LanzaTech Pulls in $18M in Series B Funding; Qiming Ventures Leads

New Zealand-based waste gas and syngas to fuels company LanzaTech (earlier post) has attracted US$18 million in Series B financing from investors led by China-focused venture capital firm Qiming Ventures. LanzaTech uses proprietary bacteria to convert industrial waste gases into fuels and chemicals. The financing follows LanzaTech’s signing with Baosteel,... Read more →


Schematic diagram of the two-stage pyrolysis-gasification experimental system. Credit: ACS, Elbaba et al.Click to enlarge. A team at the University of Leeds (UK) is investigating hydrogen production from waste tires using a two-stage pyrolysis-gasification reactor and Ni-Mg-Al (1:1:1) catalyst. A paper describing their work was published online 10 June in... Read more →


Successful Engineering Validation Flight of US Commercial Jet Using 40:60 Synthetic Jet Fuel Blend

United Airlines has conducted a successful engineering validation flight using Rentech’s certified synthetic jet fuel (RenJet). The validation flight was conducted using a 40:60 mix of Rentech’s synthetic jet fuel with conventional Jet A fuel in one of two engines on an Airbus 319 aircraft. The aircraft departed Denver International... Read more →


NETL Soliciting R&D Projects for Co-Production of Power, Fuels, and Chemicals via Coal/Biomass Mixtures

The US Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) has issued a new Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) soliciting research projects that will address key challenges related to the utilization of coal-biomass mixtures for co-production of power and hydrogen, fuels, and/or chemicals. NETL estimates total program funding for the cooperative... Read more →


Left: PRENFLO PDQ gasifier. Right: Flow diagram of the PRENFLO PDQ process. Click to enlarge. Uhde is contributing its proprietary PRENFLO gasification process with direct quench to the French BioTfueL research project (earlier post). BioTfueL is integrating the various technology stages of the biomass-to-liquid process with the intention of commercialization.... Read more →


ECP Developing Plasma-Assisted Compact Fischer-Tropsch Gas-to-Liquids System

France-based ECP is developing compact plasma-assisted gas-to-liquids (GTL) technology based on the use of a Compact Plate Reformer and high-temperature iron catalyst. ECP’s Dr. Albin Czernichowski, a professor with the University of Orleans, France, presented two papers on different aspects of the system today at the 239th National Meeting of... Read more →


ClearFuels to Develop Co-Located Commercial-Scale Biorefinery for Renewable Jet or Diesel Production in Tennessee

Biomass-to-liquids company ClearFuels Technology Inc. and Hughes Hardwood International, Inc. have executed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) regarding the development of a commercial scale biorefinery facility for the production of renewable jet or diesel fuel. The renewable energy facility will be co-located with Hughes Hardwood’s wood component products manufacturing facility... Read more →


The Enerkem process has four steps: feedstock pre-treatment; gasification; syngas conditioning; and conversion. Click to enlarge. Waste Management has made a strategic investment in Enerkem, a developer of a thermochemical (gasification and catalytic synthesis) process to produce synthetic fuels and chemicals from biomass and waste, as part of Enerkem’s new... Read more →


Peabody Energy and GreatPoint Energy To Partner on Coal-to-Gas and Coal-to-Hydrogen Facilities with Carbon Capture and Storage

Overview of the bluegas catalytic coal methanation process. Click to enlarge. Peabody Energy and GreatPoint Energy signed an agreement to pursue development of coal-to-gas and coal-to-hydrogen projects in the United States and around the world with carbon capture and storage (CCS) that would achieve near-zero carbon emissions, while increasing the... Read more →


British Airways, in partnership with the Solena Group, will establish Europe’s first plant for sustainable jet-fuel and plans to use the low-carbon fuel to power part of its fleet from 2014. The plant will gasify waste biomass, and use a Fischer-Tropsch process to convert the resulting syngas to biojet fuel... Read more →


ClearFuels Adds BNP Paribas to Commercial Development Team for BTL Diesel and Jet Fuel Biorefineries

ClearFuels Technology Inc. has executed a letter of engagement with BNP Paribas to act as financial advisor to assist and support ClearFuels in securing senior secured debt financing for its commercial thermochemical Biomass-to-Liquids (BTL) biorefinery projects. The agreement calls for BNP Paribas to assist and support ClearFuels with the analytical... Read more →


Overview of Syntec’s B2A process. Click to enlarge. Syntec Biofuel Inc. has entered into a joint development program with the Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) at the University of North Dakota (UND) in Grand Forks for converting a wide variety of biomass and waste into bio-butanol. The core process... Read more →


Catalytic performance on the bifunctional catalysts. CZA is unpromoted, CZA-Zr is promoted with Zr; CZA-Ga is promoted with Ga. Credit: ACS. Click to enlarge. Researchers at the Petroleum Displacement Technology Research Center, Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology (KRICT), have developed new bi-functional catalysts, promoted with Zr (Zirconium) or Ga... Read more →


Underground Coal Gasification Company In Partnership to Test Alkaline Fuel Cells for Power Generation

Australia-based underground coal gasification (UCG) company Linc Energy (earlier post) has signed an exclusive agreement with the UK-based alkaline fuel cell technology company AFC Energy Plc and its related company, B9 Coal (earlier post). The agreement gives Linc Energy the exclusive right to test the AFC Fuel Cell Technology on... Read more →


Schematic diagram of the coupled steam hydrogasification and reforming process. Source: Raju et al. Click to enlarge. The California Energy Commission has awarded a $1-million grant to UC Riverside’s College of Engineering-Center for Environmental Research and Technology (CE-CERT) to build a process demonstration unit (PDU) to convert waste biosolids to... 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 →


Coskata’s semi-commercial facility in Madison, Pa. Click to enlarge. Coskata Inc., a syngas to ethanol company, officially launched its semi-commercial “Flexethanol” facility located in Madison, PA. The site represents the successful scale-up of the company’s feedstock-flexible bio-thermochemical technology, and will serve as a springboard for the construction of Coskata commercial... Read more →


Underground coal gasification uses paired wells in a coal seam: one an oxidant injection well, the other the syngas producer well. Source: CIRI. Click to enlarge. Cook Inlet Region Inc. (CIRI), an Alaska Native corporation, is proposing an underground coal gasification (UCG) project that would use the resulting syngas to... Read more →


Swedish Energy R&D Board Awards Up To US$72M to Chemrec for BioDME and Biomethanol Demo

The Swedish Energy R&D Board will provide an investment grant for the demonstration at industrial scale of the Chemrec technology for production of the renewable motor fuels BioDME (dimethyl ether) and Biomethanol. The new plant will be built at the Domsjö Fabriker biorefinery in Örnsköldsvik. (The biorefinery Domsjö Fabriker produces... Read more →


Shell Coal Gasification Process. Source: Shell. Click to enlarge. Shell (China) Limited and Shenhua Coal to Liquid and Chemical Co. Ltd. (Shenhua) have agreed to seek opportunities for conducting joint research and development in advanced coal technology. Additionally, Shell Global Solutions International B.V. (Shell) also qualified three Chinese companies for... 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 →


Rentech to Supply Up to 1.5M Gallons Per Year of Renewable Synthetic Diesel to Eight Airlines for Ground Service Equipment Operations at Los Angeles International Airport

Rentech, Inc. has signed a multi-year agreement to supply eight airlines with up to 1.5 million gallons per year of renewable synthetic diesel (RenDiesel) for ground service equipment operations at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) beginning in late 2012, when the plant that will produce the fuel is scheduled to... Read more →


Overview of project area. Click to enlarge. Chemrec’s pulp mill-integrated BioDME (dimethyl ether) biorefinery demonstration plant project will break ground in September in Piteå, Sweden, with expected biofuel production by mid-2010. The project will demonstrate the production of BioDME for use as a renewable fuel in diesel engines from forest... Read more →


The RTI/Eastman syngas cleanup technology platform. Click to enlarge. Extending a relationship of more than a decade, the US Department of Energy (DOE) and Research Triangle Institute (RTI) International will collaborate on a project designed to advance the development of coal power plants with near-zero emissions by reducing the cost... Read more →


The Chinchilla Demonstration Facility combines UCG and GTL technologies Click to enlarge. During the first half of 2009, the Linc Energy Limited Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) to Liquids demonstration plant at Chinchilla (earlier post) ran four major production campaigns each of which has seen further improvements in plant performance, according... Read more →


Rentech Takes 25% Stake in Biomass Gasification Company

Rentech, the developer of a Fischer-Tropsch process for the conversion of syngas derived from biomass and fossil resources into synthetic fuels, specialty waxes and chemicals, has acquired a 25% stake in ClearFuels Technology Inc. through a strategic investment. ClearFuels, established in 1998, has exclusive rights to a proprietary High Efficiency... Read more →


Overview of the PEM process. Click to enlarge. Waste Management, Inc. and InEnTec LLC (earlier post) have formed S4 Energy Solutions LLC, a joint venture to develop, operate and market plasma gasification facilities using InEnTec’s Plasma Enhanced Melter (PEM) technology. The joint venture is expected to process waste from the... Read more →


Schema of synfuel synthesis through solar-driven biomass gasification. Solar energy produces both heat for gasification and H2 via electrolysis. From Hertwich et al. (2009) Click to enlarge. Researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) are proposing a new process for producing synfuel from biomass using concentrating solar... Read more →


Diesel Brewing to Manufacture Cellulosic Biobutanol from Biomass and Manure With Thermochemical Process

Oregon-based Diesel Brewing has launched an initiative to manufacture cellulosic biobutanol from biomass and dairy farm manure. Biobutanol can be blended into conventional gasoline or diesel stocks without engine modifications. Compared to ethanol, it has higher energy content, is substantially less corrosive, and can be transported utilizing existing fuel pipelines... Read more →


Simplified UCG process. Click to enlarge. The Government of Alberta, Canada, through the Alberta Energy Research Institute (AERI), is providing C$8.83 million (US$7.0 million) toward a $30-million underground coal gasification (UCG) project with Swan Hills Synfuels of Calgary. Swan Hills Synfuels expects the project to demonstrate the ability to manufacture... Read more →


Iowa State Researchers Developing New Thermochemical System for Ethanol Production from Biomass

Researchers at Iowa State University are developing a new thermochemical system for the coproduction of ethanol and thermal energy, based on a new low-emissions burner and a new catalyst for ethanol production. Both technologies will use the synthesis gas—a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen—produced by the gasification of discarded... Read more →


Biosyncrude Gasification Process Could Produce Motor Fuel at Cost of Around $3/gallon

Overview of the Bioliq process. Source: Henrich et al. Click to enlarge. The Bioliq biosyncrude gasification process (earlier post) used in a large plant with a capacity of > 1 Mt/a can produce biosynfuel for about €1.04 per kg or €0.8 per liter (US$3.08/gallon US), according to an analysis by... Read more →


Idaho National Lab Developing Highly Carbon-Efficient Biomass-to-Liquids Process Combining High Temperature Steam Electrolysis and Biomass Gasification

Overview of the Bio-Syntrolysis process. Source: INL. Click to enlarge. Researchers at Idaho National Laboratory (INL) are developing a process—Bio-Syntrolysis—that combines high temperature steam electrolysis (HTSE) and biomass gasification to produce syngas for subsequent conversion into synthetic fuels and chemicals. The process results in the highly efficient conversion of biomass... Read more →


TransGas Development Systems to Build $3B CTL Plant in West Virginia; 6.5M Barrels of Gasoline Per Year

Flow diagram of the PRENFLO gasification process with direct quench (PDQ) to be used in the TransGas plant. Click to enlarge. TransGas Development Systems LLC (TGDS) plans to build a $3B coal-to-liquids (CTL) plant in Mingo County, West Virginia, according to company announcement made during the West Virginia Energy Summit.... Read more →


Synthesis Energy Systems Enters JV with YIMA for Coal Gasification in China; Financing Key, as SES Halts Synthetic Gasoline Project in US

Synthesis Energy Systems, Inc. (SES), a gasification company, entered into a primary joint venture agreement with YIMA Coal Croup, a China integrated coal company, for the development of a coal gasification plant which will provide syngas feedstock for the downstream production of transportation fuels and chemicals intermediates in Henan Province,... Read more →


Researchers Propose Dual-Bed Configuration to Increase Efficiency and Reduce Emissions from Coal Gasification

Scheme of the gasification process with air using two reactors. Click to enlarge. Credit: ACS Researchers in Italy are proposing a new dual-bed configuration for coal gasification that, in laboratory simulations of Coal-to-Liquids production, is 71.1% more energy efficient; increases the mass yield of synthetic fuel by 39.4%; and releases... Read more →


Synthesis Energy Systems Options Up to 15 Methanol-to-Gasoline Technology Licenses for Coal-to-Gasoline Projects

Synthesis Energy Systems, Inc. (SES), a gasification company, has entered into an agreement with ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company that provides SES the option to execute up to 15 Methanol-to-Gasoline (MTG) technology (earlier post) licenses at its U-GAS coal gasification plants globally. MTG is one of several pathways for converting... Read more →


DOE Awards Diversified Energy Corporation Phase II SBIR Award for HydroMax Gasification Technology

HydroMax gasifier and production cycle. Click to enlarge. The US Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded Diversified Energy Corporation (DEC) a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II grant to continue the development and commercialization of its HydroMax advanced gasification technology. (Earlier post.) The 24-month, $945,000 grant resulted from a... Read more →


Alter NRG Proposing Canada’s First Coal-to-Liquids Project

Cross-section of the WPC Plasma Gasification Reactor. Click to enlarge. Alter NRG Corp. is proposing a Coal-to-Liquids (CTL) project that will use the company’s coal reserves in the Fox Creek Area of Alberta, Canada as a feedstock to produce synthetic diesel fuel and naphtha. The project, with a targeted production... Read more →


INEOS Bio to Commercialize BRI Thermochemical/Biochemical Waste-to-Ethanol Process

The INEOS Bio waste-to-ethanol process. Click to enlarge. INEOS, the world’s third largest chemical company, has formed INEOS Bio to commercialize and license a thermochemical and biochemical process from Bioengineering Resources, Inc. (BRI) (earlier post) for the production of biofuel, renewable power and chemical intermediates from a wide range of... Read more →


Fulcrum BioEnergy to Build First Municipal Solid Waste-to-Ethanol Plant in Nevada

Fulcrum BioEnergy, Inc. plans to build its first commercial-scale thermochemical plant for converting municipal solid waste (MSW) to ethanol at the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center in Storey County, Nevada. The project is expected to cost approximately $120 million and is set to enter construction by the end of this year. When... Read more →


Dow and NREL Partner on Thermochemical Conversion of Biomass to Ethanol and Other Chemical Building Blocks

Process flow diagram with research barriers for cost-competitive thermochemical ethanol production. Click to enlarge. Source: NREL The Dow Chemical Company (Dow) and the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) are jointly developing and evaluating a thermochemical process that will convert biomass to ethanol and other chemical building... Read more →


GreenField Ethanol and Enerkem Partner on Commercial MSW-to-Ethanol Facility in Alberta

Enerkem’s four-step process uses gasification and catalytic synthesis to convert waste to liquid fuels. Click to enlarge. The city of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, has signed a 25-year agreement with GreenField Ethanol, Canada’s largest ethanol producer and Enerkem, the developer of a thermochemical (gasification and catalytic synthesis) process to produce synthetic... Read more →


GM Pushes for Ethanol; Update on Cellulosic Biofuels Partner Coskata

Cellulosic ethanol producer Coskata has rapidly brought its microbes to levels of commercial productivity with the assistance of genomic analysis that identified optimized nutritional pathways. Click to enlarge. Source: Coskata General Motors is picking up the pace on its steady push for the adoption of ethanol as a major alternative... Read more →


Coskata Chooses Site for Demo Syngas-to-Ethanol Plant

Coskata will use WPC plasma torches for the initial gasification of feedstock. Coskata proprietary microorganisms will ferment the cooled syngas to ethanol. Click to enlarge. Coskata Inc., a developer of syngas-to-ethanol technology, has announced the location of a 40,000 gallon per year cellulosic ethanol pilot plant. The $25 million project... Read more →


Syntec Catalytic Synthesis Process Yields 105 Gallons of Alcohols Per Ton of Biomass

Syntec Biofuel Inc has achieved a yield of 105 gallons of alcohols (ethanol, methanol, n-butanol and n-propanol) per ton of biomass. In 2006, the company had targeted a yield of approximately 113 gallons per ton. The Syntec Biomass to Alcohols (B2A) technology (earlier post), initially developed at the University of... Read more →


ZeaChem In Long-Term Poplar Tree Feedstock Supply Agreement for Biorefinery

Elements of the ZeaChem process. Click to enlarge. ZeaChem, Inc. and GreenWood Resources, Inc. (GWR) signed a non-binding Letter of Intent for the supply of poplar tree (Pacific Albus) feedstock under a long-term agreement to support the operation of an initial 1.5 million gallon per year (MGPY) ZeaChem cellulosic biorefinery... Read more →


Coskata Forms Strategic Alliance with ICM for Design and Construction of Syngas Fermentation Ethanol Plant

Coskata Inc., the second-generation ethanol startup with which GM announced a partnership and investment at the Detroit Auto Show (earlier post), has entered a strategic alliance with ICM, Inc. to design and construct a commercial ethanol plant using Coskata’s syngas fermentation technology. ICM is North America’s leading ethanol plant design,... Read more →


GM and Coskata Partner In Syngas-to-Ethanol Technology

The Coskata process can combine a variety of gasification technologies with Coskata proprietary microorganisms and bioreactors. Click to enlarge. Emphasizing on one hand the importance of ethanol as a shorter-term solution to reducing oil dependence and emissions, and on the other to coming up with alternatives to corn-based ethanol, GM... Read more →


FutureGen Plant to Be Sited in Mattoon, Illinois

Overview of technologies and process for the FutureGen coal plant. Click to enlarge. The FutureGen Alliance has selected Mattoon, Illinois as the site to host the FutureGen power plant. FutureGen is a prototype coal-based plant intended to establish the technical feasibility and economic viability of co-producing electricity and hydrogen from... Read more →