GTI and Haldor Topsøe report successful operation of $35M pilot plant for converting woody biomass to gasoline; vehicle testing starting
|Pilot plant integrating Carbona gasification with TIGAS syngas-to-gasoline process. Click to enlarge.|
In a recently completed project, Gas Technology Institute (GTI) worked with Haldor Topsøe, Inc. on an integrated biorefinery to make renewable “drop-in” gasoline. The use of renewable gasoline could reduce lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 92% when compared to conventional gasoline.
The almost $35-million pilot-scale project, supported by the US Department of Energy (DOE) integrated biorefineries program ($25 million from DOE, $9,771,659 cost-share), converted woody biomass into bio-derived gasoline by fully integrating and optimizing biomass gasification and syngas cleanup steps with a unique process to turn syngas into gasoline. (Earlier post.)
The test campaigns took place at GTI’s advanced gasification campus in metro Chicago.
The basic principle in the TIGAS process is the integration of methanol/dimethylether synthesis and the subsequent conversion into gasoline in a single synthesis loop. As the methanol/DME synthesis is very flexible, a variety of synthesis gas compositions may be applied.
The TIGAS process offers a number of benefits, including the elimination of the intermediate production and storage of methanol; the integration of the methanol reaction to form DME immediately; improved conversion efficiency, which reduces steam consumption; and the potential for CO2 removal.
Topsøe’s TIGAS process is based on in-house research and development of process and catalysts.
Other partners included forest products company UPM, who provided the wood feedstock, and Phillips 66, who assisted with design, supervised fuel testing, arranged fleet testing and provided funding.
In October 2013 the team produced about 4,000 gallons of gasoline suitable for use as a gasoline blendstock. This was used for single-engine emissions testing, demonstrating that renewable gasoline would meet EPA standards in blends up to 80%.
The final test campaign in March 2014 produced sufficient quantities for testing to prove that the gasoline can be used in existing automobile engines. Around 7,770 gallons have been sent to a blending facility in Michigan to prepare it for a fleet test at the Transportation Research Center in East Liberty, Ohio.
Four pairs of vehicles will each log 75,000 miles comparing performance of the bio-based gasoline blend with conventional gasoline. Results will be available in September 2014.
Wood to green gasoline using Carbona gasification and Topsoe TIGAS processes. DOE Project DE-EE0002874