Subscribe
Update Subscription
 
Article Reprints

Sign up today!
JULY 2006

 

Chevron commits $12 million for biofuels and hydrogen research

San Ramon, CA— Chevron Corporation and the Georgia Institute of Technology have formed a strategic research alliance to pursue advanced technology aimed at making cellulosic biofuels and hydrogen viable transportation fuels.

Chevron Technology Ventures, a subsidiary of Chevron Corporation, plans to collaborate with Georgia Tech’s Strategic Energy Institute and contribute up to $12 million over five years for research into and development of these emerging energy technologies.

The focus of the joint research is to develop commercially viable processes for the production of transportation fuels from renewable resources such as forest and agricultural waste. This is viewed as an important advancement over first-generation biofuels such as ethanol and biodiesel, which are made from agricultural crops such as corn, sugarcane and soybeans.

“Once developed, second-generation processing technology will allow waste products to be converted into renewable transportation fuels, opening the door to a new phase in alternative energy,” said Rick Zalesky, vice president of Biofuels and Hydrogen, Chevron Technology Ventures (CTV).

Chevron and Georgia Tech formed the alliance because their research and development goals related to emerging energy technologies are closely aligned.

The alliance will focus its research on four areas: production of cellulosic biofuels, understanding the characteristics of biofuel feedstocks, developing regenerative sorbents and improving sorbents used to produce high-purity hydrogen.

Cellulosic Biofuels

Through a process called aqueous phase reforming, researchers will develop processes to directly convert biomass such as wood or switchgrass into hydrogen or hydrocarbon transportation fuels.

The study will help researchers determine the feasibility of producing commercial volumes of cellulosic biofuels or hydrogen from biomass and also understand the conditions needed for large-scale production facilities.

Another focus area will be to understand the characteristics of biofuels produced from different feedstocks and their effects on biofuel production processes. Defining the properties of various biofuels will help in the design of equipment and procedures to accommodate different feedstocks.

Hydrogen

Sorbents are used in hydrogen production from natural gas to remove odorants that contain sulfur. They are usually costly and can be used only once. Scientists from Chevron and Georgia Tech are working to develop regenerative sorbents that can be used repeatedly, thereby reducing the cost of hydrogen production from natural gas.

In a related project, researchers are working to develop sorbents for the purification of hydrogen produced from natural gas reforming. Both hydrogen performance and vehicle performance increase with sorbent performance, leading to greater overall energy efficiency.


877-777-0737    •     Fax 419-931-0740     •     118 E. Third Street, Suite A   Perrysburg, OH 43551
© Copyright 2006 AR Publishing Co. All rights reserved. Any reproduction of content requires written permission.