Waste-to-biofuels company Enerkem produces bio-DME

Waste-to-biofuels and chemicals producer Enerkem has successfully produced a clean, renewable bio-dimethyl ether (Bio-DME), a by-product of biomethanol, that could replace the use of diesel fuel in the transportation sector. Using the company’s proprietary thermochemical technology, its innovation group has tested and validated the production of fuel-grade bio-DME made from... Read more →


NAIT partnering with Oberon, Mack and Westcan to advance use of DME fuel in long-haul trucks

The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) is partnering with Mack Trucks, Oberon Fuels and Westcan Bulk Transport to develop fuel moisture management technology for dimethyl ether (DME), a cleaner-burning (sulfur-free and no PM), high-cetane (55-60), diesel fuel alternative that can be made from natural gas or methanol produced from... Read more →


DOE releasing $20M in funding to ARPA-E awardees; NEXTCAR and REFUEL projects

The US Department of Energy (DOE) is honoring additional commitments to 10 previously selected Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) awardees for a total of $20 million. This completes the approval process for projects selected in ARPA-E’s Next-Generation Energy Technologies for Connected and Autonomous On-Road Vehicles (NEXTCAR) (earlier post) and Renewable... Read more →


Oberon Fuels, a producer of clean-burning Dimethyl Ether (DME) transportation fuel (earlier post), announced the first customer demonstration of a DME-powered Mack truck, a Mack Pinnacle. Oberon and Mack are working with the NYC Department of Sanitation (DSNY) to run the vehicle at the Fresh Kills Landfill and evaluate performance... Read more →


An international team of researchers led by a group from the Combustion Research Facility (CRF) at Sandia National Laboratories recently provided experimental confirmation of the generally accepted low-temperature oxidation scheme of dimethyl ether (DME)—a lower soot and emissions alternative to diesel—at low temperatures (~540 K, 267˚C). Their paper was published... Read more →


Ford Europe leading project investigating DME and OME1 as low carbon, near zero particulate fuels; power-to-liquids pathways using CO2

Ford Motor Company is leading a €3.5-million (US$3.9-million) research project to investigate the use of alternative fuels that could offer customers the power and performance of modern internal combustion engines with environmental benefits comparable to an electric vehicle. The German government is co-funding the three-year project that will test the... Read more →


California approves sale of DME as compression-ignition engine fuel

The California Department of Food and Agriculture has approved specifications for dimethyl ether (DME) used as fuel in compression ignition engines. (The Department of Food and Agriculture Division of Measurement Standards has the responsibility for establishing and enforcing the quality standards for spark- and compression-ignition engine fuels sold in California.... Read more →


Oberon’s biogas-based DME now eligible for D3 and D5 RINs under the RFS

Oberon Fuels Inc., the first company to announce plans to commercialize biogas-based dimethyl ether (DME) fuel production in North America (earlier post), announced that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved Oberon’s biogas-based DME for inclusion under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Oberon’s biogas-based DME is now eligible for... Read more →


WTW energy expended and GHG emissions for conventional fuels ICE and hybrid vehicles shows the potential for improvement of conventional fuels and ICE based vehicles. Source: EUR 26236 EN - 2014 Click to enlarge. Europe’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) and its partners in the JEC Consortium—JRC, EUCAR (the European Council... Read more →


Australia CSIRO and India CSIR launch A$6M partnership on dimethyl ether

Australia’s CSIRO and its equivalent in India, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), have launched a three-year, A$6-million (US$5.6-million) collaboration focused on improving processes involved in the production of dimethyl ether (DME), a clean-burning synthetic liquid fuel. DME is non-toxic and non-carcinogenic and can be produced from natural... Read more →


Dutch/Russian effort to commercialize new process to convert flared gas to gasoline via a DME pathway

The independent Dutch research organization TNO is working with the Russian A.V. Topchiev Institute for Petrochemical Synthesis (TIPS) on marketing a new technology developed by TIPS to convert flared gases into hydrocarbon fuels such as gasoline. The new method offers a range of benefits compared with the common, but nearly... Read more →


New study on DME auto-ignition at engine-relevant conditions

Dimethyl ether (DME) is of interest as an alternative fuel for compression ignition (CI) engines due to its ease of production and advantageous properties as a diesel alternative. As an example of that interest, Volvo Trucks has just announced its intent to begin production of DME-fueled heavy-duty trucks in North... Read more →


Volvo VNL D13 with DME. Click to enlarge. At an event in Sacramento, California, Volvo Trucks announced that it will commercialize dimethyl ether (DME)-powered heavy-duty commercial vehicles in North America, with limited production beginning in 2015. Volvo also revealed ongoing customer field testing of DME trucks in the US (with... Read more →


SoCalGas, Oberon Fuels partner to produce Dimethyl Ether from natural gas for transportation fuel; first such commercial facility in US

Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) and Oberon Fuels, a San Diego-based low-emission alternative fuels company, announced a joint research and development agreement to design and construct the first commercial facility in the United States to produce Dimethyl Ether (DME) from natural gas for use as a transportation fuel. The planned... Read more →


Comparing fuel consumption with diesel, 50D/50E and 50D/50E + 7% DME. Credit: ACS, Ashok 2011. Click to enlarge. In a study published in the ACS journal Energy & Fuels, M. P. Ashok of Annamalai University, Tamil Nadu, India reports that adding dimethyl ether to an ethanol/diesel emulsion results in an... Read more →


Volvo FH with a 13-liter engine that runs on DME. Click to enlarge. Swedish oil company and distributor Preem recently inaugurated a BioDME filling station in Stockholm, and the first five Volvo DME (dimethyl ether) trucks (earlier post) in commercial operation have taken to the road in a two-year field... Read more →


Catalytic performance on the bifunctional catalysts. CZA is unpromoted, CZA-Zr is promoted with Zr; CZA-Ga is promoted with Ga. Credit: ACS. Click to enlarge. Researchers at the Petroleum Displacement Technology Research Center, Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology (KRICT), have developed new bi-functional catalysts, promoted with Zr (Zirconium) or Ga... Read more →


Swedish Energy R&D Board Awards Up To US$72M to Chemrec for BioDME and Biomethanol Demo

The Swedish Energy R&D Board will provide an investment grant for the demonstration at industrial scale of the Chemrec technology for production of the renewable motor fuels BioDME (dimethyl ether) and Biomethanol. The new plant will be built at the Domsjö Fabriker biorefinery in Örnsköldsvik. (The biorefinery Domsjö Fabriker produces... Read more →


Bio-DME: wood to wheel. Click to enlarge. In a joint project with the EU, the Swedish Energy Agency, fuel companies and the transport industry, Volvo Trucks is investigating the potential for large-scale investment in dimethyl ether (DME) fuel produced from biomass (Bio-DME). Volvo Trucks is participating in the project by... Read more →


Overview of project area. Click to enlarge. Chemrec’s pulp mill-integrated BioDME (dimethyl ether) biorefinery demonstration plant project will break ground in September in Piteå, Sweden, with expected biofuel production by mid-2010. The project will demonstrate the production of BioDME for use as a renewable fuel in diesel engines from forest... Read more →


A consortium is seeking US stimulus funding available through the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Transit Investments for Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction (TIGGER) program to convert 20 hybrid diesel-electric buses to hybrid dimethyl-ether (DME)-electric propulsion. Among the consortium members is Alternative Fuel Technology, Inc., a developer of fuel injection equipment... Read more →


DME Low-Temperature Combustion Concept Maintains Low NOx with Decreases in CO and HC Emissions

Researchers at Shanghai Jiao Tong University are exploring a new combustion concept for dimethyl ether (DME): low-temperature combustion (LTC) of a compound charge combining port aspiration and in-cylinder direct injection (DI). In comparison to a DME homogeneous charge compression (HCCI) combustion mode, DME LTC can extend the engine operating range... Read more →


Dimethoxymethane (DMM)/Diesel Blends as a Low-Cost Approach for Emissions Control

Relationship between NOx and smoke of the DMM blends under one set of speed and load conditions. Click to enlarge. Credit: ACS Researchers at Xi’an Jiaotong University in China have investigated the combustion, performance, and emissions of a direct-injection (DI) diesel engine fueled with dimethoxymethane (DMM)/diesel blends, with DMM content... Read more →


BioDME Projects Begins, Chemrec to Build BioDME Plant

Principal units of Chemrec’s oxygen-blown, pressurized black liquor gasification development plant 1 (DP1) in Piteå, Sweden. Click to enlarge. The European project BioDME has begun, with the first project meeting held today at Chemrec’s plant in Piteå, Sweden. The goal of BioDME is to demonstrate production of environmentally optimized synthetic... Read more →


Volvo to Field Test 14 Trucks with Third-Generation, 13-Liter DME Engines

Field trials involving fourteen dimethyl ether (DME)-powered Volvo trucks will begin in the next 18 months. Volvo companies Volvo Powertrain, 3P and Volvo Technology will field test 14 trucks equipped with Volvo’s third-generation, 13-liter DME-fueled (dimethyl ether) engines in Sweden beginning in late 2009 to early 2010 as part of... Read more →


Researchers Propose New Combustion System For DME Engine: CCCI

Comparison of fuel consumption and emissions with a variation of CO2 in the air charge in CCCI combustion. Click to enlarge. Researchers at Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China are developing a new combustion system for an engine fueled with dimethyl ether (DME): compound charge compression ignition (CCCI). The CCCI... Read more →


Swedish Energy Agency Grants Volvo $2.1M for Heavy-Duty Vehicle DME Field Tests

DME produced from biomass offers the most cost-effective avoidance of CO2 of transportation fuels under consideration, according to Volvo. (Data shown is for light-duty vehicles.) Click to enlarge. The Swedish Energy Agency has granted AB Volvo SEK 12.8 million (US$2.1 million) in support for field testing of the third-generation DME... Read more →


UOP and USC to Partner on Converting CO2 to Methanol or DME for Fuel

UOP LLC, a Honeywell company, and the University of Southern California’s (USC) Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute will partner to develop and commercialize new technology to transform carbon dioxide into cleaner-burning alternative fuels. USC has developed fundamental chemistry to transform carbon dioxide to methanol or dimethyl ether. The agreement grants UOP... Read more →


Volvo Demonstrates Trucks Running on Seven Different Renewable Fuels; Evaluates the Fuels

Volvo’s seven renewable fuel trucks and a summary chart of the fuel evaluation. More evaluation detail below. Click to enlarge. The Volvo Group showed seven of its diesel trucks modified to run on 100% renewable fuels: biodiesel, biogas, biogas combined with biodiesel, ethanol/methanol, dimethyl ether (DME), synthetic diesel and hydrogen... Read more →


Michigan, Chemrec and NewPage Partner to Explore Black Liquor Gasification to Fuels Project

Block flow diagram of the Chemrec BLG Motor Fuel (BLGMF) process at its development plant (DP-3) site. The pulp mill line is to the left of the dotted red line; the BLGMF flow is to the right. Click to enlarge. Sweden-based Chemrec AB and Ohio-based NewPage Corporation have formed a... Read more →


Two Approaches for Converting Papermaking Waste into Fuels: Cellulosic Ethanol and DME

At the 234th meeting of the American Chemical Society in Boston this week, two different teams of researchers reported on their approaches for converting the waste from the paper industry into fuels. Researchers at Dartmouth are engineering xylose-fermenting microbes to simultaneously saccharify and co-ferment paper sludge to ethanol. Researchers at... Read more →


SES and Golden Concord Sign Joint Venture Contract to Build Coal Gasification, Methanol and DME Plant in China

Synthesis Energy Systems, a coal gasification company, and Inner Mongolia Golden Concord (Xilinhot) Energy Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of Golden Concord Holdings Ltd., a private provider of electricity, steam and chilling water in China, have signed a co-operative joint venture contract to build an integrated coal gasification plant and methanol... Read more →


SES and YIMA Sign Agreement for Coal-to-DME Plant in China

Synthesis Energy Systems, Inc. (SES), a coal gasification company, and Yima Coal Industry Group Co., Ltd. (YIMA), a large Chinese integrated coal company, have signed a preliminary agreement to establish a joint venture company to build and operate a new integrated coal gasification to methanol to Dimethyl Ether (DME) plant.... Read more →


Volvo Makes $1.1B Bid for Nissan Diesel

AB Volvo has made a SEK 7.5-billion (US$1.1-billion) public offer to acquire the Japanese truck manufacturer Nissan Diesel. Volvo already owns a 19% holding in Nissan Diesel and preference shares which can be converted to an additional 27.5%, after full dilution. Volvo’s offer for Nissan Diesel represents a premium of... Read more →


Japanese Companies Form Joint Venture for Dimethyl Ether Production

Nine major Japanese companies, including Mitsubishi Gas Chemical, Itochu, and Japan Petroleum Exploration Co. (JPE), are establishing a joint venture company for the production of dimethyl ether (DME) for use as a synthetic, next-generation fuel. The joint venture, Fuel DME Production Co., will build a DME production plant within Mitsubishi... Read more →


Volvo Invests in Black Liquor Gasification Company

Block flow diagram of a Chemrec Black Liquor Gasification with Motor Fuels (BLGMF) production concept. Click to enlarge. Volvo Technology Transfer AB is investing in Chemrec AB, a company that has developed a technology for gasification of black liquor, a residual product from the pulp industry. Volvo Technology Transfer AB... Read more →


Siemens to Supply Coal Gasification Technology to Shenhua Group for DME Project; Shenhua Expanding Direct Coal Liquefaction Plant

Shenhua Ningxia Coal Industry Group Co. Ltd. (SNCG) in China has awarded Siemens Power Generation (PG) a €30 million (US$39 million) contract for two entrained-flow gasifiers with a thermal capacity of 500 MW each and further key equipment for a coal gasification plant. SNCG is a subsidiary of the state-owned... Read more →


Lutianhua Group to Build World’s Largest DME Plant in China

Chinese petrochemical company Lutianhua Group Inc. is planning to build a plant capable of producing 1 million tonnes of dimethyl ether (DME) per year in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. The plant would be the world’s largest DME facility to date. Lutianhua Group has already signed a technology licensing agreement... Read more →


China to Invest $128 Billion to Develop Coal-Based Synthetic Fuels

Xinhua. China will invest more than one trillion yuan (US$128 billion) to develop alternative coal-based synthetic fuels to ease the country’s dependence on oil imports, according to the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC). The project aims to produce 30 million tons of liquefied coal and 20 million tons of... Read more →


Nissan Diesel and Volvo Jointly to Develop Medium-Duty Trucks and to Study Hybrid Systems and Alternative Fuels

Nissan Diesel and AB Volvo will jointly develop medium-duty trucks for worldwide sales. The joint effort expects to combine the Japanese truckmaker’s strength in smaller trucks with the Swedish expertise in manufacturing heavy-duty models. The companies will also conduct a joint study on advanced technologies such as hybrid engines, alternative... Read more →


Methanex Enters DME Partnership in China

Methanex and China’s XinAo Group have entered into a long-term arrangement under which Methanex will, beginning in late 2007, supply an initial quantity of approximately 300,000 tonnes per annum of methanol to XinAo. This methanol will be used in a new 200,000-tonne dimethyl ether (DME) production facility that XinAo is... Read more →


China Launches Major Dimethyl Ether-to-Olefin Project

Another major use for crude oil aside from transportation fuels is as the feedstock for the production of olefins (alkenes). Olefins include ethylene and propylene, and are the primary building blocks for products such as polyethylene (LDPE, HDPE, LLDPE), polypropylene, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), ethylene glycol, and SBR/PBR rubber. China is... Read more →


China to Start Construction of Largest Yet Coal to Dimethyl Ether Project

Xinhua. China is to begin construction of the largest dimethyl ether (DME) project yet with an annual output of 3 million tons. China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) has banned any coal-based DME project with a design capacity lower than one million tons. The country’s current annual output is... Read more →


World Bank Supports Chinese Coal to Dimethyl Ether Project

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, signed a financing package for China’s Xinao Group to support a coal-to-liquids project. IFC is investing in a Xinao subsidiary—Xinneng Chemical—by buying shares worth up to $10 million and granting a $40 million loan for the... Read more →


China to Support Development of Dimethyl Ether as Diesel Alternative

China’s first dimethyl ether bus, made by Shanghai Jiaotong University. Xinhua. The Chinese government will support the development of dimethyl ether (DME), a gas derived from coal, as a possible alternative to diesel. A circular from the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said standards for the use of DME... Read more →


AB Volvo to Develop Third-Generation DME Engines for Heavy Vehicles

Volvo DME truck. The Swedish Energy Agency (Energimyndigheten) has awarded AB Volvo a 62.2-million kroner (US$8.4-million) grant to support the technical development of a third-generation DME engine for heavy vehicles during the period 2006-2010. The project’s goal is to deliver technology for a major field test with 30 third-generation DME-powered... Read more →


Shanghai Company Starts DME Production as Trial for Transportation

China’s first dimethyl ether bus, made by Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Shanghai Daily. A Shanghai, China, chemical company has started producing dimethyl ether (DME) as an alternative fuel for transit buses in the city. Shanghai Coking & Chemical Corp, a unit of Shanghai Huayi Group, put its 5,000-tonne-per-year dimethyl ether... Read more →


Volvo Buys 13% of Nissan Diesel

AB Volvo acquired 40 million common shares, corresponding to 13%, in the Japanese truck manufacturer Nissan Diesel from Nissan Motor, with an option to acquire the remaining 6% of the shares from Nissan Motor within four years. The purchase price is approximately SEK billion 1.5 (US$195 million). The transaction strengthens... Read more →


DME Comes to DC in a Truck Beating EPA 2010 Emissions Requirements

Nissan Diesel’s DME demo truck. The Japan International Transport Institute and the National Traffic Safety and Environment Laboratory are hosting a half-day conference in Washington, DC, on the development and promotion of environmentally-friendly heavy-duty vehicles—with a specific emphasis on DME (dimethyl ether). Not well-known as a fuel alternative in the... Read more →


Report: Forest Waste Could Provide 50% of Maine’s Energy Needs

Biomass-derived fuels could meet 50% of Maine’s needs. The Fractionation Development Center (FDC), a Maine non-profit group, has released a plan detailing how the state could turn its vast quantities of forest waste into a range of biofuels and chemicals, providing up to 50% of the state’s annual energy needs.... Read more →