While biofuels such as ethanol are becoming more popular as blending agents in automobile fuels, they have limitations for use in jet fuel because of their low energy density. And, given present internal combustion engine designs, conventional biofuels cannot fully replace petroleum-derived hydrocarbons. "The hydrocarbons produced from GVL in this new process are chemically equivalent to those used in the present infrastructure," says Alonso. "The product we make is ready for the jet fuel application and can be added to existing hydrocarbon blends, as needed, to meet specs."
The biggest barrier to implementing the renewable fuel is the cost of GVL. Until now, says Dumesic, there has not been an incentive to mass-produce the compound. "The bottleneck in having the fuel ready for prime time is the availability of cost-effective GVL," he says.
Now that they have demonstrated the process for converting GVL to transportation fuel, Dumesic and his students are developing more efficient methods for making GVL from biomass sources such as wood, corn stover, switchgrass and others. "Once the GVL is made effectively, I think this is an excellent way to convert it to jet fuel," he says.
|Contact: James Dumesic|
University of Wisconsin-Madison