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July 1, 2013

Virent secures DOE award for next-generation biofuel conversion

Gerald Ondrey

Virent (Madison, Wisc.; www.virent.com) announced it has received a federal award of up to $4 million, subject to final contract negotiations with the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE; Washington, D.C.; www.energy.gov) , to develop carbon conversion efficiency of biomass to distillate products ideal for blending into existing diesel and jet fuel infrastructures. The award is part of a $13-million program that the DOE is using to fund projects aimed at developing upgraded processes to increase biofuel yields from non-food lignocellulosic feedstocks.

During the three year project, Virent will apply a novel fractionation and separation process coupled with its patented catalytic BioForming technology platform (Chem. Eng., May 2010; www.che.com/chementator/5622.html) to optimize conversion of carbon from lignocellulosic biomass to hydrocarbon fuels. Virent will investigate both debarked loblolly pine and corn stover as feedstocks, in collaboration with Idaho National Laboratory’s state-of-the-art technologies and expertise for the pretreatment of the biomass.

“We are very excited to receive this award,” explains Randy Cortright, co-founder and chief technology officer at Virent. “Increasing carbon conversion efficiencies will ultimately reduce the cost of converting biomass to hydrocarbon transportation fuels and accelerate technical advancements to meet the needs of the Renewable Fuels Standards established by the EPA.”

 


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