BIOFUELS DIGEST - AST One Of "12 Hot Bio-Based Technologies Worth Watching"

CHICAGO (Monday, July 2, 2012) – Biofuels Digest recently published an article featuring 12 innovation-stage companies worth keeping an eye on, and American Science and Technology was one of the companies included in that list.

Below is an excerpt, or you can find the full article here.

American Science and Technology Corporation

Chicago, Illinois

The technology

Typically, bio-oil produced from fast pyrolysis consists of a complex mixture of aliphatic and aromatic oxygenates (e.g., acids, aldehydes, ketones) and particulates (solids). It is very viscous, acidic and unstable liquid with relatively low energy density (16-19 MJ/kg) compared to conventional fossil oil (42-45 MJ/kg). However, as scientists and industries are developing technologies that can upgrade low quality bio-oil to high quality carbohydrate chains such as JP8, the fast pyrolysis process is becoming more and more attractive.

To make a use of bio oil driven from biomass, AST has at least three catalysts that can deoxygenate the bio oil and produce liquid hydrocarbon with an 8 to 12 carbon chain length (JP8) When coal and biomass are pyrolyzed together, the excess oxygen from biomass becomes available to hot tar and char. With proper catalyst the chemical reaction can be pushed to generate lot more syngas and leave behind low oxygen and rich carbohydrate blend of bio-oil and tar.

Why it’s hot

In a phrase, low-cost biofuels sooner than other pathways. For one, the military opportunities – think low-cost JP-8 military jet fuel. Recent operations by the United States (U.S.) military, including those in Iraq and Afghanistan, have highlighted the cost of JP-8 on the battlefield can go well over $100/gallon.

This activity proposes to produce JP-8 fuels using available biomass and domestic coal. Currently, a commercial technology for production of bio-based JP8 does not exist. Most of the research on production of bio-based JP8 is focused on conversion of sugars by chemical or microbial routes. During the last few years ARL has invested into several pretreatment technologies and some of them have proven to be very promising to provide feedstock (sugars) for conversion to bioJP8. But as of now, none of them have produced a mature technology that can produce JP8 at a price near the current fossil based fuels.