Joule Commissions First SunSprings Plant to Demonstrate Commercial Readiness for Solar Fuels
by Jim Lane (Biofuels Digest) In Massachusetts, Joule announced the commissioning of its first SunSprings demonstration plant in Hobbs, New Mexico, where the company will prove its scalable platform for solar fuel production – the first of its kind – using a fraction of the land and capital investment required for algae-derived or agricultural biofuels. Joule aims to show that its uniquely modular system can achieve replicable results whether installed across one or thousands of acres – opening the door to near-term deployment by eliminating scale-up costs and risks that have hamstrung biofuels for years.
Unlike sugar-based biofuel producers, Joule directly and continuously converts solar energy into liquid fuels, without costly raw materials, pretreatment or downstream processing. In contrast with algae-based approaches, Joule uses optimized microorganisms that act as living catalysts to produce fuel, rather than first producing biomass and later extracting lipids or sugars for subsequent multi-step conversion into fuel. The SunSprings plant is designed to demonstrate the complete Joule process with its advantages in cost, scale and efficiency, all at the multi-acre scale that directly translates to full scale through modular replication.
… Joule Fuels will initially commercialize Sunflow-E, with Sunflow-D for the global diesel market to follow. Unlike biodiesel, a low-concentration blendstock, Sunflow-D is comprised of diesel-range paraffinic alkanes and can therefore be blended with conventional diesel in concentrations of 50% or greater, displacing more oil. Moreover, Sunflow-D is inherently sulfur-free and has a very high cetane value. Sunflow-D is now in development with an ultimate productivity target of 15,000 gallons/acre/year at costs as low as $50/barrel without subsidies. READ MORE