[Due to the increasing size of the archives, each topic page now contains only the prior 365 days of content. Access to older stories is now solely through the Monthly Archive pages or the site search function.]
Joule expands solar CO2 conversion platform to produce renewable gasoline and jet hydrocarbons
April 15, 2013
Joule, the developer of a direct, single-step, continuous process for the production of solar hydrocarbon fuels (earlier post), has extended its solar CO2 conversion platform to produce renewable gasoline- and jet fuel-range hydrocarbons.
Joule has engineered photosynthetic biocatalysts that convert waste CO2 into hydrocarbons through a patented, continuous process. Joule has been successfully scaling its process for making ethanol (Sunflow-E) while also developing long-chain hydrocarbons for diesel (Sunflow-D). With this latest development, Joule can now also directly produce medium-chain hydrocarbons which are substantial components of gasoline (Sunflow-G) and jet fuel (Sunflow-J).
Task 39 report finds significant advances in advanced biofuels technologies; hydrotreating accounting for about 2.4% of global biofuels production
April 06, 2013
|Capacities of the demonstration and commercial facilities sorted by technology. Source: “Status of Advanced Biofuels Demonstration Facilities in 2012”. Click to enlarge.|
Advanced biofuels technologies have developed significantly over the past several years, according to a status report on demonstration facilities prepared for IEA Bioenergy Task 39—a group of international experts working on commercializing sustainable biofuels used for transportation that is part of the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) implementation agreement for bioenergy, IEA Bioenergy.
Hydrotreatment—as exemplified by Neste Oil’s NExBTL—has been commercialized and currently accounts for approximately 2.4% of biofuels production worldwide (2,190,000 t/y), according to the report. Fermentation of lignocellulosic raw material to ethanol has also seen a strong development and several large scale facilities are just coming online in Europe and North America. The production capacity for biofuels from lignocellulosic feedstock has tripled since 2010 and currently accounts for some 140,000 tons per year.
Navigant forecasts global 6% CAGR for biofuels to 2023
March 29, 2013
|Total Biofuels production by fuel type, world markets: 2013-2023. Source: Navigant. Click to enlarge.|
Navigant Research forecasts global biofuels production will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6% between 2013 and 2023, despite slower than expected development of advanced biofuels pathways (such as cellulosic biofuels); an expected expansion in unconventional oil production in key markets such as the United States; and a decline in global investment for biofuels in recent years.
In contrast, Navigant expects the CAGR for fossil-based gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel to be 3.1% over the forecast period. The research firm projects that total biofuels production will reach 62 billion gallons by 2023 or 5.9% of global transportation fuel production from fossil sources.
Primus Green Energy to support gas-to-liquids research at Princeton University; comparing STG+ to other GTL platforms
March 28, 2013
|Schematic diagram of the Primus STG+ process. Click to enlarge.|
Primus Green Energy Inc., developer of a proprietary process to produce gasoline and other fuels from biomass and/or natural gas (earlier post), will provide financial support to engineers at Princeton University for general research on synthetic fuels, which will include assessments of various gas-to-liquids (GTL) technologies—including Primus’ own STG+—for sustainability and economic viability.
STG+ technology converts syngas into drop-in high-octane gasoline and jet fuel with a conversion efficiency of ~35% by mass of syngas into liquid transportation fuels (the highest documented conversion efficiency in the industry) or greater than 70% by mass of natural gas. The fuels produced from the Primus STG+ technology are very low in sulfur and benzene compared to fuels produced from petroleum, and they can be used directly in vehicle engines as a component of standard fuel formulas and transported via the existing fuel delivery infrastructure.
Neste Oil launches sales of NExBTL renewable naphtha; plastics feedstock and biocomponent for gasoline
October 29, 2012
Neste Oil—the world’s largest producer of renewable diesel—has launched the commercial production and sales of renewable naphtha for corporate customers; the company is one of the first to supply bio-naphtha on a commercial scale. NExBTL naphtha is produced as part of the NExBTL renewable diesel refining process at Neste Oil’s sites in Finland, the Netherlands, and Singapore. The bio-naphtha can be used as a feedstock for producing bioplastics, for example, and as a biocomponent for gasoline.
Naphtha is generic term applied to the liquid fraction produced in petroleum refining with an approximate boiling range between 122–400 °F, and comprises C5 to C10 hydrocarbons. In a 2012 report on the hydroconversion of triglycerides (e.g., vegetable oils) to green fuels (the core of the NExBTL process), Sotelo-Boyás et al. note that:
Cool Planet projects production of carbon-negative high-octane biogasoline for $1.50 per gallon
October 28, 2012
|Cool Planet’s process relies on three core elements: novel biomass fractionation, advanced catalysis, and a char-to-soil enhancer. Source: Cool Planet. Click to enlarge.|
Cool Planet Energy Systems projects that using its patented mechanical process and novel scaling approach (earlier post), it will be able to produce high-octane carbon-negative (with the use of its bio-char byproduct) renewable gasoline at a cost of $1.50 per gallon, without the need for government subsidies.
Cool Planet uses a proprietary thermal/mechanical processor which directly inputs raw biomass such as woodchips, crop residue, algae, etc. and produces multiple distinct gas streams for catalytic upgrading to conventional fuel components. The company is also developing a range of simple one-step catalytic conversion processes which mate with the fractionator’s output gas streams to produce useful products such as eBTX (high octane gasoline), synthetic jet fuel and maximized fuel production from ultra-high yield energy crops.
Progress toward commercializing the GTI IH2 thermochemical process for drop-in hydrocarbon fuels
August 21, 2012
|Automated, continuous IH2 pilot plant, 50 kg/day biomass feed. Source: GTI. Click to enlarge.|
At the 244th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), Gas Technology Institute (GTI) scientist Dr. Martin Linck provided an update on the progress toward commercializing the GTI Integrated Hydropyrolysis and Hydroconversion (IH2) process, with a presentation of new data on IH2 developed from a continuous 50 kg/day pilot plant. (Earlier post.)
IH2 is a new thermochemical process that employs a catalyzed fluidized bed hydropyrolysis step followed by an integrated hydroconversion step to directly convert biomass into high-quality, fungible hydrocarbon fuels. IH2 derived fuels contain less than 1% oxygen and are completely compatible with petroleum-derived fuels.
Sundrop Fuels finalizes ExxonMobil MTG technology license for “green gasoline” production facility
June 28, 2012
|The ExxonMobil MTG process flow diagram. Source: EMRE. Click to enlarge.|
Sundrop Fuels, Inc., a gasification-based drop-in advanced biofuels company, finalized a licensing agreement to use ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company’s methanol-to-gasoline (MTG) technology to be incorporated into a “green gasoline” production facility. Located near Alexandria, Louisiana, Sundrop Fuels plans to break ground late this year on its inaugural commercial plant, which will produce up to 50 million gallons of renewable gasoline annually. (Earlier post.)
The Sundrop Fuels installation represents the first commercial production of biofuels using the MTG process. The MTG technology was originally developed in the 1970s and was successfully commercialized for a large-scale natural gas to gasoline plant during the 1980s in New Zealand.
Sundrop Fuels partners with ThyssenKrupp Uhde for inaugural drop-in biogasoline plant
May 23, 2012
Sundrop Fuels, Inc., a gasification-based drop-in advanced biofuels company (earlier post), is partnering with ThyssenKrupp Uhde for its inaugural biogasoline production facility near Alexandria, Louisiana (earlier post).
Sundrop Fuels will convert sustainable forest residues and thinnings as feedstock combined with natural gas into bio-based “green gasoline” by using a commercially-proven production path that integrates gasification, gas purification, methanol synthesis and a methanol-to-gasoline (MTG) process. As a key element to this first facility, Sundrop Fuels will deploy ThyssenKrupp Uhde’s High Temperature Winkler (HTW) gasification process, coupled with other well-established technologies for gas cleanup, methanol synthesis, and the ExxonMobil methanol-to-gasoline (MTG) conversion.
Obama Administration releases National Bioeconomy Blueprint; health, food, energy and environment
April 26, 2012
The White House today released a national Bioeconomy Blueprint, a comprehensive approach to harnessing innovations in biological research to address national challenges in health, food, energy, and the environment. In coordination with the Blueprint’s release, Federal officials also announced a number of new commitments to help achieve the Blueprint’s goals.
The National Bioeconomy Blueprint describes five strategic objectives for a bioeconomy with the potential to generate economic growth and address societal needs. Although progress is being made in all of these areas, according to the Blueprint, much work remains if the United States is to remain competitive. The objectives are: