Virent Biogasoline Passes Euro-Fleet Test, Phase 1
The Virent BioForming premium gasoline blendstock has a molecular composition identical to fuel made at a petroleum refinery. The sugars can be sourced from conventional biofuel feedstocks such as sugar beets, corn and sugar cane, or as proven recently, from cellulosic biomass like corn stover and pine residuals. _GCC
Virent is working with investor Royal Dutch Shell to develop a top quality biologically derived drop-in substitute for gasoline. The catalytic process takes place at relatively low temperatures. The product is apparently doing well in European fleet testing so far.
Virent’s BioForming platform (earlier post) is a catalytic, low-temperature (180°–260° C) process that can produce drop-in hydrocarbon fuels from plant-based sugars. BioForming combines Virent’s Aqueous Phase Reforming (APR) technology...with conventional catalytic processing technologies such as catalytic hydrotreating and catalytic condensation processes, including ZSM-5 acid condensation, base catalyzed condensation, acid catalyzed dehydration, and alkylation.
Similar to a conventional petroleum refinery, each of these process steps in the BioForming platform can be optimized and modified to produce a particular slate of desired hydrocarbon products. For example, a biogasoline product can be produced using a zeolite (ZSM-5) based process, jet fuel and diesel can be produced using a base catalyzed condensation route, and a high octane fuel can be produced using a dehydration/oligomerization route. _GCC
The economic viability of the process will depend upon feedstock prices and on catalytic efficiencies and yield.