In 2009, after some preliminary contacts in previous years, I was contracted by Robert P. Jansen, head of engineering at HCL CleanTech, an Israeli company about to become a wholly owned subsidiary of HCL CleanTech Inc., a globally resourced biofuels company. Mr. Jansen had read online the research I did in college into a little-known method by which the Germans in World War II had produced synthetic fuel from wood — a process for which his internationally renowned HCL CleanTech colleagues had improved the recovery of the acid, which had limited the cost-effectiveness of the entire process. What they lacked, however, were the day-to-day operational data for the Germans’ “cellulose” plants, which had been lost to history; it was my job to dig out information about the technology from some 60 years ago. After several months of intense research — scouring scientific, military, and other archives worldwide online and receiving invaluable assistance from government librarians and others — I ultimately found the detailed data Mr. Jansen and his colleagues required, just as they were setting up their first pilot plant. I have great confidence in HCL CleanTech’s new take on an old technology, to help our nation and others achieve energy independence, using homegrown biomass and contributing no net addition to the Greenhouse Effect!
- My College Research on “Wood Saccharification”
- From Robert P. Jansen, HCL Clean Tech
- From HCLCleanTech.com
- HCL Clean Tech Key Personnel
- Press Releases
“Doug Drenkow did some literature research for HCL Clean Tech, a recently incorporated U.S. company funded by Burrill and Company and Khosla Ventures. HCL Clean Tech has developed a proprietary HCl recovery process which has been integrated with the Bergius Process to produce low-cost fermentable sugars from biomass.
“The files uncovered by Doug Drenkow from the WWII period provided HCL Clean Tech with invaluable operating data on the Bergius hydrolysis process for converting wood to fermentable sugars.”
“Hydrochloric acid–driven hydrolysis provides the most powerful and proven technology for converting all cellulosic wastes — wood, solids from city sewage plants, bagasse, grasses, etc. — to sugars that can be fermented to ethanol and other bio-fuels.
“HCL CleanTech’s use of concentrated hydrochloric acid (HCl) efficiently hydrolyzes all cellulosic materials and so allows a large variety of feedstocks to be used with minimal configuration; it requires very little water and is completely self-sufficient energetically. This new technology can also ‘clean’ and improve the recovery of the acid in other industrial streams containing dilute HCl.”
- Professor Avraham Baniel: 69 years in Industrial Chemical Research and its implementation in operating plants. Professor Baniel has 20 years experience as R&D and Managing director of Israel Mining Institute for R&D; managing director of the Center for Industrial research at the Haifa Technion; Consultant to major Companies in USA and Europe and Professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. From 1986 to present Prof. Baniel (emeritus) is active as a consultant to major chemical corporations and high-tech startups in the USA and Europe. Prof. Baniel holds over 60 patents and has works published in 31 academic publications.
- Professor Aharon (Ari) M. Eyal: Professor of Applied Chemistry, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel. Prof. Eyal has 80 scientific publications, more than 110 independent patents/applications and about 140 unpublished industrial invention disclosures. Rights to most of the inventions are acquired by industrial firms. Prof. Eyal’s activities past and present include among others, services as Senior Scientific Advisor, in R&D management, consulting and industrial collaborations with about 50 firms in the USA, Europe, Scandinavia and Israel — including large and well established firms, startups and venture funds.
- Eran Baniel — CEO: Mr. Baniel has managed a number of successful startups among those: U.L.A. (Urban Lighting Architecture), LifeWave (medical device), and Desk-Trainer (Web 2.0 interactive exercise programs).
- Burrill & Company and Khosla Ventures Invest in HCL CleanTech’s Technology for Converting Cellulosic Materials into Low Cost Fermentable Sugars — Enabling Biofuels and other Bioproducts
- Innovative HCL Recovery Process Revolutionizes the 1930 Bergius Technology for Converting Cellulosic Materials into Fermentable Sugars — Enabling Ethanol for Less Than US$1/Gallon
“The files uncovered by Doug Drenkow from the WWII period provided HCL CleanTech with invaluable operating data.”
— Robert P. Jansen, Head of Engineering, HCL CleanTech Inc.