"Our enzyme recycle technology and low energy reactors resulted in even lower operating costs than predicted..."
San Francisco based green nano-chemistry pioneers Sylvatex, and separations technology and process developer Trucent have announced a successful scale up and blending of MicroX renewable blendstock from an optimized distillers corn oil (DCO) to free fatty acid (FFA) hydrolysis process. The scale up followed completion of development, construction and operation of a pilot system that was undertaken as part of the joint development agreement the companies entered in February 2018.
The companies are now working to identify commercial ethanol producers interested in becoming co-location partners and private fleets for fuel demonstration partnerships. MicroX enables oxygenates, such as ethanol, to blend seamlessly into diesel leading to a very low carbon lifecycle, and low emissions fuel with significantly favorable production economics.
MicroX meets ASTM D8181, a recently approved standard that covers specifications for microemulsion blendstocks for middle distillate fuels. This new standard for renewable bio-based blendstocks that can be used as a diesel alternative provides specifications to ensure that the fuel being produced meets quality and consistency measures while also correlating with vehicle performance to fuel properties.
“We are very pleased with the success of the scale up. Coupled with the new ASTM standard it ensures a positive pathway to commercialization.” said Virginia Klausmeier, CEO of Sylvatex. “Our collaboration with Trucent has been beneficial to both parties, and we are now engaging in an active search for companies interested in joining us to commercialize MicroX blendstocks. In addition to the performance and economic benefits, the compelling carbon life cycle assessment of MicroX offers ethanol producers and fuel demonstration partners a significant added value.”
“Scale up affirmed the technology break-throughs we developed during lab testing. Our enzyme recycle technology and low energy reactors resulted in even lower operating costs than predicted,” said James Bleyer, Director of Technology Development for Trucent (formerly known as Valicor) “The pilot plant and technology is now ready for a co-location demonstration, and production of market development quantities of MicroX”.
Sylvatex’s ( @SylvatexInc ) technology utilizes converted distiller’s corn oil, and other plant-based oil feedstocks, into the company’s proprietary MicroX renewable blendstock.
The science bit...
The MicroX platform can be used for a number of fuel and specialty chemical applications. Currently, surplus fuel ethanol has been the primary alcohol component that the blendstock has been made from, though other alcohols such as propanol, butanol, and pentanol could also be options. Alcohols are not normally stable when blended into diesel, especially in the presence of water, leading to phase separation. With Sylvatex’s microemulsion technology, the free fatty carboxylic acids produced as a byproduct of the fuel alcohol production process act as a surfactant to stabilize the water and alcohols by encapsulating them in tiny bubbles. These inverse micelles are thermodynamically stable and can form readily under ambient conditions with only simple splash-blending, and do not phase separate over time.
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