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.
US Patent Application Nº 20130225885: “Method For Producing Renewable Fuels”