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Iogen proposes new method to increase renewable content of transportation fuels; renewable hydrogen from biogas for refinery hydrogenation units

Cellulosic biofuel and biochemical company Iogen Corporation has developed and filed for patents on a new method to increase the renewable energy content of liquid transportation fuels. The production method involves processing biogas to deliver renewable hydrogen and then incorporating the renewable hydrogen into conventional liquid fuels via selected refinery hydrogenation units.

The company estimates there is refining capacity in place to incorporate 5-6 billion gallons per year of renewable hydrogen content into gasoline and diesel fuel. Iogen says it will initially commercialize the approach using landfill biogas, and then expand production using biogas made in the cellulosic ethanol facilities it is currently developing.

The invention can be considered as a method of producing a fuel, preferably a liquid transportation fuel, comprising the steps of (i) producing renewable hydrogen from a combustible fluid feedstock, preferably a biogas derived combustible fluid feedstock; (ii) combining the renewable hydrogen with a desulfurized, crude oil derived liquid hydrocarbon in a reactor under conditions to hydrogenate the liquid hydrocarbon with the renewable hydrogen; (iii) producing a fuel that has associated with it lower greenhouse gas emissions compared to baseline emissions for gasoline, preferably at least 20% lower than baseline emissions for gasoline, more preferably at least 30%, 40% 50% lower than baseline emissions for gasoline; and optionally (iv) receiving a renewable fuel credit as described herein and known in the art.

Alternatively, an amount of renewable hydrogen can be combined with a crude oil derived liquid hydrocarbon and an additional effective amount of hydrogen of sufficient quantity to desulfurize the crude oil derived liquid hydrocarbon in a reactor under conditions to simultaneously desulfurize and hydrogenate the crude oil derived liquid hydrocarbon, where preferably the amount of hydrogen that becomes bonded to the crude oil derived liquid hydrocarbon is greater than or equal to two thirds of the amount of renewable hydrogen.

—“Method For Producing Renewable Fuels”

Broadly, Iogen envisions first purifying the biogas (which contains impurities such as carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, water, oxygen, nitrogen and halogenated compounds in addition to the desired methane) via a variety of methods. The biogas is then transported to the refinery, where it can be converted to hydrogen via known methods including, but not limited to autothermal reforming (ATR), steam methane reforming (SMR) and additional water gas shift reactions. The hydrogen can then be fed into refinery hydrogenation or desulfurization processes for fuels.

The overall greenhouse gas emissions are reduced by more than 60%, meeting the threshold for cellulosic biofuel in the USA, Iogen claimed. Iogen said it is actively consulting with the EPA and CARB to gain pathway approval for cellulosic RIN and LCFS credit generation.

Biogas is produced today from landfills, wastewater treatment plants, waste digestion facilities, and farm digesters with well-proven technology. We can now take biogas and make specification gasoline and diesel with renewable content using well-proven existing refining operations. It is a win for everybody.

—Patrick Foody, Iogen’s Executive Vice President, Advanced Biofuels

The company says it is planning to use the technology in association with two large-scale US cellulosic ethanol plants it is developing, resulting in increased overall cellulosic biofuel yields per unit of feedstock, lower unit capital costs, and lower water usage per unit of biofuel production.




“The only inputs we need are waste CO2, water and electricity,”

— applied an electric current, the cell knitted CO2 into methanol, the simplest hydrocarbon.


Didn't I say in a recent blog that any hydrogen we extract and bottle will be grabbed up by the petroleum industry. Here's your proof. But it would make more sense to put fuel cells at landfill sites and get electricity rather than hydrogen.



MCFC or SOFC would work, do CHP and reclaim water.


It's been years and years that i read story about biofuels here and as today there is only poor ethanol blend about 10% in gasoline and that hurt my engine and raise the price of foods. At least this method seam better than corn ethanol and yield better gasoline for my car a 2005 dodge neon 5 speeds.


Imagine you are a biofuels company trying to get funding, the investment bankers want the oil company business so they really don't want to fund YOU.

If Sundrop had not received $175 million for 50% stake from a natural gas company, they probably would not be building their production plant.


The limited amount of energy from biofuels (due to hard caps on NPP) eliminates them as serious competitors for the oil majors.  Diverting funding to such dead ends is in their interests.  Buying some bio-methane makes good greenwashing.


LCFS might say they got their hydrogen from a water treatment plant so that makes the production lower carbon, a bit of a stretch.

Roger Pham

If the biogas already contains gaseous hydrocarbon, why not separate out the methane and feed it into the NG network for direct use? Why bother to make H2 out of it?

The energy potential of biogas is limited, while the potential of solar and wind are almost limitless. As such, it would make more sense to make H2 out of solar and wind energy and to incorporate the H2 into the hydropyrolysis of the waste cellulosic biomass in order to double or triple the energy of the waste biomass in the synthesis of renewable hydrocarbon fuels, instead of making H2 out of cellulosic biomass and adding this H2 into fossil fuel, while wasting all the carbon content of the waste biomass.

Iogen may need to rethink their company's strategy in order to ensure their long-term future growth potential.



This is a muddled and confused announcement, but I think I know what they are doing. It has to do with carbon credits and RIN. They stand to gain from the Low Carbon Fuel Standard and other laws. Iogen was the company that was going to make ethanol out of wheat straw more than 10 years ago. This may be a way of saving the company.


Hydrogen for refining of heavy crude is already supplied, in nearly all cases, by steam reforming of methane -- the SMR reaction. This "invention" appears to be saying that, hey, we can use methane from biogas instead of, or to supplement, methane from natural gas.

Well, duh!

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