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NREL teams with Navy, private industry to make jet fuel from switchgrass
Date:6/11/2013

food based biomass as a feedstock, thus reducing the Department of Defense's dependence on petroleum-based products.

The results of testing will help determine whether the process is ready for commercial scale. If so, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Defense are poised to help private firms build the huge biorefineries that would be needed, Schell said.

NREL has the equipment to convert biomass to fermentable sugars at a scale of one dry ton per day, using enzyme formulas and a dilute acid catalyzed pretreatment developed by Cobalt. Hemicellulose and cellulose sugars will be fermented simultaneously using three of NREL's 9,000 liter fermenters.

"At NREL, we can take biomass feedstock, convert it to biofuels and scale it up in our pilot plant, in this case converting it to butanol," NREL Senior Project Leader for Partnership Development Rich Bolin said. "The (test) runs we did last year with Cobalt Technologies producing butanol at our pilot plant were quite successful."

The project could lead to big gains in jet-fuel manufacturing in the United States and a boost for jobs in rural America. Using biomass rather than petroleum offers the advantages of improved energy security, less price volatility and a smaller impact on the environment, Bolin said.

The process is expected to result in a 95% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to the current production of jet fuel.


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Contact: David Glickson
david.glickson@nrel.gov
303-275-4097
DOE/National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

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