A rendering of Alliance BioEnergy's portable biofuel system
The U.S. military could benefit from a new process for creating biofuel that is portable, speedy and cost-efficient, said a company executive.
Alliance BioEnergy Plus Inc., a Florida-based company that specializes in cellulose — or plant fiber — conversion, has created a mechanical process for converting organic matter into sugars and oils in minutes to produce diesel and jet fuel.
The cellulose-to-sugar (CTS) process could prove beneficial for Navy ships and military ground vehicles, enabling them to be fueled while in transit at a manageable cost, said BioEnergy president Daniel de Liege. “Our system is modular and very portable, and could be placed on the back of a truck or a very large unit,” he said.
He noted the drawbacks that have kept biofuels from being a prominent fuel supply for the services in the past. These include fixed land-based production facilities, inefficient processes and burdensome transportation requirements for use anywhere beyond the production facility.
“We literally could be in shipping containers, installed in refueling oilers and actually processed at sea,” De Liege said. Fleet waste could be used or genetically modified algae could be grown on the side of a ship to be converted into fuel, he said.
BioEnergy has submitted an application to the Department of Energy to develop a jet fuel demonstration facility in Florida, De Liege said. The facility could be developed within 24 months, he said. “Once the facility is commissioned, we would start the process of doing demonstrations” for the military, he said.
The cost savings could be significant. BioEnergy’s current projections show that it could produce fuel at 50 percent or less per gallon than current biofuel prices, De Liege said. The process can manufacture diesel fuel for about $1.10 per gallon, and jet fuel for under $2 a gallon. Conventional biofuels can cost between $3.50 and $5 per gallon, he said.
The University of Central Florida’s Blair Research Group developed the CTS process over the past seven years, and BioEnergy holds the exclusive rights to the patent, De Liege said. Photo: Alliance Bioenergy