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Faster and Cheaper Jet Fuel on Horizon


Published on: August 29, 2021,

The future to use ethanol in jet planes is near. Using ethanol  in Jet Fuel improves efficiency and cost. There is a process for converting alcohol into jet or diesel fuel is being scaled at Northwest National Laboratory with help from Oregon State University and carbon recycling experts at Lanza Tech. The PNNL patented catalyst converts ethanol into n-butane.


As per this new process renewable and waste derived will be converted to useful chemicals. Also this new technology reduces emission of carbon dioxide. “Biomass is challenging source because of its high cost,” said Vanessa Dagle co- primary investigator of the initial research energy.


For commercialization PNNL is collaborating with Oregon State University to convert chemical conversion process into microchannel reactors built using newly developed 3D printing technology. 3D printing allows research team to create honeycomb of mini reactors that increase surface area to volume ratio for reaction.


“Due to recent advances in manufacturing methods and associated cost reduction the time is right to adapt this technology to new commercial bioconversion applications,” said Robert Dagle, co-primary investigator on research. If this technology is developed bio reactors can be built near agricultural centres and should not need to carry it to long distances.



Once the test reactor is completed Lanza Tech will provide PNNL to supply ethanol to feed the process. The test reactor will consume ethanol equivalent up to half dry ton bio mass per day. Lanza Tech has scaled up the first generation PNNL technology to produce ethanol and formed a new company Lanza jet to commercialize Lanza Jet. When ethanol is passed over solid silver zirconia based catalyst necessary chemical reactions are performed to convert ethanol into n-butane. If catalyst loses activity it can be regenerated by simple procedure.


“ We have found that this catalyzed system is highly active. By adjusting pressure and other variables we can tune the system to generate butadiene a building block for plastic or rubber which is suitable for making jet fuels or products synthetic lubricant,’’ said Vanessa Dagle.



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