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EERC Licenses New Process for Cellulosic Biofuels and Fuel Additives to Whole Energy Fuels for Commercialization

The Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) Foundation at the University of North Dakota has issued global, exclusive licensing rights to Whole Energy Fuels Corporation for a novel cellulosic biofuel technology which converts biomass and other recycled material without using enzymes, fermentation, or extreme operating conditions into compounds in the diesel fuel boiling range—i.e., cellulosic diesel. The cellulosic diesel process can be modified to produce a gasoline-range blending component and various green chemicals.

Whole Energy is using the license to jump-start Mercurius Biofuels, a new company formed with its help to develop and commercialize advanced biofuel technologies, according to Atul Deshmane, CEO and President of Whole Energy.

Block flow diagram of Mercurius’ process. Click to enlarge.

According to Mercurius, the process chemically fractionates the biomass feedstock and converts it to an intermediate chemical that is further processed to a diesel blending component. In addition to diesel fuel production the process will produce at least one chemical stream and a solid char stream. Further flexibility of the technology will allow the production of alternative fuel additives for both gasoline and diesel and other chemicals.

This project presents an exciting opportunity for the EERC, as it is one of the very first involving production of advanced fuel additives from cellulosic feedstocks. This technology will ultimately be used to improve engine performance using a renewable product, both in gasoline and diesel engines. In the case of diesel fuel, our additives will boost the cetane levels, improve flow properties and, most importantly, reduce particulate emissions.

—Senior Research Advisor Ed Olson

This technology is more in line with the petroleum refining model and will benefit from many of the same efficiencies.

—Karl Seck, President of Mercurius Biofuels



"...cellulosic diesel..."

This is something we should have done 30 years ago when Carter urged a synthetic fuels program. It will go down in history where the best solution was dismissed and ignored to the peril of the nation.


$1/gal, $10/gal.? Why must the reader always guess, or is it just not worth the bother?


I would say that most biofuel and synthetic fuel business plans target the nominal price for oil derived fuels. There would be no sense going into business if the product had to sell at $10 per gallon to break even, unless you know the oil based product will cost the same in the near future. If that is the case, the U.S. has more to worry about than just supply and demand. Biomass fuels from Range and Syntec are targeted at $1 per gallon cost to produce. I would say that is a good target cost to compete with oil.

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