Thursday, June 30, 2011

Hey Peak Oil! Gevo Makes Renewable Jet Fuel!

Scientists and engineers are learning to substitute renewable feedstocks in place of petroleum for a wide range of products. Big oil, big chemicals, and big business, along with a lot of independents, are firmly on board this substitution program, which is not likely to run out of funding or skilled human participants.
Gevo’s renewable jet.
Gevo has developed and demonstrated the technology to convert isobutanol into aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons using known chemistry and existing refinery infrastructure:

Isobutanol produced from starch or biomass is dehydrated over an acidic catalyst to produce isobutylene, which is then further reacted to product mixtures of longer chain aliphatic hydrocarbons.

A portion of this material is reacted separately to form high density aromatic compounds.

Hydrogen gas, a byproduct of the aromatization reaction, is used to remove unsaturated bonds in the aliphatic material.

The hydrocarbons then are blended in proportions that can meet all ASTM standards for fuels: isooctane is a dimer of dehydrated isobutanol and is a major component of the premium value alkylates, a key gasoline component; a trimer of the isobutylene (dehydrated isobutanol) is a jet fuel blend stock; a polymer of four and five isobutylenes can make a diesel blend stock.

Our kerosene is the same as that produced from butylenes; it’s the same old kind of kerosene, made from C4 building blocks. People have not had the paradigm of having exact drop-ins; we come along and the whole system is set up to make sure [the renewable fuel] actually works. But this is the same old kerosene.

—Patrick Gruber
Gevo’s proposition for the market is that it can cost-effectively produce and purify isobutanol to serve as the feedstock for this established process.

In April, Gevo signed an engineering and consulting agreement with Mustang Engineering, LP for the conversion of its renewable isobutanol to biojet fuel. This effort will focus on the downstream processing of isobutanol to paraffinic kerosene (jet fuel) for jet engine testing, airline suitability flights and advancing commercial deployment. _GCC
It's alright to invest some of your assets in preparation for a collapse that may never come. A waste and a misallocation, perhaps, but in many ways a sensible precaution. But try not to make doom your entire raison d'etre.

For a fascinating look at how humans substitute one resource for another, when the earlier resource is in short supply, read this free online book. It may help to free you from the grips of a religion of doom that does nothing better than waste your time and energy.

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