By Kris Hansen
At the 2013 NYIAS, Audi introduced a group of journalists to one of the new Audi alternate fiel technology partners, Joule, who have a wholly unique and revolutionary method of creating both diesel fuel and Ethanol type fuel for gasoline powered automobiles.
These fuels are reported to be 100% compatible with most modern engines and fuel systems, and are drop in, meaning they are direct replacement for current fossil fuels. Also, Joule does not use any food crop to produce their fuels.
This is truly intriguing technology, and is an encouraging sign for the future of our planet. Joule is creating fuel from waste products, and carefully cultured microorganisms, and using solar energy to create the fuel.
From Joule -
Joule is deploying a revolutionary platform for renewable fuel and chemical production that is expected to eclipse the scalability, productivities and cost efficiency of any known alternative to fossil fuel today.
Unlike fuels produced from agricultural or algal biomass, Joule produces fuels directly and continuously from sunlight and waste CO2 – avoiding costly raw materials, pretreatment and downstream processing. The company’s Heliocultureplatform uses photosynthetic microorganisms as living catalysts to produce fuel, not as intermediates to produce lipids or sugars that are subsequently converted to fuel.
The entire process takes place in a novel SolarConverter® system, from photon capture to product creation and initial separation, with no requirement for arable land, fresh water or crops. Furthermore, this uniquely modular system can achieve replicable productivity whether installed across 250 or 25,000 acres – demonstrating Joule’s capability without the scale-up costs and risks that have hindered biofuels for years.
Joule’s highly efficient process, lack of feedstock constraints and readily scalable system will allow the company to deliver unprecedented volumes of renewable fuel at highly competitive costs. Upon full-scale commercialization, the company ultimately targets 25,000 gallons of Sunflow-E and 15,000 gallons of Sunflow-D per acre annually, for as little as $1.28/gallon and $50/barrel respectively (excluding subsidies). These products will directly address the global markets for ethanol and diesel fuel without the economic or environmental consequences of their biomass- or fossil-derived counterparts.
Joule has successfully pilot-tested its platform for over two years, commissioned its SunSprings demonstration plant, and launched a global subsidiary, Joule Fuels, to deploy fuel production sites worldwide. Initial construction is expected to begin in 2013.
Joule is privately held and has raised $110+ million in funding to date. The company is headquartered in Bedford, Massachusetts with operations in Hobbs, New Mexico and The Hague, Netherlands.