Many technological alternatives to petroleum-derived fuels have been explored, and with good reason. Limited energy supplies, oil pricing volatility and environmental concerns have converged to create one of the greatest challenges of our time. Nearly $700 billion is being invested in pursuit of diminishing petroleum, including newer and even riskier practices to obtain “unconventional oil” from oil sands and oil shale.
Joule offers an entirely new alternative: a CO2-to-fuel production platform with no upstream exploration or downstream refining required.
Our advantages include the following.
Conversion Technology Breakthroughs
Joule’s CO2-to-liquids conversion technology is the first of its kind, applying product-specific bacteria to continously convert waste CO2 into targeted fuels or chemicals. These living catalysts are self-replicating before a “carbon switch” diverts nearly 100% of the carbon from cell growth to fuel production. We have developed a library of catalysts, each one optimized for production of a desired end product. In addition, our combined advances in catalyst engineering, solar capture and process engineering result in high CO2-to-product conversion efficiency. For technical details, view a peer-reviewed research paper here.
Abundant Inputs, Valuable Outputs
Unlike fuels that are dependent on diminishing resources or process-intensive biomass, Joule’s process requires only sunlight, waste CO2 and non-potable water, avoiding complex processing altogether. With readily available low-cost feedstocks, our platform can be tailored to produce specific products simply by exchanging the catalyst. These products include infrastructure-ready ethanol and hydrocarbons for diesel, jet fuel and gasoline – all produced above ground with no “crude” intermediates or refining.
Modular, Scalable System
Joule plants feature a completely integrated production process, from catalyst construction to product generation, separation and storage. At the heart of this process is the modular SolarConverter® system, which enables direct conversion of CO2 to fuels and chemicals in a single step. The system is designed for ease of installation and expansion in modular increments, making it readily scalable and customizable to targeted output levels based on solar insolation and availability of non-arable land, non-potable water and waste CO2.
Joule produces in minutes what conventional oil takes millions of years, avoiding the extreme complexity, volatile resources and escalating risks of fossil fuel production. At full-scale commercialization, a 10,000 acre Joule plant will produce a reserve value of 50 million barrels, equaling a medium-sized oil field. Yet unlike crude oil, Joule Sunflow® fuels require no upstream exploration or downstream refining.
The efficiencies of Joule’s process and system will allow us to meet or beat the costs of fossil fuels. We expect to deliver Joule Sunflow®-E and Joule Sunflow®-D for approximately $1.20/US gallon ($50/barrel).
With plentiful basic inputs, single-step production and a process that avoids depletion of precious natural resources, our platform represents the height of sustainability. And without feedstock or land constraints, our platform is suitable for deployment in many regions of the world, creating the opportunity to localize fuel production and reduce the burden of oil imports.
Robust Intellectual Property Portfolio
Spanning eight years of research and development, Joule has achieved many significant technical milestones related to our catalysts, process and site hardware. This results in the development of a broad-based, multifaceted IP estate covering core technologies and products, spanning the US, Europe, Australia, Mexico and China. We currently hold 64 patents and allowances, plus 95+ applications pending.