Joule Extends Solar CO2-Conversion Platform to Produce Renewable Gasoline and Jet Fuel
Enables industrial CO2 emitters to profit from applying waste streams for lucrative fuel markets
Advanced Biofuels Leadership Conference – Washington DC – April 15, 2013 – Joule today announced another industry first in renewable fuel production: the 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.
To date, renewable hydrocarbon-based fuel substitutes have required the complex, multi-step conversion of algal or other agricultural biomass feedstocks into fuel pre-cursors, and subsequent chemical upgrading. In contrast, 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 William J. Sims, President and CEO of Joule. “Today’s news marks another significant accomplishment in this regard, enabling production of renewable fuels that can supplant meaningful amounts – not small fractions – of fossil-derived gasoline and jet fuel.”
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, requiring significant capital cost of $10 billion and additional annual operating cost of $2.4 billion for refiners, according to the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM). Instead, Joule Sunflow-G would seamlessly cut sulfur content by comprising a substantial portion of the final product.
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, requiring only adequate sunlight, access to waste CO2 and non-potable water.
Mr. Sims will present Joule’s latest developments at the Advanced Biofuels Leadership Conference, taking place today through Wednesday in Washington DC. Additional information about the conference is available at http://www.advancedbiofuelssummit.com.
Joule capitalizes on the global abundance of waste CO2 to economically produce renewable fuels and chemicals. The company’s Sunflow™ products drop into conventional fuel blendstock in high percentages, displacing more oil than biofuels and allowing seamless adoption. Manufactured without feedstock constraints or complex processing, Sunflow fuels achieve high volumes and low costs with no dependence on subsidies or precious natural resources. Through its subsidiaries, Joule Unlimited Technologies and Joule Fuels, the company advances both technology development and commercial deployment to achieve market impact as soon as 2015. Joule is privately held and has operations in Bedford, Massachusetts; Hobbs, New Mexico; and The Hague, Netherlands.