Vertimass, DOE validate benchmarks, process design for high-yield alcohol-to-fuels technology 

In California, Vertimass completed its DOE technology validation that verifies the benchmark performance, initial process design and preliminary cost information for a new award of $2 million by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technology Office. This achievement allows Vertimass to move fully forward with building the foundation from which to begin scale up within two years of its transformational technology for converting ethanol into hydrocarbons for blending with gasoline, diesel and jet fuels.

Vertimass technology was originated at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where scientists invented novel catalysts that convert a wide range of alcohols including ethanol and butanol into hydrocarbon blend stocks that can be used in existing gasoline, diesel and jet engines without modifications. Additionally, this process can produce renewable chemicals including benzene, toluene, and xylenes (BTX).

According to Wyman, the simple one-step Vertimass process can be easily bolted onto existing ethanol production facilities, resulting in low capital costs.  Additionally, due to a low pressure and moderate temperature reaction, no need to add hydrogen or other additives, and other advantages compared to prior attempts at alcohol conversion, operating costs are low as well.

“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,” said Dr. 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.”

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