The Competitive Edge: Vertimass LLC

March 19, 2020 |

Q: What was the reason for founding your organization – what was the open niche you saw that could be addressed with a new product or service? What was the problem, or gap, or opportunity?

Vertimass seeks to commercialize novel catalytic technology for low cost conversion of ethanol into hydrocarbon fuels to overcome obstacles that limit ethanol use in gasoline for light duty vehicles and open up new ethanol markets for aircraft and heavy-duty vehicles as well as for chemicals. Vertimass plans to partner with ethanol producers to integrate this technology into existing ethanol plants (current U.S. production ~ 14 billion gallons/year) as rapidly as possible to overcome the blend wall and provide market flexibility.

This novel catalyst can also help the airline industry achieve their targets to substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Overall, Vertimass technology has the potential to expand opportunities to use ethanol from corn in the United States, cane sugar in Brazil, and cellulosic biomass worldwide.

Q: Tell us about your organization. What do you do?

Vertimass LLC was awarded a worldwide exclusive license for novel catalyst technology invented at Oak Ridge National Laboratory for the conversion of ethanol into jet fuel, diesel fuel, and gasoline blendstocks that are compatible with the current transportation fuel infrastructure. These blendstocks are anticipated to qualify for the Renewable Fuel Standard at the same level as the ethanol used as the feedstock. The technology can also inexpensively convert ethanol into renewable chemicals.

Q: What stage of development are you?

Demonstration stage – proven at small, integrated scale, but not yet commercially available.

Q: What do your technologies, products or services do and accomplish – how does it (they) work, who is it (they) aimed for?

The Vertimass process for transforming ethanol into hydrocarbons benefits from:

  • Simplicity,
  • Virtually complete conversion of ethanol into hydrocarbons,
  • No hydrogen addition,
  • Production of minimal light gases,
  • Mild (relatively low temperature and atmospheric pressure) operating conditions,
  • Ability to process 5% to 100% ethanol concentrations,
  • Product flexibility to respond to changing market demands,
  • Bolt onto to existing ethanol plants with very low capital and operating costs,
  • Potential ability to replace dehydration and rectification,
  • Potential to reduce energy and water use for ethanol production, and
  • Potential to increase corn grind or other feedstock feed rates to existing processes

Q: Competitively, what gives your technology, product or service set an edge in cost or performance, sustainability, or any other aspect, that makes it stand out from the crowd, In short, what makes it transformative?

The primary advantage of the technology is that it revolves about a one stage conversion of ethanol to hydrocarbons without adding hydrogen. The result is low capital and operating costs and the ability to rapidly add on the process to ethanol plants.

Q: What are the 3 top milestones you have accomplished in the past 3 years?

  1. Improved liquid product yields from about 36% to over 80%.
  2. Scaled up the process by a factor of 300.
  3. Demonstrated high yields with commercially relevant catalyst formulations.

Q: What are the 3 top milestones you will accomplish in the next 3 years?

  1. Complete demonstration of the technology to provide platform from which process can be directly scaled up to commercial scale.
  2. Qualify fuel for blending with gasoline and diesel fuels and complete most of steps for jet fuel qualification.
  3. Construct and operate one or more commercial plants.

Q. Where can I learn more about Vertimass LLC?

Click here to visit Vertimass LLC’s website.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Category: Top Stories

Thank you for visting the Digest.