RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — RTI International has been awarded a project from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop an advanced technology to produce biofuels that are compatible with the existing transportation fuels infrastructure. RTI will partner with Haldor Topsøe, a world-leading provider of catalyst and process technologies for the refining and chemical industries.
As part of the $5 million cooperative agreement with the DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, the project team will integrate RTI's catalytic biomass pyrolysis technology, which converts biomass into a "biocrude" intermediate, with Haldor Topsøe's hydroprocessing technology, to upgrade the intermediate into transportation fuels.
A major portion of the project will focus on the optimization of both technologies together to achieve maximum biomass-to-fuels yield. The optimized process technologies have significant potential to meet the DOE goal of developing cost-competitive biomass technologies to enable the production of biofuels nationwide in a sustainable manner and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
"This project will support the continued development of our catalytic biomass pyrolysis technology and further demonstrate its technical and economic potential for converting non-food biomass into transportation fuels," said David Myers, vice president of RTI's Engineering and Technology Unit. "The U.S. Department of Energy's support and our partnership with the global technology leader Haldor Topsøe are vital to bringing this technology closer to commercial reality."
"Renewable drop-in fuels produced from pyrolysis of biomass followed by hydroprocessing is a very interesting technology that will be able to produce substantial amounts of fuel without impacting the food supply around the world," said Henrik Rasmussen, vice president, Catalyst and Technology, Haldor Topsøe. "We are excited about our collaboration with RTI to make this a success."
Other project partners include Archer Daniels Midland, which will provide corn stover for the project, and the Biofuels Center of North Carolina, which will facilitate the delivery of woody biomass and switchgrass.
Shaw Group's Energy & Chemicals unit will provide technical guidance for the project by supporting the development of a process design and technology package for a 2,000-tons-per-day integrated catalytic biomass pyrolysis hydroprocessing plant for advanced biofuels production.