KiOR expects to produce 920K gallons of cellulosic biofuels by year end; short-term focus on economics

Cellulosic gasoline and diesel company KiOR, Inc. expects that, given current and anticipated operations through the remainder of the year, its Columbus, Mississippi facility will produce approximately 410,000 gallons of renewable fuel during the fourth quarter of 2013, bringing full year production total from the facility to approximately 920,000 gallons.... Read more →

Converting glycerol from biodiesel production into bio-gasoline

A team at the University of Idaho has demonstrated that glycerol, a byproduct from biodiesel production, could be used as a substrate for producing drop-in gasoline-range biofuel. In a paper published in the ACS journal Energy & Fuels, Guanqun Luo and Armando G. McDonald describe their study of converting methanol... Read more →

The multi-stage bioliq process produces high-quality synthetic fuels from straw and other biogenous residues. Graphic: N. Dahmen, KIT/IKFT. Click to enlarge. The synthesis stage of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology’s (KIT’s) multi-stage bioliq pilot plant has begun operation and has produced biogasoline. All stages of the bioliq process—flash pyrolysis, high-pressure entrained-flow... Read more →

KAIST team engineers novel pathway for direct production of biogasoline by E. coli bacteria

A team at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) has developed a a novel strategy for microbial gasoline production through the metabolic engineering of Escherichia coli. The team engineered engineered platform E. coli strains that are capable of producing short-chain alkanes (SCAs; i.e., gasoline); free fatty acids... Read more →

Bio-oil-graded upgrading route based on molecular distillation and catalytic cracking. Credit: ACS, Wang et al. Click to enlarge. A team at Zhejiang University, China, has developed a novel cracking technology for the upgrading of bio-oil, produced by the fast pyrolysis of biomass, to biogasoline. In a paper published in the... Read more →

DARPA awards WUSTL researcher $860,000 to engineer E. coli to produce gasoline-range molecules

The Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) of the US Department of Defense has awarded Dr. Fuzhong Zhang, assistant professor of energy, environmental & chemical engineering at Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL) a Young Faculty Award worth $860,000 to engineer the bacterium Escherichia coli to produce gasoline-range molecules. Zhang’s... Read more →

Joule expands solar CO2 conversion platform to produce renewable gasoline and jet hydrocarbons

Joule, the developer of a direct, single-step, continuous process for the production of solar hydrocarbon fuels (earlier post), has extended its solar CO2 conversion platform to produce renewable gasoline- and jet fuel-range hydrocarbons. Joule has engineered photosynthetic biocatalysts that convert waste CO2 into hydrocarbons through a patented, continuous process. Joule... Read more →

Capacities of the demonstration and commercial facilities sorted by technology. Source: “Status of Advanced Biofuels Demonstration Facilities in 2012”. Click to enlarge. Advanced biofuels technologies have developed significantly over the past several years, according to a status report on demonstration facilities prepared for IEA Bioenergy Task 39—a group of international... Read more →

Total Biofuels production by fuel type, world markets: 2013-2023. Source: Navigant. Click to enlarge. Navigant Research forecasts global biofuels production will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6% between 2013 and 2023, despite slower than expected development of advanced biofuels pathways (such as cellulosic biofuels); an expected... Read more →

Schematic diagram of the Primus STG+ process. Click to enlarge. Primus Green Energy Inc., developer of a proprietary process to produce gasoline and other fuels from biomass and/or natural gas (earlier post), will provide financial support to engineers at Princeton University for general research on synthetic fuels, which will include... Read more →

Neste Oil launches sales of NExBTL renewable naphtha; plastics feedstock and biocomponent for gasoline

Neste Oil—the world’s largest producer of renewable diesel—has launched the commercial production and sales of renewable naphtha for corporate customers; the company is one of the first to supply bio-naphtha on a commercial scale. NExBTL naphtha is produced as part of the NExBTL renewable diesel refining process at Neste Oil’s... Read more →

Cool Planet’s process relies on three core elements: novel biomass fractionation, advanced catalysis, and a char-to-soil enhancer. Source: Cool Planet. Click to enlarge. Cool Planet Energy Systems projects that using its patented mechanical process and novel scaling approach (earlier post), it will be able to produce high-octane carbon-negative (with the... Read more →

Automated, continuous IH2 pilot plant, 50 kg/day biomass feed. Source: GTI. Click to enlarge. At the 244th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), Gas Technology Institute (GTI) scientist Dr. Martin Linck provided an update on the progress toward commercializing the GTI Integrated Hydropyrolysis and Hydroconversion (IH2)... Read more →

The ExxonMobil MTG process flow diagram. Source: EMRE. Click to enlarge. Sundrop Fuels, Inc., a gasification-based drop-in advanced biofuels company, finalized a licensing agreement to use ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company’s methanol-to-gasoline (MTG) technology to be incorporated into a “green gasoline” production facility. Located near Alexandria, Louisiana, Sundrop Fuels plans... Read more →

Sundrop Fuels partners with ThyssenKrupp Uhde for inaugural drop-in biogasoline plant

Sundrop Fuels, Inc., a gasification-based drop-in advanced biofuels company (earlier post), is partnering with ThyssenKrupp Uhde for its inaugural biogasoline production facility near Alexandria, Louisiana (earlier post). Sundrop Fuels will convert sustainable forest residues and thinnings as feedstock combined with natural gas into bio-based “green gasoline” by using a commercially-proven... Read more →

Obama Administration releases National Bioeconomy Blueprint; health, food, energy and environment

The White House today released a national Bioeconomy Blueprint, a comprehensive approach to harnessing innovations in biological research to address national challenges in health, food, energy, and the environment. In coordination with the Blueprint’s release, Federal officials also announced a number of new commitments to help achieve the Blueprint’s goals.... Read more →

The Primus process consists of three main steps: 1) gasification of biomass to produce a syngas; 2) CO2 separation and scrubbing of the syngas; 3) liquid fuel synthesis using a four-stage catalytic system. Click to enlarge. Primus Green Energy Inc., developer of a proprietary process to produce gasoline and other... Read more →

CoolPlanet BioFuels claims conversion yield of 4K gallons gasoline per acre biomass

CoolPlanet BioFuels, a start-up developing technology to convert low-grade biomass into high-grade fuels including gasoline, and carbon that can be sequestered (earlier post), claims it has achieved a conversion yield of 4,000 gallons gasoline/acre biomass in pilot testing using giant miscanthus, an advanced bioenergy crop. On an energy basis, that... Read more →

DOE awarding up to $12M to three projects to support development and production of drop-in biofuels

The US Department of Energy (DOE) is awarding up to $12 million to fund three small-scale projects in Illinois, Wisconsin, and North Carolina that aim to commercialize novel conversion technologies to accelerate the development of advanced, drop-in biofuels and other valuable bio-based chemicals. Using innovative thermochemical processes, the projects seek... Read more →

Honeywell’s UOP breaks ground on integrated biorefinery project in Hawaii for drop-in gasoline, jet and diesel from fast pyrolysis of biomass and catalytic upgrading

UOP LLC, a Honeywell company, has begun construction in Hawaii of a demonstration unit that will convert forest residuals, algae and other cellulosic biomass into renewable drop-in transportation fuels via a rapid pyrolysis process integrated with a catalytic upgrading process. Backed by a $25-million US Department of Energy (DOE) award,... Read more →

Block flow diagram for the production of gasoline from lignocellulosic biomass by aqueous phase hydrodeoxygenation of a solution produced by the hydrolysis of biomass. Li et al. Click to enlarge. A team lead by George Huber from U. Mass, Amherst and Charles Wyman from the University of California, Riverside (and... Read more →

Virent’s BioForming platform can produce drop-in gasoline, diesel or jet fuels from plant sugars. Source: Virent. Click to enlarge. Virent has taken another step in the gasoline certification process, successfully completing its first road fleet test organized and executed by Virent collaborator and investor Royal Dutch Shell. Virent’s biogasoline was... Read more →

Aquaflow signs cooperation agreement with CRI Catalyst Company to develop renewable fuels from algae and multi-biomass stock using IH2 catalytic pyrolysis

New Zealand-based algal technology company, Aquaflow Bionomic Corporation, signed an agreement with Texas-based CRI Catalyst Company to test and to evaluate projects that bring together Aquaflow’s algal capability and the Integrated Hydropyrolysis and Hydroconversion technology (IH2) technology to produce commercially viable cellulosic hydrocarbon fuels and blendstocks. Early this year, CRI... Read more →

The National Advanced Biofuels Consortium's (NABC) (earlier post) has selected two initial drop-in biofuels technology pathways that will advance to the next development stage. Drop-in biofuels are fuels that can serve as direct replacements or supplements to existing gasoline, diesel and jet fuels, without any changes to existing fuel distribution... Read more →

Integrated Hydropyrolysis and Hydroconversion process. Source: GTI. Click to enlarge. PetroAlgae Inc., a provider of licensable commercial micro-crop technology globally, has entered into an agreement with CRI Catalyst Company LP (CRI) to use Integrated Hydropyrolysis and Hydroconversion technology (IH2) for the conversion of PetroAlgae’s micro-crop residues into renewable fuels. CRI... Read more →

Chesapeake Energy to invest some $1B over 10 years to support natural gas demand, infrastructure and end-use technologies; $305M in initial investments in Clean Energy Fuels and Sundrop Fuels

Chesapeake Energy Corporation plans to create a $1.0-billion venture capital fund over the next 10 years, Chesapeake NG Ventures Corporation (CNGV), dedicated to identifying and investing in companies and technologies that will replace the use of gasoline and diesel with natural gas and natural gas-to-liquids (GTL) fuels. Chesapeake is the... Read more →

Gas chromatography (samples stacked for clarity) shows the similarity between Virent’s BioFormate gasoline and a typical petroleum reformate used at a refinery. Source: Virent. Click to enlarge. Virent Energy Systems, a recipient of the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) February 2010 grant to the National Advanced Biofuels Consortium (NABC) (earlier... Read more →

Avjet Biotech, Inc. (ABI), a developer of small distributive refining systems in the 10 to 15 million gallon per year range and parent company of Red Wolf Refining, has licensed exclusive rights to a technology portfolio developed at North Carolina State University (NCSU) for producing drop-in diesel, jet and gasoline... Read more →

DOE to award around $12M in funding to projects to upgrade thermochemically-derived biomass intermediates to drop-in renewable fuels and chemicals

The US Department of Energy is seeking applications for projects to develop technology or processes for converting thermochemically-derived biomass intermediates (such as, but not limited to, syngas, ethanol, mixed alcohols, mixed oxygenates [C2 and higher molecules], olefins, pyrolysis oils, and ethers) to liquid hydrocarbon molecules that could be a direct... Read more →

Current case design block flow diagram of thermochemical gasoline from biomass-derived methanol and the methanol-to-gasoline process. Source: NREL. Click to enlarge. A new report from the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) concludes that gasoline produced via the methanol-to-gasoline (MTG) route (earlier post) using syngas from a... Read more →

Conceptual sketch of future metabolomics challenges and opportunities from May 2010 NSF-JST workshop on metabolomics. Click to enlarge. The US National Science Foundation (NSF) and Japan Science and Technology Agency (NSF-JST) have launched a joint program, Metabolomics for a Low Carbon Society (METABOLOMICS), and are soliciting research projects. The goal... Read more →

Lifecycle GHG emissions of renewable gasoline from the IH2 process (GTI RG) compared to petroleum gasoline and diesel. Source: GTI. Click to enlarge. The Gas Technology Institute (GTI) has signed an exclusive worldwide licensing agreement with CRI/Criterion Inc., for GTI’s Integrated Hydropyrolysis and Hydroconversion (IH2) technology, which converts biomass directly... Read more →

Gas chromatograph traces of conventional 87 octane gasoline (top) and CoolPlanetBioFuels drop-in gasoline produced from corn cobs. Source: CoolPlanetBioFuels. Click to enlarge. GE Energy Financial Services, a unit of GE, has joined an $8-million funding round for CoolPlanetBioFuels, a start-up company developing a technology that converts low-grade biomass into high-grade... Read more →

The basic New Oil process. Click to enlarge. Louisiana-based startup New Oil Resources (NOR) is commercializing a near-critical (i.e., 320-390 °C, 200-420 bar) aqueous phase process which converts biomass containing cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin into a high-octane gasoline fraction. New Oil Resources licensed the technology (US Patent 6,180,845) in 2009... Read more →

Adding nickel and co-feeding H2 increased gasoline yield 32% relative to a conventional catalyst. Credit: Rao et al. Click to enlarge. Researchers at TU Delft (The Netherlands) and Universidad Rey Juan Carlos (Spain) have developed a new concept to increase the efficiency of the catalytic cracking of unsaturated vegetable oil... Read more →

BIO Conference Highlights Emerging Range of Pathways to Drop-in Renewable Hydrocarbon Fuels

The Biotechnology Industry Organization’s (BIO) World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioprocessing, held this week in Washington DC, highlighted a range of developing pathways for the production of renewable drop-in hydrocarbon fuels for transportation. In many cases, the renewable fuel products are just one of a number of potential products... Read more →

Virent’s BioForming concept. Source: Virent. Click to enlarge. Virent Energy Systems, Inc. has closed a $46.4-million third round of funding in which Shell and Cargill deepened their commitments to Virent’s technology platform, which converts plant sugars into sustainable hydrocarbon fuels. This new round of funding will advance Virent’s efforts to... Read more →

Gasoline yield from the APHDO process. Click to enlarge. Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, led by Dr. George Huber, have selectively tuned the chemistry of their aqueous phase hydrodeoxygenation (APHDO) process of biomass to make biogasoline with about 70% carbon yield. Dr. Huber presented a talk on the... Read more →

Virent’s BioForming platform technology. Click to enlarge. Virent Energy Systems, Inc. and Shell have successfully started production at the first demonstration plant converting plant sugars into gasoline and gasoline blend components, rather than ethanol. The demonstration plant, located at Virent's facilities in Madison, Wisconsin, is the latest step in a... Read more →

Reaction pathways for conversion of GVL to butenes and CO2, and the integrated conversion of GVL to both a liquid stream of alkenes for use in transportation fuels and a gaseous stream rich in CO2 that is appropriate for further processing options. Credit: Bond et al., Science. Click to enlarge.... Read more →

The basic Exelus BTG process. Source; Exelus. Click to enlarge. The US Department of Energy has selected Exelus, Inc. for an award of up to $1,200,000 to further its development of Biomass-to-Gasoline (BTG) technology—a novel thermochemical process that converts biomass into a clean, high-octane gasoline-compatible fuel. (Earlier post.) The BTG... Read more →

DOE and USDA Select Projects for More Than $24M in Biomass Research and Development Grants

The US Departments of Agriculture and Energy selected projects for more than $24 million in grants to research and develop technologies to produce biofuels, bioenergy and high-value biobased products. Of the $24.4 million announced today, DOE plans to invest up to $4.9 million with USDA contributing up to $19.5 million.... Read more →

UMass Amherst Licenses Catalytic Fast Pyrolysis Technology to Startup Anellotech to Produce Renewable Biogasoline

Huber’s process rapidly pyrolizes biomass in the presence of a zeolite (ZSM-5) catalyst. Click to enlarge. The University of Massachusetts Amherst recently granted a biofuels startup company, Anellotech, exclusive global rights to the university’s catalytic fast pyrolysis (CFP) technology developed by chemical engineer and UMass Amherst faculty member George Huber... Read more →

Diversified Energy Moves Ahead With New Projects for Omnigas and Centia Technologies

Diversified Energy Corporation, an alternative and renewable energy technology development company with a portfolio of several technologies, recently received support for further projects developing its HydroMax/OmniGas molten-metals based gasification technology (earlier post) and its Centia renewable biohydrocarbon drop-in fuel technology (earlier post). The Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory... Read more →

Waste Management Invests In Terrabon Waste-to-Renewable Gasoline Venture

Terrabon’s pathway to renewable hydrocarbon fuel produces ketones, which are then processed using conventional refinery technology. Click to enlarge. Waste Management, Inc. has invested in waste-to-fuel company Terrabon, LLC. Terrabon is the developer of a carboxylic acid fermentation platform licensed from Texas A&M University for the conversion of biomass to... Read more →

Joule Biotechnologies uses proprietary, highly-engineered product-specific organisms to produce renewable fuels and chemicals. Click to enlarge. Joule Biotechnologies, Inc., a bioengineering startup, unveiled its Helioculture technology—a system that leverages highly engineered photosynthetic organisms to catalyze the conversion of sunlight and CO2 to usable transportation fuels and chemicals. Among the co-founders... Read more →

ExxonMobil Launches Major Advanced Algal Biofuel Research and Development Program With Synthetic Genomics; More than $600M Targeted

ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company (EMRE) has launched what it calls a “significant” new program to research and develop advanced biofuels from photosynthetic algae that are compatible with today’s gasoline and diesel fuels. As part of the program, ExxonMobil has formed a strategic research and development alliance with Synthetic Genomics... Read more →

Overview of Virent’s BioForming process. Click to enlarge. Virent Energy Systems is receiving one of five 2009 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards (Small Business Award) for its BioForming process—a water-based, catalytic method to make gasoline, diesel, or jet fuel from the sugar, starch, or cellulose of plants that requires little... Read more →

Total Invests in Series D Round of Butanol and Renewable Hydrocarbons Company Gevo

Oil and gas major Total has invested an undisclosed amount in the series D round of advanced biofuels company Gevo. Gevo was founded in 2005 by Drs. Frances Arnold, Matthew Peters and Peter Meinhold of the California Institute of Technology. The company is focused on the development of advanced biofuels... Read more →

Dynamotive Produces Renewable Gasoline and Diesel from Biomass in Three-Stage Process: Pyrolysis, Hydroreforming, Hydrotreating

Dynamotive Energy Systems Corporation has successfully produced renewable gasoline and diesel from biomass at its research facility in Waterloo Ontario through a novel two-stage upgrading process of its pyrolysis oil, BioOil. The BINGO (Biomass INto GasOil) process involves pyrolysis of lignocellulosic biomass to produce a primary liquid fuel, BioOil, which... Read more →