Secretary Steven Chu visited Kapolei, Hawaii, to check on the process of an integrated biorefinery project awarded $25 million through the Recovery Act to construct the facility. | Image courtesy of the Energy Department.
Earlier this month, Secretary Steven Chu visited Kapolei, Hawaii, to check in on the progress of an integrated biorefinery project that promises to help increase the domestic production of advanced biofuels. Once complete, the pilot-scale facility will convert cellulosic biomass, like wood waste and algae, into clean, renewable gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel.
Honeywell UOP, the company leading the project, was awarded $25 million through the Recovery Act to construct the facility—part of the Department’s efforts to bolster America’s advanced biofuels industry and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
The project leverages two commercially proven core technologies into an integrated platform: pyrolysis of biomass from Ensyn Corporation and hydroconversion from UOP. The pyrolysis process rapidly heats the biomass to form a vapor that is then rapidly cooled, creating a liquid bio-oil. The hydroconversion process cleans and stabilizes the bio-oil to make it suitable for storage and processing into finished transportation fuels. The integrated biorefinery will demonstrate the technology’s viability, test the fuels produced, and evaluate the fuels and the processing technology’s environmental footprint.
Once the technology has been successfully demonstrated at this scale, UOP intends to make the technology available to license at the commercial scale. Each commercial application would produce as much as 50 million gallons of drop-in green transportation fuels per year and create up to 1,000 permanent jobs. Initial production at UOP’s Hawaii facility is scheduled to begin in 2012. The facility is expected to be fully operational by 2014.
To learn more about the Department’s support of research and development of biofuels, bioenergy and bioproducts, visit the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s biomass page.