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ExxonMobil, UW-Madison partner on biomass-to-transportation fuel research

The University of Wisconsin-Madison and ExxonMobil announced a two-year agreement to research the fundamental chemistry of converting biomass into transportation fuels.

UW-Madison long has been known for its expertise in biomass conversion, and the project leverages the university’s expertise alongside the resources and technology development of ExxonMobil. George Huber, the Harvey D. Spangler professor of chemical and biological engineering at UW-Madison, is working closely with ExxonMobil scientists to build a stronger understanding of the basic chemical transformations that occur during biomass conversion into diesel and jet fuels.

The science of biomass conversion is very complicated. In this project we are doing the long-term fundamental research to understand the chemistry involved in the catalytic process of converting biomass into diesel and jet fuel. Our goal is to generate knowledge about what’s possible, and what’s not possible. The challenge is to make biomass-derived fuels cost-competitive with petroleum-derived diesel fuels.

—George Huber

Researchers have used expensive precious metal catalysts such as platinum for biomass conversion. Huber’s group, however, has been working to develop new catalytic materials that are orders of magnitude cheaper than precious metal catalysts.

This agreement continues ExxonMobil's commitment to partner with top universities and scientists to research and discover next-generation energy solutions. We are continuously investigating new ideas and technologies and we are looking forward to working with the team at the University of Wisconsin on this project.

—Vijay Swarup, vice president of research and development for ExxonMobil Research & Engineering Company

The agreement with UW-Madison is the most recent in a series of research partnerships that ExxonMobil has established as part of the company's ongoing activities to explore early-stage innovative projects through partnerships with leading universities around the world. ExxonMobil has also established partnerships with MIT, Princeton, Michigan State, Northwestern, Stanford and Iowa State University, among others.

Comments

SJC

"..biomass into diesel and jet fuel."
There are 400 compounds in refined diesel fuel, including several benzenes. Bio synthetic diesel contains none of those unwanted compounds. You can see the difference in HPR diesel, refined is brown HPR is clear.

kalendjay

And low sulfur, too.

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