Genera Energy is focused on the supply of sustainable and affordable energy crop biomass to anyone advancing forward and beyond limited petroleum resources. Our limited petroleum resources also require significant energy just to transport them long distances from the source to market. Therefore, we remain focused on the technologies and industry that facilitate the production of local biofuels, biopower, and bioproducts, products that are more economical, sustainable, and secure.
One attractive area of biofuels are so-called “drop-in fuels.” Imagine that you want a low calorie substitute for your drink. What will you look for? Well, I am looking for one that acts just like sugar and maybe even one that I could substitute alongside sugar. Is it because sugar-likeness must be the answer? No, it is because that is the easy comparison and what is already in place. In fact, the way sugar is handled, dissolved, and baked today may not even be the best way, but it is what is already in place.
What is in place today for fuel? Gas pumps and liquid fuel automobiles are the way of the day. Is there a better way? Perhaps, but it probably won’t be easy or low cost and forthcoming within a decade. What about ethanol? It is already in place and it blends. It is a solution and a good one especially when derived from cellulosic biomass but it has blend limitations that are real by statute whether or not by need.
A drop-in fuel is designed to blend directly into the existing fuel supply and act, if not taste, just like the original fuel. These require larger molecules and even dissimilar molecules; a cocktail of hydrocarbons if you will. Why? Because that cocktail is where the appetite is. Drop-in fuels are derived a few different ways. Some technologies use heat and catalyst to create multiple hydrocarbon gases and then condense and refine them like oil separating out the components into their specific market. Others create mostly hydrogen and partially oxidized carbon compounds and put them back together in an appropriate format. Then, there are others that research biological organisms to metabolize enzymatically created sugar into the appropriate hydrocarbons not unlike ethanol is made or another liquid chemical process.
The drop-in fuel technology may be behind ethanol or other fuels but it is a reality. Let’s continue to help our nation continue to create sustainable fuels that are easy and affordable to use. Perhaps your technology will be the one to make these fuels a reality. If so, Genera is not only ready to supply your biomass but we are ready to help you along every stage of the way with vast experience throughout the industry supply chain. That is why we come to work every day excited about what we do.
By Keith Brazzell, COO