Chevron to participate in federal biofuel research

Chevron Corp, San Ramon CA, and the US Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) headquartered in Golden CO have announced a strategic research alliance to advance the development of renewable transportation fuels.

"Our goal is to further diversify the world's energy sources in order to help meet the growth in future energy demand," said Don Paul, vice-president and chief technology officer, Chevron Corp. "Through this public-private collaboration we hope to broaden the energy mix by accelerating the development of the next generation of process technologies that will convert cellulosic biomass into biofuels. Process efficiency and suitability for industrial-scale deployment, similar to today's transportation infrastructure systems, are key success factors."

Chevron Technology Ventures LLC (CTV), a subsidiary of Chevron Corp, and NREL have signed a five-year agreement to research and develop new production technologies for biofuels. Researchers from CTV and NREL will collaborate on projects to develop the next generation of process technologies that will convert cellulosic biomass, such as forestry and agricultural wastes, into biofuels such as ethanol and renewable diesel.

"We believe that for the next generation of biofuels production to become commercially viable there must be flexibility to diversify the feedstocks, and the processes by which the biofuels are produced must also increase in efficiency and effectiveness, said Rick Zalesky, vice-president, Biofuels and Hydrogen, CTV. "This research will address both of these fundamental challenges."

CTV also will fund research that complements work at NREL on bio-oil reforming, a process by which bio-oils derived from the decomposition of biological feedstocks are then converted into hydrogen. This research may expedite the development of a feed-flexible, distributed-reforming process for renewable hydrogen production as well as provide the hydrogen necessary in some potential biofuels conversion technologies.

The alliance with NREL is the third biofuels research partnership launched by Chevron this year. Chevron recently announced research initiatives with the University of California at Davis and the Georgia Institute of Technology focusing on cellulosic biofuels enabled by advanced manufacturing technologies for distributed energy production.

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