Renewable Jet Fuel
Company develops advanced enzymes which convert nonfood
biomass to glucose and other biosugars for renewable jet fuel and
Cheap sugars from biomass are the key to the sustainable production of
low-carbon renewable jet fuel.
Why Aviation Biofuels?
Aviation biofuels are essential because continuing
to burn fossil fuels is not sustainable.
Second-generation biofuels are sustainable, with low impact on land or
water used for food crops. Aviation biofuels are cleaner, with around
an 80% reduction in CO2 lifecycle emissions compared with fossil jet
Aviation biofuels are practical. Second-generation
biofuels can now be mixed with
existing aviation fuel supplies at up to 50%. As of 2011, Bio-SPK
(BioDerived Synthetic Paraffinic Kerosene) jet fuels meet the new ASTM
standard D7566, developed through extensive engine and flight testing,
and are certified for use at 50/50 blends for commercial jet aviation.
Similar fuels have been tested and certified for military operation in
a variety of aircraft.
Further information on aviation biofuels is
available from the
Air Transport Action Group
a project of Richard Branson's Carbon War Room.
to Renewable Jet Fuel
Renewable Jet Fuel comes from feedstocks produced
by green plants, which absorb atmospheric CO2 and convert it to sugars
and oils which can be made into low-carbon jet fuel. The leading
process for renewable jet fuel today is HRJ
(Hydroprocessed Renewable Jet),
also known as HEFA
(Hydroprocessed Esters and Fatty Acids). The base feedstocks are seed
oils from oil-seed plants like Jatropha and Camelina. These oils are
subjected to a catalytic process which converts the raw purified oil
to biojetfuel which meets or exceeds current fossil jet fuel standards.
ATJ (Alcohol to Jet Fuel)
converts shorter carbon chain alcohols
like butanol to the longer C8-C16 alkanes of jet kerosene. ASTM
approval of ATJ is pending. ATJ
would use sugar rather than oil seed feedstocks, and thus potentially
provide larger amounts
of jet fuel.
to Jet Fuel
The manufacture of either biojetfuel or biodiesel
from plant seed oils
or waste fats and grease is relatively straightforward. This has
allowed relatively small amounts of drop-in renewable jet fuel to be
The problems now
are cost and scale. Seed oils make up only a small fraction of plant
biomass. Some, such as Palm Oil are also used for food. A potential
solution to these problems is the use of engineered organisms such as
heterotrophic algae (e.g. Solazyme), yeasts, and bacteria to produce
plant oils or other renewable hydrocarbons in large quantities by
fermentation of biosugars from lignocellulosic biomass.
This approach takes advantage of the much greater amount of cellulosic
biomass sugars as compared to seed oils. The problem then shifts to how
to produce large quantities of cheap sugars from biomass. Plant oils
have the longer carbon chains
needed to produce alkanes in the C8-C16 size range characteristic of
jet fuel kerosene. Plant sugars are C5 or C6, and about 2/3 of the
sugar is consumed by growth and metabolism of the production organisms.
This lower efficiency is acceptable if there is enough
biomass feedstock (there is - over a billion tons per year in the U.S.,
two billion tons worldwide), and if the cost of the biomass sugar is
Direct chemical conversion of sugars to
deoxygenated alkanes or intermediates like gamma-valerolactone (e.g
Virent) can reduce the amount of sugar needed and thus potentially
lower the cost of jet fuel production
from sugars. The theoretical maximum (weight alkane/weight sugar)
conversion (e.g., glucose to hexane) is about 47%, due to the loss of
oxygen atoms which are heavier than carbon atoms. This has a direct
impact on the delivered price of biobased jet fuel. Highly pure
specific sugars are needed for both chemical catalytic
and fermentation methods. Enzymatic methods yield pure sugars from
biomass and do not require the use of toxic chemicals like chlorine.
enzymes developed by General
Biomass lower the cost and increase the purity of sugars by enabling
the use of a wide variety of biomass feedstocks, such as municipal
solid waste (MSW), construction and demolition waste (CDW), and
millions of cubic meters of beetle-killed wood (BKW) in the U.S. and
Canada. All of these forms
of dead biomass are cheaper, available today, and are less
controversial than food-based sources of sugar like corn.
methods have the advantage that they preserve the original C6 glucose
molecules made by photosynthesis, and with appropriate technology will
have lower capital costs and ease of use. Additionally, enzymatic
methods preserve and make available the two other biomass components,
xylan and lignin. Xylans can be hydrolyzed by our enzymes to yield the
C5 sugar xylose, raising the total sugar output
from biomass by 50%. Lignin can either be burned as
a substitute for coal, or converted to high value chemicals for
adhesives, fuel additives, and carbon fibers for light-weight
composites in aircraft and vehicles.
Enzymatic methods require the application of
sophisticated biotechnology for their development, but once developed
are relatively easy to produce and use with minimal energy and capital
inputs. Their principal product, glucose, is at the core of all
cellular metabolism, and is thus a feedstock for most industrial
fermentations producing biofuels, bioplastics, and renewable chemicals.
In effect, glucose is the new oil, but based on local sources, creating
local jobs, and contributing far less to global warming. Local biomass
feedstock sources, processed by General Biomass
enzymes, enable fuel production for both commercial and military needs
at a variety of locations around the world.
We provide pure biomass deconstruction
specific cellulases and hemicellulases,
selected and customized for your application, lowering risk in the
R&D and pilot
phases, lowering costs at commercialization.
Contact us today and let us help you develop the
best enzyme solution for your needs.
Copyright © 2013 by
General Biomass Company. All Rights Reserved.