Joule and Audi partner on sustainable liquid transportation fuels
17 September 2012
Joule and Audi AG have entered a strategic partnership to accelerate the commercialization of Joule’s sustainable transportation fuels, Sunflow-E and Sunflow-D, for the global ethanol and diesel markets respectively.
Audi selected Joule as its exclusive partner in the development of biologically-derived diesel and ethanol—the result of extensive evaluations of Joule’s proprietary technology and commercial plans. The relationship will help spur production of Joule Sunflow-E and Sunflow-D, including fuel testing and validation, lifecycle analysis and support for Joule’s SunSprings demonstration facility located in Hobbs, New Mexico, which began operations this month. (Earlier post.)
Derived directly from sunlight and waste CO2, these fuels align with Audi’s vision for carbon-neutral mobility, and could achieve the stable costs and scale required for global adoption without depleting vital arable land or crops.
Joule will also benefit from Audi’s expertise and global reach as well as from the strength of its brand. In turn, Audi will have a first mover advantage as Joule’s exclusive partner in the automotive sector.
For Audi, the agreement fits with its stated objective to become a carbon-neutral personal transportation provider. In addition to this pioneering initiative with Joule, the Audi carbon-neutral mobility strategy is exploring a range of innovations offering the potential to reduce the impact of premium mobility, including developments in manufacturing and recycling vehicles at the end of their lifecycle.
We are very pleased to announce this strategic partnership with Joule, which offers genuine potential for CO2-neutral mobility. Joule and the fuels it is developing can ultimately enable sustainable mobility, as its highly-efficient process consumes waste CO2 emissions, avoids depletion of natural resources and doesn’t require agricultural feedstock or arable land. It is the ideal sustainable fuel platform for Audi to support.—Reiner Mangold, head of environmental product at Audi AG
Joule’s Helioculture platform uses microorganisms directly and continuously to convert sunlight and waste CO2 into infrastructure-ready fuels, including ethanol and hydrocarbons that serve as the essential chemical building blocks for diesel. The company’s novel SolarConverter system manages the process with productivities that are expected to be up to 100X greater than those of biomass-dependent methods, and can scale in modular increments to meet large-scale output demands, the company says.
Joule has pilot-tested its platform for more than two years, initiated operations at its SunSprings demonstration plant, and launched a global subsidiary, Joule Fuels, to deploy fuel production sites worldwide. At full-scale commercialization, Joule expects to deliver renewable fuels and chemicals in unrivaled volumes, at highly competitive costs, with a fraction of the land required for biofuels derived from agricultural feedstocks or algal biomass.
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