Renewable Jet Fuel
Company develops advanced enzymes which convert nonfood biomass
to glucose and other biosugars for renewable jet fuel and bioplastics.
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 fuel.
Aviation biofuels are practical. Second-generation biofuels can now be mixed with
existing aviation fuel supplies at up to 50%. As of 2011,
(BioDerived Synthetic Paraffinic Kerosene) jet fuels meet the new ASTM standard D7566,
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 and RenewableJetFuels.org, a project of Richard Branson's
Carbon War Room.
Pathways 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 C12-C15 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.
Sugar 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 developed quickly.
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 C12-C15 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 low enough.
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.
New and better enzymes developed by General Biomass attack this problem directly
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.
General Biomass Enzymes
Enzymatic 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 enzymes, 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.
General Biomass Company
2906 Central Street, #134
Evanston, IL 60201
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General Biomass Company. All Rights Reserved.