An agreement between Texas Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) and Byogy Renewables Inc, has renewed hopes of a future where gasoline prices are back within everyone’s grasp. And according to those involved, the process could become a reality within the next two years.
“This technology is important because it addresses many issues – eliminating waste, producing economical fuel quickly and being friendly to our environment,” said Dr. Kenneth Hall, associate director of TEES. “It’s a win-win for industry and consumers. Furthermore, this technology is ready to be commercialized now and does not require any new scientific or technological breakthroughs to become a reality.”
Hall, also the Jack E. & Frances Brown Chair and professor in the Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering at Texas A&M University, developed the process of converting biomass to high-octane gasoline with colleagues Mark T. Holtzapple, a professor in chemical engineering, and Sergio A. Capareda, a professor in biological and agricultural engineering.
The team believes that the “advanced process is possibly the only integrated system that converts biomass directly to gasoline,” rather than requiring a third step like many other processes, that convert biomass in to alcohol before blending it with gasoline. The process makes use of a range of materials including garbage, biosolids from wastewater treatment plants, green waste such as lawn clippings, food waste, and any type of livestock manure.
This new process also has additional benefits, apart from its apparent ease of production. It does not require food crops such as corn, thus it will not put a strain on food supplies. The process could also utilize non-food/feed crops grown specifically for biomass energy. In addition, as mentioned above by Hall, the technology already exists to make it commercially feasible.
“Our goal with this technology is to achieve as much as a 2 percent contribution to the nation¿s gasoline demand by 2022 through the building of 200 more bio-refineries,” said Benjamin J. Brant, President and Chief Technology Officer of Byogy. “We firmly believe the TEES technology combined with the Byogy team offers this possibility.”