Iogen: Renewable Hydrogen Can Be New Pathway to Create Cellulosic Biofuels
January 22, 2014
Baltimore -- Iogen Corporation today announced it has developed and patented a new method for producing renewable hydrogen that can be used in major refining processes to create drop-in gasoline and diesel fuel that will qualify as a cellulosic biofuel. The fuels would be identical to conventional gasoline and diesel, but because they would be produced with a renewable hydrogen component, they would be classified as cellulosic biofuels.
If EPA approves the renewable hydrogen component of these traditional fuels as a cellulosic fuel, it could transform the markets for fuels to meet the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2) and the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), said Patrick Foody, Iogen's executive vice president of advanced biofuels.
Introducing the technology at the 17th annual Landfill Methane Outreach Program
(LMOP) Conference and Project Expo in Baltimore, Foody told the attendees -- primarily concentrated in the landfill biogas industry -- that the market potential of the technology would far exceed any opportunities they have in more traditional alternative energy targets, such as renewable CNG or LNG for vehicles.
"We estimate there is refining capacity in place to incorporate 5 billion to 6 billion gallons per year of renewable hydrogen content into gasoline and diesel fuel," he said. This is at least 10 times the current size of demand for biogas for CNG and LNG in vehicles in the U.S., he said.
Iogen's technology involves processing biogas to make renewable hydrogen, sending it by pipeline to refineries, and then having those refineries use renewable hydrogen used for hydrogenation units that produce motor fuels. The resulting fuels will meet EPA's criteria for a cellulosic biofuel: a feedstock produced from a renewable source, a major reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (estimated at 60%), and an end use in transportation. Better yet, it's a drop-in fuel "identical to gasoline and diesel fuel" that does not require a build-out of a new infrastructure for CNG and LNG, said Foody.
Iogen will begin commercialization of the new technology by working with landfill biogas, but the company sees immense opportunities to produce the biogas from cellulosic ethanol plants, too. The company is planning to use the technology in association with two large-scale U.S. cellulosic ethanol plants it is developing.
Neither EPA nor the California Air Resources Board (CARB) has yet approved the renewable hydrogen pathway, but Foody said Iogen is consulting with both agencies. It is also working with refiners that will test the renewable hydrogen.
"We can now take biogas and make specification gasoline and diesel with renewable content using well-proven existing refining operations," he said. "It targets large-scale customers who use a lot of hydrogen and who have renewable content obligations. It does not make refiners' assets obsolete. It is a win for everybody."