Vertimass, Technip to work together to scale up ORNL technology

By Vertimass LLC | September 15, 2015

IRVINE, California – Vertimass LLC announced the company has chosen Technip to provide pilot testing, scale-up, and initial plant design for their novel technology for converting alcohol to renewable gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel blend stocks that are compatible with the current transportation fuel infrastructure. The work will be done at the Technip’s Research Center in Weymouth, Massachusetts, and Process Technology Center in Boston, Massachusetts. 

Vertimass technology was originated at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where scientists discovered novel catalysts that convert a wide range of alcohols into various hydrocarbon blend stocks which can be used in existing gasoline, diesel and jet engines without modifications. Additionally, this process can produce renewable chemicals including benzene, toluene, and xylenes (BTX).

Vertimass technology offers a new pathway for biomass-derived renewable fuels that lower greenhouse gas emissions and decrease U.S. reliance on foreign sources of oil. 

“We were initially attracted to this transformative technology based on its many advantages compared to previous attempts with this conversion and to other alcohol-to-jet technologies,” explained Dr. Charles Wyman, Vertimass president and CEO. 

“For example, it operates at low temperatures and atmospheric pressure, requires no external hydrogen addition, produces few light components, and is a simple one-step process.”

According to Wyman, the Vertimass technology can be easily and quickly bolted onto existing ethanol production facilities, resulting in low capital costs. It offers ethanol producers the ability to manage fuel production in response to market changes while also breaking the blend wall that now impedes further ethanol sales and opening up new ethanol markets for heavy duty vehicles and air travel. “This technology could potentially change the transportation fuels landscape internationally and have an immediate positive impact on the environment,” he said.

“We are very pleased to work with an international leader in the energy industry like Technip,” said Bill Shopoff, Vertimass chairman. “Their process technology arm offers decades of experience in catalyst testing, scale-up, and engineering design while also offering a world-wide presence in the energy field. Their leadership is vital to rapidly moving the process from pilot operations to commercial reality.”

“Technip is pleased to work with Vertimass on this exciting catalyst testing and process development program,” said Stan Knez, president, Technip Stone and Webster Process Technology.  “Our technical teams in Weymouth and Boston provide a full range of process commercialization services with a proven track record of success. This effort ties in perfectly with our expertise in proving and optimizing a concept in our research center and then bringing it forward efficiently to full commercialization.”