Technology for Advanced Biofuel Grant uri icon



  • LCA is a cradle to grave analysis of the biofuel production system to quantify its energy and environmental performances of a fuel. It is a complex topic but essential to be carried out properly to ensure that making biofuel is advantageous. Having a positive LCA results and favorable economics is essential to a sustained success of a biofuel program. Without supporting LCA results to develop biofuel, billions of public and private dollars could be wasted by investing in something that is not only unsustainable, but also actually detrimental in the long run to the environment and the economy. Gasification of biomass to syngas followed by catalytic conversion could produce ethanol in large quantities. Despite the fact, catalytic conversion of syngas to ethanol remains challenging, and no commercial process exists as of today. Need for expensive catalyst, high-pressure requirement and complicated post reaction catalyst separation made these processes unattractive for commercial applications. Use of nano and electrostatic excitation technique has potential to eliminate the difficulty with catalyst use. A frequency modulated variable magnitude electrical field on a low cost solid catalytic nanomaterial can create ethanol from syngas. The technology will reduce the required pressure, create a targeted product, and facilitate heat transfer. Catalytic nanomaterial will loosen the bonds of CO and H2 molecule and electrostatic force will induce ions recombination more effectively. A model based on quantum mechanics shows that a controlled recombination of CO molecule and H2 in a matrix of nano sized reaction tubes will produce a mixture with ethanol as a primary product. The proposed method has a potential to become the answer to the challenges with liquid transportation fuel.

date/time interval

  • July 1, 2010 - June 30, 2015

sponsor award ID

  • IDA01425