hydrolysis’ process for wood (or lignocellulosic biomass) by adding Na2CO3 in water. Wood can be completely dissolved upon fast-heating (7~16 °C/s) to form a ‘wood solution’ at 329-367 °C at short reaction times (0.7-2 s). The ‘wood solution’ like liquid petroleum can be rapidly (ca. 15 s) hydrolyzed to sugars/sugar oligomers in a liquid phase for subsequent biofuel production (e.g., ethanol) in a flow system. The invention opens the door, for the first time, to the possibility of developing industrial-scale technology at competitive cost for producing biofuels from lignocelluloses based on the ‘fast hydrolysis’ process continuously.
  • Prof. Fang developed a green process for the production of biodiesel using magnetic solid catalysts instead of conventional liquid catalysts that are unrecoverable. The solid catalysts can be easily separated magnetically for recycles and successfully used for Jatropha biodiesel production. Microwave and ultrasound techniques were also introduced to promote biodiesel production. His group built up a pilot flow reactor for continuous production of biodiesel with the solid catalysts (3-5 t/day). He won the Governor’s Friendship Award in 2012 in Yunnan for the contribution to the Jatropha biodiesel industry and bioenergy.
  • Prof. Fang also synthesized nanocatalysts to catalyze the high yield production of liquid biofuels (e.g., methyl levulinate, γ-valerolactone, 2,5-dimethylfuran, methylfuran) at low temperatures directly from carbohydrates (e.g., sugars, cellulose). It is found that 95% 2,5-dimethylfuran yield was obtained from fructose at 110 °C, 99% 2,5-dimethylfuran yield from 5-hydroxymethylfurfural and 97% 2-methylfuran yield from furfural were even achieved at room temperature (25 °C) when polymethylhydrosiloxane was used as H-donor. Therefore, liquid biofuels (e.g., 2,5-dimethylfuran) can be produced from sugars via the hydrolysis of lignocellulosic biomass that is easy for commercial applications in simple and inexpensive reactors.
  • Prof. Fang has more than 280 scientific papers, reports, books and patents etc., including 112 papers published in top journals (most in Q1 group) in the areas of energy. He was listed in the “Most Cited Researchers” in China for 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 in energy by Elsevier-Scopus (> 3.3k cites, H index 29). He edited/authored 16 books (15 in English with about 0.3 million chapter downloads, 10 by Springer), wrote 14 book chapters, 30 papers in refereed conference proceedings and 7 reports, gave 44 keynote and invited lectures, and had 21 Chinese and 3 US patents authorized. He obtained net funds of CAD$ 5.6 million in the last 10 years.
  • Prof. Fang has also trained many young researchers and students in the field (6 young faculty members, 3 postdoc, 18 PhD, 18 Master and 16 undergraduate students in the last 10 years) and won 2017 CAS Excellent Supervisor Award. Most of his graduate students have won the President Award of CAS (Chinese Academy of Sciences) or National Scholarships of China. He developed a new course “Biomass and Bioenergy” for undergraduate students and edited/authored 15 new English books as reference materials for students.

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