IRVINE, Calif. (November 25, 2019) – Vertimass is pleased to announce the publication of a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, which summarizes key attributes of Vertimass’ unique technology for the conversion of alcohols into hydrocarbons which are compatible for blending with jet, gasoline, and diesel fuels. The paper outlines the simple, low-cost approach and reports major technological advances, cost advantages, and carbon reduction benefits from transforming renewable ethanol into liquid fuels.
To access this paper, please visit: https://www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1821684116
A team from Vertimass LLC, Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College, Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), Boeing, the Brazilian Bioethanol Science and Technology Laboratory (CTBE), the Brazilian Center for Research in Energy and Materials (CNPEM), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Imperial College, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Pennsylvania State University, and the University of California Riverside contributed to the report.
“This paper results from a tremendous collaborative effort among academic, government, and industry experts,” Vertimass COO Dr. John Hannon, the lead author of the paper stated. “We look forward to rapidly commercializing this unique technology for production of renewable jet, gasoline, and diesel fuel blendstocks that can mitigate climate change.”
This peer-reviewed journal article reports significant recent engineering advances in the Vertimass catalytic conversion of ethanol to fungible hydrocarbon fuel blendstocks that was greatly accelerated through cost sharing by the BioEnergy Technology Office (BETO) of the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office (EERE) within the US Department of Energy. The paper also reports on the favorable impacts of these improvements on the competitiveness and greenhouse gas emissions of this simple technology. Unlike prior processes for converting alcohols into hydrocarbons with multiple steps for dehydration, oligomerization, and hydrogenation, the Vertimass consolidated alcohol dehydration and oligomerization (CADO) conversion is accomplished in a single reactor system using a metal exchanged zeolite catalyst.
Through the ability to process vapor containing about 40% ethanol in water that is released when fermentation streams are volatilized, overall CADO costs for conversion of wet ethanol into the hydrocarbon blendstocks are estimated at $2.00/GJ today with the potential to drop to $1.44/GJ in the near future. These predicted unit energy costs are similar to those estimated for removing water from the same ethanol vapor to meet fuel grade requirements ($1.46/GJ). Increased oil prices or current production incentives make Vertimass fuel cost competitive, and CADO-derived hydrocarbon blendstocks pass on greenhouse gas emission reductions of the ethanol feedstock.
Professor Lee Lynd of Dartmouth College, who assembled the team of experts contributing to the paper and provided leadership in its development, noted that, “This report shows how ethanol, in addition to being a valuable fuel for cars, can be an effective intermediate for sustainable production of low cost fuels for air travel and heavy duty vehicles. The integration of biological and catalytic technologies shown here reflects the power of such hybrid systems.”
Vertimass President and CEO Dr. Charles Wyman noted, “Vertimass is thrilled to have the opportunity to share the significant progress made in this groundbreaking technology and its implications to substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions at a low cost. Furthermore, the simplicity of the technology coupled with the ability to be quickly scaled up and bolted onto existing ethanol production processes make rapid impact possible.”
Tom Mullen, Vertimass Executive Vice President added, “This unique approach can help the airline industry, fuel producers, vehicle manufacturers, governments, and others committed to reducing our carbon footprint. We are particularly delighted that the Vertimass technology can help our home state of California meet its aggressive greenhouse gas reduction goals.”
About Vertimass LLC
Vertimass LCC is based in Irvine, Calif. The mission of Vertimass LLC is to develop and widely license breakthrough technologies that substantially expand production of sustainable transportation fuels and chemicals that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve energy security and domestic economies. Commercialization of proprietary Vertimass technology can overcome the blend wall that currently impedes expansion of ethanol production from multiple sources of biomass and open up large new markets for aircraft and heavy-duty vehicle fuels and for chemicals not currently amenable to ethanol. For more information, visit http://www.vertimass.com/
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