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GTI showcases IH2 biomass-to-liquid hydrocarbon fuel pilot plant

The Gas Technology Institute (GTI) hosted an open house at its new Pilot-Scale IH2 Plant in Chicago, Illinois to demonstrate the successful efforts to broaden biomass-to-liquid hydrocarbon fuel conversion. IH2 technology is a catalytic thermochemical process that promises to be a very cost-effective route to produce liquid transportation fuels from renewable resources. (Earlier post.)

Pilot plant operation is a critical step along the IH2 technology commercialization pathway, as it provides valuable information to confirm and refine commercial design. In the two months that the IH2 pilot plant has been on line, the basic design principles have been validated.

The pilot plant studies will provide validation of the operational and performance factors which are key to achieving commercial deployment in 2014, when total advanced biofuels RFS mandates are 3.75 billion gallons. Woody biomass has been successfully fed through the IH2 pilot plant, and has been converted to gasoline, kerosene and diesel product, comparable to those produced in the R&D project phase. Subsequent testing will proceed with a variety of feedstocks in support of US Department of Energy projects and potential technology licensors.

Based on assessments and calculations by National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the technology has the capability to produce fuel with a US Department of Energy estimated selling price of less than $2.00/gallon in commercial production.

The IH2 technology promises to be a cost-effective route to produce liquid transportation fuel from renewable resources, with the potential to convert biomass feedstock directly into gasoline, diesel and jet fuel.

—David Carroll, GTI President and CEO

The IH2 process can convert virtually any type of non-food biomass feedstock—such as wood, agricultural residues, algae, aquatic plants and solid waste—to a liquid transportation fuel that is interchangeable with crude-oil-derived fuels and is compatible with current fueling and vehicle infrastructure. In this way, the IH2 process differs from other biofuel technologies that produce crude or oxygen-containing intermediates that need substantial upgrading to meet current specifications for transportation fuels.

Using non-food biomass as a feedstock also allows IH2 to address two major concerns of the global economy: feeding and fueling the world’s growing populations. IH2 technology does not compete with the public food supply to provide the fuel needed for transportation markets.

GTI has licensed the IH2 technology to CRI Catalyst Company (CRI), a company headquartered in Houston, TX, for worldwide deployment. The timeline to market is short, with commercial introduction expected in early 2014.



BTL can be done if the feed stock is consistent. Miscanthus that is cut, dried and ground to a consistent quality is an example. Crop to crop variations could be there, but that may be something that can be dealt with.


The capability to use solid waste looks better than using biofuel crops.  MSW is already concentrated and collected, and often transported long distances by truck for disposal.  Eliminating the transport cuts out that waste of energy, and the immediate conversion to fuels eliminates both the landfilling and the leakage of methane and other GHGs over the decades it takes to decay and stabilize.

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