EU COMSYN project for compact gasification and synthesis for biomass-based fuels

The EU-funded COMSYN project aims to develop a production concept for competitive bio-based fuels by means of a compact gasification and synthesis process. The target reduction of the biofuel production cost is up to 35% compared to alternative routes, which translates to less than €0.80/l ($3.62/gallon US) production cost for... Read more →


NSF launches $20M engineering research center aimed at converting natural gas into transportation fuels: CISTAR

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is investing nearly $80 million in four new Engineering Research Centers (ERCs) to create novel technology platforms in the fields of living cell-based therapies, personalized heart tissue, point-of-care health systems and fuel derived from shale gas. The NSF Engineering Research Center for Innovative and Strategic... Read more →


On 27 October 2016, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) announced that beginning on 1 January 2020, the maximum sulfur content allowed in marine bunker fuel will be reduced from 3.50% mass by mass (m/m) to 0.50% m/m (35,000 ppm to 5,000 ppm)—five years earlier than many expected. (Earlier post.) The... Read more →


HelioBioSys, Sandia Labs, Berkeley Lab partnering on sugar-producing cyanobacteria for biofuel production

HelioBioSys has patented a group of three marine cyanobacteria that, when grown together, can produce high quantities of sugar just right for making biofuels. Sandia National Laboratories is helping HelioBioSys Inc. learn whether farming them on a large scale would be successful. Until the early 1900s, cyanobacteria were mistaken for... Read more →


Researchers develop cheaper, greener biofuels processing catalyst using waste metals and bacteria

A team from the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois, with colleagues from the University of Birmingham and Aarhus University, have developed a nanosized bio-Pd/C catalyst for upgrading algal bio-oil. Published in an open-access paper in the journal Fuel, their findings point to a cheaper, more environmentally friendly... Read more →


Digging into the differences in carbon accounting for biofuels

The benefit to the climate of using biofuels as a substitute for fossil fuels has been sharply contested for years; much of the disagreement is based on the assumptions underlying the carbon accounting in the lifecycle analysis. The argument essentially boils down to whether or not biofuels are inherently carbon... Read more →


According to a new study by Bosch, the use of e-fuels—synthetic fuels based on renewable energy—in Europe by 2050 as a scheduled supplement to electrification could save up to 2.8 gigatons of CO2: three times Germany’s carbon-dioxide emissions in 2016. The calculation is based on an assumed e-fuels blend of... Read more →


Continental has developed an electrified solution to further reduce hydrocarbon evaporative emissions: the Active Purge Pump (APP). The APP actively pulls HC-laden air from the canister used to control evaporative HC emissions. The pump used for this action is a very compact and light-weight radial pump, driven by a highly... Read more →


Audi’s two latest natural-gas alternatives in the midsize category—the new A4 Avant g-tron (earlier post) and the new A5 Sportback g-tron—are now available for order in Europe. Both models are powered by a bivalent 2.0 TFSI engine developing 170 hp. Like the A3 Sportback g-tron that is already on the... Read more →


A team at the University of Delaware has synthesized renewable jet-fuel-range alkanes by hydrodeoxygenation of lignocellulose-derived high-carbon furylmethanes over ReOx-modified Ir/SiO2 catalysts under mild reaction conditions (170 ˚C, 5 MPa). Their paper is featured on the cover of the journal ChemSusChem. In their work, they found that Ir−ReOx/SiO2 with a... Read more →


Michigan State University researchers are experimenting with harvesting seed oil to make biofuels. In a recent study published in the journal The Plant Cell, the researchers show that the chloroplast, where plant photosynthesis occurs, also participates in new ways to provide seed oil precursors. Seed oil is made out of... Read more →


The concept of using a second, high octane fuel on demand to augment the performance of a standard gasoline fuel reaches back to the 1940s, with a recent resurgence in interest generated by the need to increase engine efficiency. In a paper in the journal Fuel, researchers at the Fuel... Read more →


The SOLETAIR project (earlier post) has produced its first 200 liters of synthetic fuel from solar energy and the air’s carbon dioxide via Fischer-Tropsch synthesis. Project partners include INERATEC, a spinoff of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), VTT Technical Research Center of Finland and Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT). The... Read more →


German team develops novel technique to determine fuel quality in plug-in hybrids

Series-production plug-in hybrid electric vehicles equipped with diesel engines are already available in the market or planned for the future (e.g., Volvo V60, Audi Q7 e-tron quattro, Peugeot 508 RXH Hybrid4, Range Rover SDV6 Hybrid Diesel). However, fossil diesel fuel/biodiesel blends show a tendency to form precipitates—which can be considered... Read more →


Aemetis has signed a Master Agreement with key exclusive rights for the use of an advanced gasification technology from InEnTec to produce cellulosic ethanol. The InEnTec gasification technology agreement is a key part of Aemetis’ strategy to produce high-value, low-carbon cellulosic ethanol from locally sourced biomass by integrating InEnTec’s patented... Read more →


Continental reports successful testing of diesel blends with 15% OME synthetic fuel

Continental has successfully conducted tests on the synthetic diesel fuel oxymethylene ether (OME) in test vehicles, including its Super Clean Electrified Diesel vehicle presented this year. Overall, the Continental tests confirmed that diesel fuel containing 15% OME blend for current diesel engines is a technically safe and viable possibility for... Read more →


Pathway for CO2 catalytic processing of oleic acid into C8-C15 alkanes; jet-range hydrocarbons

Researchers in China are proposing new pathways for the CO2 catalytic conversion of oleic acid into C8-C15 alkanes. The yield of C8–C15 products reaches 73.10 mol% in a CO2 atmosphere—much higher than the 49.67 mol% yield obtained in an H2 atmosphere. In the the absence of an external H2 source,... Read more →


LanzaTech collaborating with Swayana to convert waste gases from ferroalloy production to ethanol

South African engineering company Swayana has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with LanzaTech to collaborate on developing projects for the production of ethanol and higher value products from waste gases in the ferroalloy and titania smelting sectors. LanzaTech’s first commercial facility will be online at the end of 2017... Read more →


An international research team led by scientists at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore have developed a light-activated material that can chemically convert carbon dioxide into carbon monoxide without generating unwanted byproducts. When exposed to visible light, the material,... Read more →


QUB team converts aluminum foil waste to highly active alumina; biofuel catalyst, other applications

Researchers at Queen’s University Belfast have developed a novel green route to convert aluminium foil waste into highly active nano-mesoporous alumina (γ-Al2O3) (designated as ACFL550). The material shows higher surface area, larger pore volume, and stronger acidity compared to γ-Al2O3 that is produced from the commercial AlCl3 precursor, AC550. An... Read more →


Praj, Gevo to enter commercialization phase of Gevo isobutanol technology for sugarcane and molasses feedstocks

Praj Industries and Gevo announced that Gevo’s proprietary isobutanol technology will now be available for licensing to processors of sugarcane juice and molasses. This follows on the back of Praj’s development work, adapting Gevo’s technology to sugarcane and molasses feedstocks. (Earlier post.) The two companies entered into a Development Agreement... Read more →


DOE awarding $40M in FY 2018 to 4 DOE Bioenergy Research Centers; plans for 5 years of funding

US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry announced $40 million in Department of Energy awards for the establishment of four DOE Bioenergy Research Centers (BRCs), which will provide the scientific breakthroughs for a new generation of sustainable, cost-effective bioproducts and bioenergy. The centers—each led by a DOE National Laboratory or a... Read more →


São Paulo study finds concentration of ultrafine particulates rose by 1/3 in switch from ethanol to gasoline

The concentration of ultrafine particles less than 50 nanometers in diameter rose by one-third in the air of São Paulo, Brazil, when higher ethanol prices induced drivers to switch from ethanol to gasoline, according to a new study by a Northwestern University chemist, a National University of Singapore economist and... Read more →


ExxonMobil and UW Madison extend research collaboration on conversion of biomass to transportation fuels

The University of Wisconsin-Madison and ExxonMobil announced a two-year renewal of an agreement to research the fundamental chemistry of converting biomass into transportation fuels. The research is part of a broad effort to identify scalable and commercially viable solutions to help meet increasing global energy demand with a renewable resource.... Read more →


An evaluation of the implementation possibilities of power-to-fuel (PTF) technologies by a team from Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH in Germany recommends the PTF products DME, OME3-5 and n-alkanes as suitable diesel alternatives for the transportation sector. PTF processes essentially use renewable energy, CO2 and water to produce fuel, as in Audi’s... Read more →


DOE to award up to $8M to three algae-based biofuels projects

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has selected three projects to receive up to $8 million, aimed at reducing the costs of producing algal biofuels and bioproducts. These projects are to deliver high-impact tools and techniques for increasing the productivity of algae organisms and cultures. They will also deliver biology-focused... Read more →


IndianOil and LanzaTech to construct first refinery Offgas-to-Bioethanol production facility

Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IndianOil), India’s flagship national oil company and LanzaTech signed a Statement of Intent to construct the world’s first refinery offgas-to-bioethanol production facility in India. The basic engineering for the 40-million liter per year (10.6 million gallons US/year) demonstration facility will begin later this year for installation... Read more →


Based on its analysis of government responses to the Volkswagen diesel scandal as well as to the ongoing publication of research highlighting the adverse effects of NOx and particulate matter on public health, Lux Research has concluded that the question is when—not if—a diesel ban will happen. Lux Research compiled... Read more →


GLBRC research review concludes cellulosic biofuels can benefit the environment if managed correctly

Cellulosic biofuels could provide an environmentally sustainable way of meeting energy needs—but with a few important caveats, according to a new review of research by a team from the US Department of Energy-funded Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC). Their paper is published in the journal Science. Although not yet... Read more →


A study led by researchers at Tampere University of Technology in Finland found that the use of neat Neste MY Renewable Diesel in working machines—a Wille 355B compact utility machine and Wille 855C multi-purpose wheel-loader—efficiently reduces particulate matter emissions compared to EN590 diesel with 7% biodiesel. With renewable diesel, both... Read more →


Royal Dutch Shell plc, through its subsidiary Shell International Exploration and Production B.V, and SBI Bioenergy Inc. have reached an agreement granting Shell exclusive development and licensing rights for SBI’s biofuel technology. Canada-based SBI has a patented process that can convert a wide range of waste oils, greases and sustainable... Read more →


UPS commits to aggressive goals for more alternative vehicles, fuel and renewable power by 2025

UPS announced new sustainability goals to add more alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles to its fleet while increasing its reliance on renewable energy sources. The goals, available in the company’s 2016 Corporate Sustainability Report, support UPS’ commitment to reduce its absolute greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from global ground operations... Read more →


Researchers from the universities of Kaiserslautern, Bochum, and Rostock have developed a method for producing a petroleum diesel-like fuel from conventional biodiesel (rapeseed oil methyl ester, RME). Catalyzed by a Pd/Ru system, RME undergoes isomerizing metathesis in a stream of ethylene gas, leading to a defined olefin, monoester, and diester... Read more →


Cummins to begin electrified powertrain delivery in 2019; alternative fuels and power, digitalization

During a teleconference yesterday, Cummins Inc. executives outlined plans to provide a range of power technologies spanning diesel and natural gas engines to fully electric and hybrid powertrains. Cummins will begin electrified powertrain delivery in 2019, including full battery-electric and plug-in hybrid systems. Cummins said those are just the first... Read more →


New efficient biphasic catalytic process for conversion of biomass to dense jet-range fuels

Most current bio-jet fuels consist primarily of linear or branched chain alkanes; they suffer from low densities (~0.76 g/mL) and low volumetric heating values compared with those of petro-jet fuels. As a result, most alternative fuels have to blend with petro-jet fuels to meet the energy density requirements. Cyclic hydrocarbons... Read more →


Switzerland-based Climeworks, a spin-off from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH), recently launched the world’s first commercial plant that captures atmospheric CO2 for supply and sale to a customer. The Swiss direct air capture company—which has also partnered with Audi in that company’s e-fuels initiative (earlier post)—launched... Read more →


VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) are beginning testing of the Soletair demo plant, which uses air-captured carbon dioxide to produce renewable fuels and chemicals. The pilot plant is coupled to LUT’s solar power plant in Lappeenranta. The aim of the project is to... Read more →


In a large-scale test, researchers at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR), together with Lufthansa Technik and the Bundeswehr Research Institute for Materials, Fuels and Lubricants, investigated the chemical and physical properties of particularly promising aviation biofuels. The tests were carried out in a special... Read more →


EPFL team develops low-cost catalyst for splitting CO2

EPFL scientists have developed an Earth-abundant and low-cost catalytic system for splitting CO2 into CO and oxygen—an important step towards achieving the conversion of renewable energy into hydrocarbon fuels. A solar-driven system set up using this catalyst was able to split CO2 with an efficiency of 13.4%. A paper on... Read more →


USDA, DOE to award $9M for bioenergy feedstocks, biofuels and bio-based products

The US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), announced that up to $9 million in funding will be made available through the Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BRDI) to support the development of bioenergy feedstocks, biofuels,... Read more →


Scientists have been trying to artificially replicate photosynthesis to convert solar energy to stored chemical energy, with the objective of producing environmentally friendly and sustainable fuels, such as hydrogen and methanol. However, mimicking key functions of the photosynthetic center, where specialized biomolecules carry out photosynthesis, has proven challenging. Artificial photosynthesis... 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 →


Cummins announces compatibility with select 100% paraffinic diesel fuels for B4.5, B6.7, L9 engines

Cummins Inc. announced that the B4.5, B6.7 and L9 engine platforms are compatible with 100% renewable diesel fuels meeting the EN 15940 specification (paraffinic diesel fuel from synthesis or hydrotreatment). Both On-Highway and Off-Highway versions of the B6.7 and L9 platforms and all vintages are approved to use paraffinic diesel... Read more →


Study finds POMDME-diesel blends cut soot up to 34% with no NOx increase

A study by a team from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Aerothermochemistry and Combustion Systems Laboratory and the University of Kaiserslautern (Germany) has found that blends comprising poly (oxymethylene) dimethyl ethers (POMDME) and diesel show a significant reduction in soot emissions of up to to 34% with no significant... Read more →


A hybrid bus that runs on both diesel and liquid nitrogen has completed a series of trials to bring it one step closer to the road. The hybrid bus—CE Power—is the first to be powered by liquid nitrogen and has been built by engineers at HORIBA MIRA as part of... Read more →


Argonne researchers make vanadium into a useful low-cost catalyst for hydrogenation

Researchers at the US Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory have developed an unusually active form of vanadium for hydrogenation reactions. Vanadium is an inexpensive common metal that could replace some of the precious metals currently found in catalysts used in these reactions, frequently used in processing of fuels (petro-... Read more →


DOE awarding $72M in 73 Phase II SBIR/STTR grants

The US Department of Energy will award 73 grants totaling $72 million to 68 small businesses in 24 states. Funded through DOE’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, the latest selections are for Phase II research and development. Small businesses that demonstrated technical feasibility... Read more →


The US Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Annual Energy Outlook 2017 (AEO2017) Reference case projects a decline in light-duty vehicle energy use between 2018 and 2040 as improvements in fuel economy more than offset increases in light-duty vehicle (LDV) miles. EIA projects that light-duty vehicle energy consumption will decrease 12%—from 16.1... Read more →


Argonne, NREL, Gevo to develop predictive octane blending model for isobutanol and gasoline

Gevo has been selected to collaborate with Argonne National Laboratory and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) received funding to develop a predictive octane blending model for isobutanol and gasoline blendstocks for oxygenated blending (BOBs). While it is known that isobutanol increases octane when blended into BOBs, the effect is... Read more →


155 businesses and industry groups send letter of support for California LCFS in current and possibly more stringent future forms

As California policymakers consider options to extend the state’s landmark climate change laws to 2030 and beyond, 155 businesses and industry groups sent a letter to California Governor Jerry Brown, Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León, and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon in support of the California Low Carbon Fuel... Read more →