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Syzygy Plasmonics and RTI International sign agreement to demonstrate sustainable fuels production system

Pilot project designed to utilize carbon dioxide and methane to produce low-carbon-intensity fuels gains sponsorship from Equinor Ventures and Sumitomo Corporation of Americas

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — Syzygy Plasmonics, a deep decarbonization company, announced an agreement today with the nonprofit research institute RTI International to demonstrate sustainable fuel production at the RTI facility in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. The new technology has the potential to help decarbonize transportation by converting two potent greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4), into low-carbon-intensity fuels that can be used to replace petroleum-based jet fuel, diesel and gasoline. The pilot project is being sponsored by Equinor Ventures and Sumitomo Corporation of Americas.

Testing is planned for a period of six months, with results from the demonstration to be used to build a technoeconomic analysis for constructing a commercial-scale Syzygy e-fuels plant.

“This demonstration will be the first of its kind and represents a disruptive step in carbon utilization. The sustainable fuels produced are expected to quickly achieve cost parity with today’s fossil fuels,” said Syzygy CEO Trevor Best. “Integrating our technology with RTI’s Fischer-Tropsch synthesis system has the potential to significantly reduce the carbon intensity of shipping, trucking and aviation without requiring major fleet modifications. By making minor adjustments in the process, we also expect to produce sustainable methanol using the same technology.”  

The solution uses a fully electrified reactor provided by Syzygy to produce syngas from CO2 and CH4 in a dry methane reforming (DMR) reaction. The syngas is then processed through a Fischer-Tropsch (FT) synthesis unit to make various fuel grades. The potential of this technology to reduce carbon intensity in fuel could give transportation companies and airlines an affordable solution for cutting emissions and reducing their carbon footprint.

“We are excited about the opportunity to collaborate with Syzygy to test and assist in the scale-up of this promising technology,” said Sameer Parvathikar, Ph.D., the director of the Renewable Energy and Energy Storage program in RTI’s Technology Advancement and Commercialization business unit. “This work aligns with our capabilities, our goals of helping de-risk and commercialize novel technologies, and our vision to address the world's most critical problems with science-based solutions.”

Having already proven its scale-up capabilities in earlier testing of its FT synthesis unit, RTI is assisting Syzygy with process design and systems integration for this pilot-scale demonstration. The full production pathway at the pilot scale includes multiple electrified DMR reactors that will consume 27 tons of CO2 per year and produce 6,100 gallons of e-fuels. At commercial-scale this technology is expected to utilize millions of tons of CO2 per year to produce sustainable fuels.

About RTI International
RTI International is an independent, nonprofit research institute dedicated to improving the human condition. Clients rely on us to answer questions that demand an objective and multidisciplinary approach—one that integrates expertise across the social and laboratory sciences, engineering, and international development. We believe in the promise of science, and we are inspired every day to deliver on that promise for the good of people, communities, and businesses around the world. For more information, visit www.rti.org.

About Syzygy Plasmonics
Syzygy Plasmonics is a deep-decarbonization company. It builds reactors that use light instead of heat to electrify chemical manufacturing and power a cleaner, safer world. Utilizing technology licensed from Rice University and advanced engineering, Syzygy is commercializing a universal photocatalytic reactor platform. When powered with renewable electricity, this tunable technology reduces both cost and emissions from many different chemical reactions. For more information, visit plasmonics.tech.