Honeywell’s UOP Awarded U.S. Department Of Energy Grant For Conversion Of Waste Biomass To Green Transportation Fuels
UOP LLC, a Honeywell company, announced it has been selected for negotiation of a $25 million award from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to build a demonstration unit in Hawaii to convert cellulosic biomass into green transportation fuels.
As part of the DOE’s effort to help reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil, spur the creation of the domestic bio-industry and create new jobs, this project will use cellulosic biomass feedstocks like forestry and agricultural residuals or algae residuals to produce the liquid biofuel pyrolysis oil, which will then be upgraded into green transportation fuels.
The demonstration plant, which will be built at the Tesoro Corp. refinery in Kapolei, Hawaii, is expected to start up in 2014.
“As we continue to seek alternatives to reduce our fossil energy consumption, cellulosic biomass is a readily available feedstock that has been proven to be a viable, effective alternative to traditional fuel sources,” said Jennifer Holmgren, vice president and general manager of UOP’s Renewable Energy and Chemicals business unit. “We are pleased the DOE is focusing on this area, and we are confident that this project will show that commercially viable cellulosic fuels technology is only a few years away.”
If successful and fully implemented on a global scale, the new technology has the potential to create a significant number of new jobs, supplement the existing supply of petroleum-based fuels, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 70 percent compared to petroleum-based fuels.
The demonstration unit will employ the RTP® rapid thermal processing technology developed by Ensyn Corp. RTP rapidly heats biomass at ambient pressure to generate high yields of pourable, liquid pyrolysis oil. The pyrolysis oil will then be upgraded to green transport fuels using technology developed by Honeywell’s UOP, working with DOE, the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Lab and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL).
A range of cellulosic feedstocks used in the demonstration unit, including selected waste agriculture products, pulp, paper, woody biomass, algae and dedicated energy crops like switchgrass and high-biomass sorghum will be provided by Ceres Inc., Cargill, Grays Harbor Paper Co., HR BioPetroleum, Targeted Growth Inc., Imperium Renewables, and Mesa Engineering. The biofuel produced will be analyzed by a panel of petroleum refiners including Tesoro, CountryMark, Kern Oil and Refining Co. and evaluated for end-use by Honeywell, General Motors and Boeing. Life Cycle Analysis will be performed by leading research university Michigan Tech University.
Bruce Smith, Tesoro’s chairman, president and CEO, said of the company’s involvement in the project, “We are excited to utilize our existing assets and expertise in this innovative project to convert sustainable biomass feedstocks to next-generation fuels. This is an important effort in finding new and competitive sources of oil that will meet the changing fuel needs of our customers.”
Honeywell’s UOP, the recognized leader in developing process technology for the refining and petrochemical industries, offers refining technologies for the conversion of natural oils to green transportation fuels. In 2008, UOP announced it had partnered with Ensyn to form the joint venture, Envergent Technologies, to offer RTP technology and equipment and further develop technology for upgrading pyrolysis oil to transportation fuels. Earlier this year, UOP announced that Italian power company Industria e Innovazione selected the RTP technology for the development of a facility to convert biomass into pyrolysis oil for renewable power generation. The facility is projected to start up in 2012.
UOP LLC, headquartered in Des Plaines, Illinois, USA, is a leading international supplier and licensor of process technology, catalysts, adsorbents, process plants, and consulting services to the petroleum refining, petrochemical, and gas processing industries. UOP is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Honeywell International, Inc. and is part of Honeywell’s Specialty Materials strategic business group. READ MORE