Joule demonstrates conversion of waste CO2 into precursors for gasoline, jet fuel

April 16, 2013 |

In Washington DC, at the Advanced Biofuels Leadership Conference (ABLC 2013), Joule President and CEO Bill Sims announced that the company had achieved direct conversion of waste CO2 into the essential components of gasoline and jet fuel. The breakthrough gives Joule the opportunity to expand its Sunflow product line and help address global demand for true hydrocarbon fuel replacements.

In addition, the process uses waste CO2 as a feedstock, allowing industrial emitters to produce valuable fuels rather than discard emissions or employ costly measures for capture and sequestration.

The company reported: “Joule has engineered photosynthetic biocatalysts that convert waste CO2 into hydrocarbons through a patented, continuous process. Joule has been successfully scaling its process for making ethanol (Sunflow-E) while also developing long-chain hydrocarbons for diesel (Sunflow-D). With its latest breakthrough, Joule becomes the first company able to directly produce medium-chain hydrocarbons which are substantial components of gasoline (Sunflow-G) and jet fuel (Sunflow-J).

“Though many technological paths are being pursued to help supplant fossil fuels, the majority have followed the same direction – beginning with biomass feedstocks and facing the well-known challenges of cost and scale along the way. Joule’s solar technology is bypassing these challenges while converting a waste stream into cost-competitive hydrocarbon fuels, which will have far greater and faster impact than low-percentage blendstocks or transportation alternatives that require major infrastructure overhaul,” said Sims.

Joule’s hydrocarbon fuels have the additional benefit of being inherently sulfur-free. For the diesel and gasoline markets, this gives refiners the ability to meet sulfur content requirements without raising production costs or fuel prices. As just announced on March 29, 2013, the US Environmental Protection Agency is seeking to further reduce the sulfur content of gasoline by more than 60% beginning in 2017.

Joule is now commercializing its first product, Sunflow-E, for global availability in early 2015. Construction of the company’s first commercial plants is planned to begin in 2014 in multiple locations worldwide.

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