There is an urgent need for renewable fuels and alternative technologies to reach the marketplace as many experts predict that in the blink of an eye, a barrel of oil could exceed $200. That means $6.00 per gallon gas or more. Today, LS9, a company whose mission is to replace petroleum with advanced biofuels, has become one step closer to doing just that. The company’s UltraClean(TM) Diesel (many people use the term green diesel) product has been vehicle tested and exceeds the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) D6751 and Brazilian National Agency of Petroleum ANP-7 specifications.
The key to these tests are that they were conducted by a third party which makes me excited for the future applications of the fuel. Personally, I think many technology claims are bogus. Too many “breakthrough” technologies are never validated by a third party and they whither and die in a matter of months.
Anyway, back to UltraClean Diesel. The product meets the regulatory criteria needed for use in vehicles on American and Brazilian roads today and it should be noted that the U.S. has much stricter environmental emission policies in place than Brazil. The tests also indicated that the fuel overcomes key environmental and operational challenges associated with conventional diesel and biodiesel products such as NOX and sulfur.
Production of the diesel provides an 85% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions when compared to conventional fuel production. In addition, the UltraClean Diesel contains no carcinogens, such as benzene and only trace amounts of sulfur. This product well exceeds the current environmental attributes of “clean diesel” in the American marketplace.
The other benefit of this technology is that by modifying the genetic makeup of its microorganisms, it can precisely tailor LS9 end products to have improved fuel properties such as cetane, volatility, oxidative stability and cold-flow. Also important is that during a session at the World Congress currently underway in Montreal, Bill Haywood, LS9’s CEO, noted that the product is “vehicle ready coming out of the fermentor,” which means there is no need to build or modify current infrastructure, a drawback to using advanced biofuels such as E85.
Haywood added that, “Achieving ASTM and ANP standards is yet another milestone in LS9’s mission to bring environmentally friendly fuels to the world market. A fundamental change is taking place in the biofuels landscape, and our ability to produce low-carbon fuels that are ready for today’s market puts LS9 at the forefront of this movement.”
The product is vehicle ready coming out of the fermentor due to their one-step fermentation process that uses patent-pending DesignerMicrobes to efficiently convert renewable plant-based materials into various UltraClean fuels. LS9’s UltraClean Diesel is the only renewable diesel produced directly by fermentation from carbohydrate.
“By producing renewable fuels in a single step, LS9 removes additional costs associated with the multi-step processes required by other renewable diesel technologies,” said Steve del Cardayre, Vice President of Research and Development at LS9. “Based on this differentiation, LS9 will be the low-cost producer of advance diesel replacement products.”
So you diesel drivers, when will the fuel be coming to a pump near you? Most likely within three years. Haywood said that they will be designing their full scale plant in 2010 (they already have a pilot facility online) and construction will begin in 2011.