Vertimass Receives Up to $2 Million Grant From U.S. Department of Energy to Convert Ethanol Into Jet Fuel, Diesel Fuel, and Gasoline
"Green" Catalyst Technology Will be Commercialized Into Stocks Compatible With Current Transportation Fuel Infrastructure
IRVINE, Calif., Dec. 1, 2014 -- Vertimass LLC announced
Department of Energy. The grant was awarded to aid the organization in its
mission to commercialize "green" catalyst technology that converts ethanol
into gasoline, diesel and jet fuel blend stocks, while retaining
compatibility with the current transportation fuel infrastructure.
With an exclusive world-wide license with Oak Ridge National Laboratory
(ORNL), an innovative developer of patented catalyst technology, Vertimass
seeks to expand the ethanol gas market, while creating an outlet for the use
of ethanol as a precursor to the diesel and jet fuel markets. The
blend-stocks produced with this catalyst technology are anticipated to fall
under the Renewable Fuel Standard at the same level as the ethanol used as
The technology is expected to capitalize on an expansion of the liquid
biofuels market, compared to the currently constrained market that exists
today. Benefits of the catalyst process include: a single step conversion of
ethanol into a hydrocarbon blend stock without the addition of hydrogen; the
ability to process between 5 percent and 100 percent of ethanol
concentrations; production of minimal amounts of light gases; operation at
relatively low temperature and atmospheric pressure; and the ability to
shift product distributions in response to changing market demands. The
technology, which dilutes ethanol streams, will result in higher yields to
gasoline, jet fuel and diesel products and is expected to prolong the life
"This green catalyst technology can be rapidly added to an existing ethanol
plant with low capital and operating costs while providing fuel flexibility
and essentially replacing dehydration operations," said Charles Wyman,
Ph.D., president and chief executive officer of Vertimass. "With the ability
to add operations to existing plants at a rapid pace and low cost, the new
product will help meet the goals of Renewable Standard Fuel production and
also help the Federal Aviation Administration achieve their target of 1
billion gallons of renewable aviation fuel by 2018."
Existing ethanol feedstock plants currently have a U.S. capacity of
approximately 14 billion gallons per year. The new Vertimass technology has
an estimated yearly production potential of 140 billion gallons.
The technology would also expand opportunities to use more ethanol from corn
in the U.S., cane sugar in Brazil and cellulosic biomass worldwide.
Tests have shown that the non-dilutive process is efficient across uses.
Traditionally, ethanol has been considered too low in density for jet fuel;
Vertimass and ORNL's catalyst technology has overcome that issue with no
modifications required. Additionally, converted ethanol has a composition
compatible with various fuels, retaining output and consistency with zero
engine modifications required.
"The majority of ethanol in the U.S. is used as 10 percent blends with
gasoline, and current U.S. ethanol production has virtually saturated that
market as a result of what many refer to as a 'blend wall,'" said William
Shopoff, chairman of Vertimass. "Our goal is to overcome this existing blend
wall challenge. We truly believe in the cause of sustainable transportation
fuels and couldn't be more pleased to receive this funding from the U.S.
Department of Energy. This grant provides a level of validation of our
business plan that will enable us to complete our initial funding. It will
help us reach our goals to overcome mutual substitution issues that limit
ethanol use in gasoline for light duty vehicles and open up vast new markets
for ethanol use in aircraft and heavy-duty vehicles."
About Vertimass LLC
Based in Irvine, Calif., the mission of Vertimass LLC is to develop and
widely license breakthrough technologies that substantially expand the use
of sustainable transportation fuels that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and
improve energy security and domestic economies. The company works to improve
and demonstrate novel technologies that provide commercially viable
lifetimes and yields and license the technology to rapidly expand its use.