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Blue Sun Energy, ARA Inc. and Chevron Lummus Global achieve production milestone for renewable drop-in fuels

28 March 2014

Blue Sun Energy, ARA Inc. and Chevron Lummus Global (CLG) achieved a key development milestone with their 100 barrel/per day (4,200 gallon/per day) demonstration-scale Biofuels ISOCONVERSION (BIC) facility in St. Joseph, Missouri. (Earlier post.) Less than a year after beginning engineering to scale the technology, the team has completed plant commissioning and has begun 24/7 system operation.

This is a key milestone toward commercial scale production, with initial results showing comparable system performance in the scale-up from our 4 barrel/day pilot system in Panama City, Florida to the 100 BBL/day demonstration system in St. Joseph.

— Rob Sues, CEO of ARA

The BIC process processes renewable feedstocks such as plant oils, tallow, and waste vegetable oil into 100% drop-in diesel and jet fuels, which meet petroleum specs without blending, as well as naphtha that can be used as a gasoline blend stock.

The team will continue to test the system with various feedstocks, including Resonance, an industrial oil feedstock from Agrisoma Biosciences as well as fatty acid distillate, distillers grain corn oil, and tallow to ensure reliable and cost effective operation. The demonstration system will be operated in campaigns to produce tens of thousands of gallons of jet fuel and diesel for certification testing, endurance testing, and test flights through the end of this year.

The BIC Process combines:

  • ARA’s Catalytic Hydrothermolysis (CH) process for the conversion of plant oils into a high quality crude oil intermediate. The technology is proven in mature pilot systems. A US patent was granted to ARA in 2010 on the CH process.

  • CLG’s ISOCONVERSION Catalysts efficiently upgrade the crude oil intermediate produced by the CH reactor into on-specification, finished fuels. The final products are all fungible and nearly identical to petroleum-derived fuels. ReadiJet and ReadiDiesel can be tailored to meet all commercial and military jet fuel specifications.

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