Des Plaines, IL (April 17, 2012) $2.00 a gallon gasoline may be a thing of the past but with IH2 Technology, it can also be part of the very near future.
Today, Gas Technology Institute (GTI) hosted an open house at its new Pilot-Scale IH2 Plant in Chicago, Illinois to demonstrate the successful efforts to broaden biomass-to-liquid hydrocarbon fuel conversion.
The IH2 Technology is a catalytic thermochemical process that promises to be a very cost-effective route to produce liquid transportation fuels from renewable resources. Based on assessments and calculations by National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the technology has the capability to produce fuel with a U.S. Department of Energy estimated selling price of less than $2.00/gallon in commercial production.
The IH2 process can convert virtually any type of non-food biomass feedstock—such as wood, agricultural residues, algae, aquatic plants and solid waste - to a liquid transportation fuel that is interchangeable with crude-oil-derived fuels and is compatible with current fueling and vehicle infrastructure. In this way, the IH2 process differs from other biofuel technologies that produce crude or oxygen-containing intermediates that need substantial upgrading to meet current specifications for transportation fuels.
Using non-food biomass as a feedstock also allows IH2 to address two major concerns of the global economy – feeding and fueling the world’s growing populations. IH2 technology does not compete with the public food supply to provide the fuel needed for transportation markets.
In his welcoming remarks, David Carroll, GTI President and CEO notes, “One critical issue we're tackling is the creation of sustainable energy that can help meet U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) obligations. The IH2 technology promises to be a cost-effective route to produce liquid transportation fuel from renewable resources, with the potential to convert biomass feedstock directly into gasoline, diesel and jet fuel.”
“The versatility in feedstocks that can be used allows for regional production using local resources—good for our economies, the environment, and beneficial to energy security. The technology could increase the supply of economical and sustainable transportation fuels and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector.”
GTI has licensed the IH2 technology to CRI Catalyst Company (CRI), a company headquartered in Houston, TX, for worldwide deployment. The timeline to market is short, with commercial introduction expected in early 2014.
“Before new technologies can effectively compete for a presence in the market, the potential economic advantage has to be compelling along with a high probability of success,” adds Vann Bush, GTI Managing Director of Energy Conversion. “Our collaboration with CRI is providing the necessary results to reduce market and technology risk. CRI provided much of the funding for the new pilot plant….They will commercialize the technology and deploy it worldwide.”
Pilot plant operation is a critical step along the IH2 technology commercialization pathway, as it provides valuable information to confirm and refine commercial design. In the two months that the IH2 pilot plant has been on line, the basic design principles have been validated.
The pilot plant studies will provide validation of the operational and performance factors which are key to achieving commercial deployment in 2014, when total advanced biofuels RFS mandates are 3.75 billion gallons. Woody biomass has been successfully fed through the IH2 pilot plant, and has been converted to gasoline, kerosene and diesel product, comparable to those produced in the R&D project phase. Subsequent testing will proceed with a variety of feedstocks in support of U.S. Department of Energy projects and potential technology licensors.
Alan Del Paggio, CRI Vice President, Upstream and Renewables stated, “This pilot plant aims to demonstrate the IH2 process as a differentiated biofuels technology. The process is designed to have low environmental impact. Since the commercial IH2 technology produces its own hydrogen and a surplus of water to be self-sufficient, it can operate in a stand-alone configuration anywhere there is sufficient biomass feed for conversion. Independent life cycle analyses conducted by Michigan Technology University have shown the process can achieve >90% greenhouse gas reductions in comparison to fossil fuels with common feedstocks.”
In attendance at the Open House were representatives from many of GTI’s IH2 project participants who received a first-hand view of the pilot plant and collection of hydrocarbons prepared from woody biomass. GTI’s funding support for the IH2 process, R&D and preliminary engineering for testing in the laboratory and pilot plant was provided by the U.S. Department of Energy (EERE Office of Biomass Program). Other team members that have also provided financial support and contributed to the success of the project include CRI, Cargill, Johnson Timber, Parabel, Aquaflow, Blue Marble Energy, National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Michigan Technological University.
About Gas Technology Institute (GTI)
GTI is a leading research, development, demonstration and training organization that has been addressing the nation’s energy and environmental challenges by developing technology-based solutions for consumers, industry, and government for more than 70 years. Website: www.gastechnology.org
About CRI Catalyst Company and CRI/Criterion Inc.
CRI Catalyst Company (“CRI”) is a wholly owned affiliate of CRI/Criterion Inc. (“C/C”). CRI and C/C are headquartered in Houston. C/C and/or its affiliates supply advanced catalysts, services, and technology solutions to the global refining, petrochemical and renewable fuel communities and they operate research laboratories, development facilities, manufacturing plants and business units throughout the world. They are dedicated to providing a broad customer base with effective and cost-efficient catalysts and technologies. CRI has a range of products with specific focus on environmental applications, hydrogen separation and recovery, selective oxidation and hydrogenation and the production of renewable fuels. Website: www.cricatalyst.com