Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy, has developed a technology to turn ethanol into fuels for high-end applications. Vertimass LLC scaled up this newly invented technology. The fuel produced is suitable for use in the shipping and aviation industries. The price of the fuel expected to be competitive with regards to conventional fuels. The new technology will also holds the benefits of sustainability of bio-based ethanol.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory worked together with Vertimass LLC, licensee of the technology. Meanwhile, the study involved researchers from 10 other institutions. They worked together on sustainability of the life cycle and techno-economic analysis of this procedure. The process exhibited how a single step is capable of converting ethanol into hydrocarbon blendstocks. This product can be added to the gasoline, diesel, or jet fuels to diminish emissions of greenhouse gases. This newly invented technology is named Consolidated Dehydration and Oligomerization (CADO).
The Technology Offers Promise of Carbon-neutral Clean Burning Fuel
The analysis exhibits that this one step procedure used for conversion of vapor of wet ethanol is capable of producing blendstocks priced at US$2/gigajoule now. The price could go up to US$1.44/ gigajoule shortly. The entire process is a refined one and the pricing includes both annualized capital and operating costs. As such, the price of blendstock stands competitive with other conventional jet fuels extracted from oil. The other renewable fuels cost as much as US$60/barrel and lead to some price parity.
The conversion procedure of fuel employs zeolite, which is a kind of catalyst. It directly produces loner chains of hydrocarbons from the actual alcohol, which is ethanol in this case. This procedure substitutes the traditional multi-step processes with another procedure that makes use of less energy. The procedure is highly efficient as well.
These biofuels promise to offer carbon-neutral and clean burning renewable sources of energy, which is the need of the hour now for prevention of environmental pollution. The analysis published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.