Chevron, DOE launch bio-fuel research

Chevron Corp. is forming a five-year research alliance with the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE) and its National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) aimed at developing more renewable transportation fuels

Chevron Corp. is forming a five-year research alliance with the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE) and its National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) aimed at developing more renewable transportation fuels. The joint initiative will support “bio-fuels” made from agricultural waste.

The company’s research arm, Chevron Technology Ventures (CTV), and the NREL will work on finding ways to cheaply and more efficiently convert cellulosic biomass, such as forestry and agricultural wastes, into fuels such as ethanol and renewable diesel.

“Our goal is to further diversify the world’s energy sources to help meet the growth in future energy demand,” said Don Paul, vp & chief technology officer for Chevron. “Through this public- private collaboration we hope to … accelerate the development of cellulosic bio-fuels. Process efficiency and suitability for industrial-scale deployment, similar to today's transportation infrastructure systems, are key success factors.”

“Increasing the amount of fuels we can make from America’s farms, forests and fields will greatly enhance the nation’s energy security and economy and help the environment,” said Dan Arvizu, NREL director.

CTV will also fund research that complements DOE-sponsored work at NREL on bio-oil reforming, a process by which bio-oils derived from the decomposition of biological feed stocks are converted into hydrogen.

“We believe that for the next generation of bio-fuels production to become commercially viable there must be flexibility to diversify the feed stocks, and the processes by which the bio-fuels are produced must also increase in efficiency and effectiveness,” said Rick Zalesky, vp—bio-fuels and hydrogen at CTV. “This research will address both of these fundamental challenges.”

The alliance with NREL is the third bio-fuels 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 bio-fuels. Chevron noted that since 2000 it has spent more than $1.5 billion on renewable energy projects.

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