Challenge Biofuels — derived from renewable sources such as biomass, vegetable oils, and waste — offer an option for producing fuel that can decrease dependence on imported and nonrenewable fuels and reduce upstream carbon footprint. The Gas Technology Institute (GTI) partnered with PERC to conduct an in-depth study on the potential technical and economic feasibility for commercial production of synthetic propane, dimethyl ether (DME), and biopropane.
Partnership with PERCPERC supported GTI in the development of
Expert Analysis of the Concept of Synthetic and/or Biopropane. The study explores existing and potential methods for producing synthetic propane and biopropane on a commercial scale, and the economic viability of production technologies for biopropane and DME, a compound that can be blended with propane up to 25 percent by volume.
In addition to exploring production methodologies, the report includes a strategy for the full-scale commercial production of biopropane and synthetic propane, an evaluation of risks and uncertainties associated with these technologies and processes, and an analysis of related government programs.
Result GTI’s analysis indicates that biomass gasification technology, which can be used to produce clean-burning hydrocarbon fuels such as biopropane, could be commercialized within the next three to five years. With research results that confirm the potential for biopropane to become an important part of meeting the growing demand for low carbon impact domestic and rewnewable energy sources, PERC may consider supporting continued development methods to produce biopropane, synthetic propane, and DME.
GTI recommended that PERC continue to evaluate production methods and identify projects that will determine the economically attractive production methods and uses for propane biofuels.
- Biopropane can be produced without major modifications to current petroleum refining processes and practices.
- Biopropane can be derived directly from renewable resources such as biomass and biocrude.
- Catalytic cracking of acylglycerides, partial-oxidation gasification, single-reactor technologies, and bioreforming are promising biopropane production methods.
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