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Virtent's catalytic biofuel

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What's this? Not much publicity on this process.

 

From my understand Energy Secretary Chu not a big supporter of putting ethanol infrastructures in place. Chu does like biofuels, but he would like a compatible fuel that requires no change in infrastructure. So, he must like a process below.

 

Could it be as simple as a catalytic process to rearrange molecules of ethanol to higher energy density fuel.  A fuel requiring no change for current IC engines or the supply chain? This is what Chu hopes and pushing for.

 

 

Shell, Cargill, Others Pony Up $46 Million for Sugar Gasoline

Investment funding goes beyond Virent's dreams.

Compiled by staff

Published: Jun 8, 2010

 

Wisconsin's Virent Energy Systems, Inc., says it has closed third-round investment activities to scale up its sugar-to-gasoline biorefinery to commercial production volumes.

 

The main stakeholders in Virent's patented catalytic process to use plant sugars to produce gasoline, diesel fuel and jet fuel are Royal Dutch Shell and Cargill. The move will put a Shell representative on Virent's board of directors, and the latest round of funding also involved all of previous stakeholders.

 

The financing follows March's announcement from Virent which noted the successful start-up of the first biogasoline production plant -- capable of producing 10,000 gallons of premium biogasoline per year. That milestone was the springboard for the latest investment offering to take the process to a commercial level. Shell has hinted at 100 million gallons per year production from the process.

 

Luis Scoffone, vice president of Alternative Energies at Shell, says "This investment demosntrate's Shell's confidence in Virtent's catalytic biofuel production processes." Also, with the latest round of funding, Shell is starting research into the use of the process to make diesel fuel, he said.

 

Gasoline and other fuels made from Virent's process is chemically the same as current petroleum-based fuels, and can be introduced into distribution systems (tanks, pipelines, pumps) with no modifications or blend requirements such as is found with fuel alcohols.

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I have been following this company for a long time, as they are located in my home state. Their process produces petroleum from plant material, and at one time they claimed they could produce the gasoline and diesel for about $1.25 a gallon. They have been involved with Shell for a long time and mor recently, Cargill.

 

This looks promising, however. IMO the reason they are going to succeed, unfortunately, is that oil is funding them, and we have moved to slowly on a Flex Fuel vehicle mandate for the auto companies. The fact that their product is "legally compatible" and ethanol is not "legally compatible" (we know otherwise) and their big funding is why this will work.

 

I think Ethanol is a superior fuel to bio-gasoline, but we need all cars to be FFVs for it to be viable. The stuff Virent is making runs in everything.

 

Another company doing virtually the same thing is LS9 out of San Francisco.

 

http://www.LS9.com

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Well, being domestically produced is a plus, but "chemically the same as current petroleum-based fuels"  That is too bad, because current petro fuels are pretty much crap for any type of performance application.

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Exactly Corey, I mean the science behind the stuff IS COOL, but it is not as great as it may appear.

 

I'll take cooler burning, less toxic, less polluting ethanol over this stuff any day and my engine will last longer.

 

The average uninformed sees this as a panacea which "overcomes the problems of ethanol / butanol"

 

Too bad the only REAL problems with it are the perceptions of it, which are false. If an engine is properly tuned for it, there are no problems.

 

Ethanol is now and available, not just some number of potential gallons that is thrown out there for some future estimated time frame.

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May this been the process Cessna posted on some months ago?

1outlaw actually started the thread on Swift Fuel. I thought they converted ethanol into a pure hydrocarbon but later read that it was butanol (I think) that got converted by passing it through a metal catalyst. This could be done at a converted ethanol plant and the fuel produced still had over 100 octane rating.

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In the long run I do like ethanol as it is a simple molecule fuel easy to produce.

 

May the petrol companies be more interested in a fuel that requires complicated expensive equipment. You see that formula requires corp resources and will cut out small fry investor/business, as these folks always compete upon economics....unfair advantage. Better to manage markets with minimal competition and much political corruption moneys.  Big government, big labor, and big business win. That way the wee ones stuck with the tab. That is the way it should be.  The wealthy and influential in charge of resources.

 

This ethanol thing is dangerous. Heck, some hobunk from the country could produce fuel.  This is a terrible condition to deep pockets and business as usual folks. You see, energy is a very desirable resource. A resource all will pay for. So, best to hold that sector hostage to healthy environment, vis-a-vie big government. This the magic to make the beautiful and powerful continue on their ways. A simple solution very dangerous to the business as usual folks. Better to play both sides of the fence and condemn big oil all the while holding your palm out to receive big money.  How much money is ethanol going to shell out? Exactly, ethanol powers the masses....a bad situation.

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The University of Wisconsin (Madison) was in on this research.  From what I remember from the article (several years ago), the cost to produce this was equivalent to oil at $75.00 a barrel.  I do not know if this is accurate today. 

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