Altex Technologies has selected Unitel to provide engineering services to design and build a pilot system that will produce 1 BPD of synthetic gasoline from biomass.

This project is funded by a grant from the California Energy Commission under the auspices of its Alternative and Renewable Fuels and Vehicle Testing Program.

Some of the feedstocks that Altex plans to use include alfalfa, corn stover, switchgrass, and processed woodchips. "Data generated by this pilot plant, that will be located in Sunnyvale, California, will enable us to design a commercial plant to make 3,000 BPD of ASTM Standard D4814 gasoline at a cost of less than $2 per gallon," says Dr. Mehdi Namazian, Vice President of Altex. "In order to support California’s aggressive objectives regarding greenhouse gas emissions, we intend to achieve a climate change related carbon intensity of 30 g CO2e/MJ, that will be 65% less than petroleum based gasoline" he adds.

The Altex process is unique because it does not require the intermediate conversion of the feedstock into synthesis gas or pyrolysis liquids, plus it does not require hydrogen. Altex has a proven track record in creating innovative energy solutions – clean, quiet and cost effective. Much of the work that Altex has conducted to date on this technology has been supported by the US Department of Energy, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the US Army.

Unitel is a recognized pioneer in the design and construction of modular pilot and mini-plants. Over the years, the Unitel team has executed more than 1,300 projects, many of them first-of-a-kind, for 400+ major industrial firms and R&D organizations in 35 countries.

"Our most recent successful biomass project involves the design and construction of a recirculating fluid catalyst demo plant for RTI International," says Serge Randhava, CEO of Unitel. "The pyrolysis oil made by this unit is converted into oxygen-free fuels using a two-reactor hydrotreating pilot plant that was also designed and built by Unitel."