Peer-reviewed article confirms Joule Unlimited's 15,000-gallon-per-acre potential

February 18, 2011 |

In Massachusetts, Joules Unlimited announced that they have supported the high-productivity potential of its production process with the publication of a detailed analysis and model of its solar-to-fuels platform.  As described by Joules, the article entitled, “A New Dawn for Industrial Photosynthesis” is published by Photosynthesis Research and is peer-reviewed.

The article quantitatively affirms the advantages of Joule’s direct conversion process as compared to the indirect production of fuel from biomass, including algae. Though both processes aim to convert solar energy into fuel, the latter method requires the costly culturing, harvesting and processing of algal biomass – a multi-step intermediate stage that Joule’s process avoids.

Moreover, Joule’s process directly yields hydrocarbons that are fungible with existing diesel infrastructure, unlike the biodiesel product that is produced from algal oil.

The article reports finding that based on empirical measurements, Joule can directly produce 15,000 gallons of diesel per acre annually, as compared to 3,000 gallons of biodiesel produced indirectly from algae.  Also highlighted is that the solar-to-product conversion efficiency of Joule’s direct, continuous process for producing diesel, ethanol and chemicals is between 5 and 50 times greater than any biomass-dependent process, and gains additional efficiencies by avoiding downstream refining.

The final highlighted finding was that Joule’s combined advances in genome engineering, solar capture and bioprocessing result in photosynthetic conversion efficiency of more than 7% relative to available yearly solar energy striking the ground, many times greater than prior industry assumptions.

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Category: Fuels

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