“We have continued to scale up our biofuels technology with a pilot reactor conversion system,” said Better Fuels Group technical lead Ed Coppola, who drives the technical and certification renewable fuel efforts that have taken off in recent years.
In January 2013, ARA joined forces with energy enterprise Blue Sun Advanced Fuels to develop a demonstration-scale biofuels demonstration facility located in St. Joseph, Missouri to produce 100 barrels per day (or roughly 4,200 gallons a day). The demonstration system was commissioned and began 24/7 operations in March 2014. Applied Research Associates, Inc. (ARA) and Blue Sun Advanced Fuels are currently performing on a Defense Logistics Agency Energy (DLA Energy) contract that was awarded for production of 100% drop-in renewable jet and diesel fuel utilizing ARA’s and Chevron Lummus Global’s (CLG) Biofuels ISOCONVERSION technology. The first contract fuel deliveries were made in February of 2015; the remainder of the fuel will be delivered in 2015 and 2016 to support certification and testing of renewable fuels for U.S. Navy ships and aircraft.
ARA researchers also operate a 20,000-square-foot facility in Panama City, Fla., for energy research and development projects. The Better Fuels Group works in this production and prototype facility to ensure our fuels meet requirements as distillation temperatures, viscosity and chemical composition specifications.
In addition to the 100 barrel per day system in St. Joseph, the team operates three different bench and pilot scale reactor systems that convert plant oils and other feed stocks into a synthetic crude oil at rates up to 160 gallons per day. Two batch and one continuous-flow hydrotreating systems enable researchers to convert the synthetic crude oil into a pure hydrocarbon product that is then distilled into jet and diesels fuels that meet petroleum specifications without blending.
ARA has demonstrated the Biofuels ISOCONVERSION Process in bench-scale and pilot-scale reactor systems. Our 25 gallon-per-day bench-scale system has been in operation since 2008. The 3 barrel-per-day pilot-scale system, commissioned in 2010, includes heat recovery to demonstrate energy efficiency. The pilot system designs also allow for the recovery of valuable byproducts. Process operating conditions can be controlled to produce drop-in fuels with optimal aromatic and cycloparaffin contents.
ARA and CLG have licensed the Biofuels ISOCONVERSION process technology on a non-exclusive basis to multiple renewable fuels companies, with front end engineering beginning on multiple projects in 2015.
October 29th, 2012 will go down in history as the first time a civilian jet was powered by 100 percent renewable biofuel that meets petroleum specifications without blending. Applied Research Associates (ARA) and Chevron Lummus Global (CLG) partnered with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC), the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), and Agrisoma Biosciences Inc. to flight test ReadiJet® drop-in jet fuel in Ottawa. The ReadiJet® was produced by ARA, under contract to AFRL, from Agrisoma’s Resonance™ feedstock crop using CLG’s and ARA’s breakthrough Biofuel ISOCONVERSION process. Popular Science Magazine recently recognized the flight as one of 2012's 25 most important scientific events. On December 31, 2012, Biofuels Digest named ARA/CLG’s fuels as the “Best New Fuel for 2012.”
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