Virent, Viridia cellulosic jet fuel passes rigorous tests

Virent, Viridia cellulosic jet fuel passes rigorous tests

10:18 PM, 26th March 2012
Virent, Viridia cellulosic jet fuel passes rigorous tests
Dr Randy Cortright, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer, Virent.

MADISON/DANVILLE, US: Virent and Virdia (formerly HCL CleanTech) have successfully converted cellulosic pine tree sugars to drop-in hydrocarbon fuels within the BIRD Energy project. The project is jointly funded by the US Department of Energy, the Israeli Ministry of National Infrastructure and the BIRD Foundation. Commenced in January 2011, the project has successfully demonstrated that Virdia’s deconstruction process generated high-quality sugars from cellulosic biomass, which were converted to fuel via Virent’s BioForming process.

Virent used Virdia’s biomass-derived sugars to produce gasoline and jet fuel, the latter being sent to the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) for analysis where it passed rigorous testing. “This fuel passed the most stringent specification tests we could throw at it (such as thermal stability) under some conditions where conventional jet fuels would fail. This fuel is definitely worth further evaluation,” said Tim Edwards, Fuels Branch, AFRL.

“The high-quality sugars generated from pine trees using Virdia’s process leveraged Virent’s conversion process, establishing a viable route to drop-in hydrocarbons from biomass,” said Dr Randy Cortright, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer, Virent.

“As demonstrated by the BIRD Energy project results, Virdia’s cold acid solvent extraction (CASE) process can deliver the high-purity, cost-effective cellulosic sugars needed as the primary raw material for jet fuels and other applications,” said Philippe Lavielle, CEO, Virdia.

Virdia’s CASE process encompasses a sequence of proprietary extraction and separation operations. Also Virent’s BioForming platform catalysts and reactor systems are similar to those found in today’s petroleum oil refineries and petrochemical complexes.

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