WASHINGTON, Nov. 11, 2015 - Vertimass recently received third-party validation for its technology that converts ethanol to hydrocarbons for blending with gasoline, diesel and jet fuels. The validation enabled the company to gain a $2 million award from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technology Office that will allow it to move forward with a two-year plan to scale up to a commercial level.
The technology, developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, uses novel catalysts that can produce renewable chemicals and convert a wide range of alcohols into hydrocarbon blend stocks that can then be used in existing gasoline, diesel and jet engines without modifications. The technology offers a new pathway to enhance the use of biomass-derived renewable fuels, says Vertimass.
“We are excited to clear this critical milestone with the Department of Energy and can now take the next step toward scaling up this novel technology,” says Charles Wyman, Vertimass president and chief executive officer. “This technology validation further proves the effectiveness and novelty of this technology, and through this DOE award, we intend to work with Technip to ready the technology for introduction into existing and emerging ethanol facilities within two years, thereby significantly expanding the market for renewable transportation fuels.”
Technip is a Paris-based company that carries out project management, engineering and construction for the energy industry.
Vertimass says that the new one-step process “can be easily bolted onto existing ethanol production facilities, resulting in low capital costs” and that, due to a low pressure and moderate temperature reaction, there is no need to add hydrogen or other additives. Vertimass expects its catalyst-based technology to offer ethanol producers the ability to shift production in response to market changes. The company say its new process will break the blend wall that now impedes further ethanol sales and open up new alcohol markets for heavy-duty vehicles and air travel as well as chemicals. “This technology has the potential to change the transportation fuels landscape and has tremendously positive environmental impacts,” says Wyman.
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