NEW YORK – In a ceremony during its Annual Meeting in Salt Lake City last week, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) presented its Sustainable Energy Award to the UOP-ENI Biologically-based fuels team. The award, which was first presented in 2009, recognizes individuals, teams or companies who have made a significant contribution toward alternative energy development, generation and use.
The UOP-ENI Biologically-based Fuels Team received the award for its approach to producing diesel and jet fuels from a broad range of biomaterials. Chris Gosling, UOP’s director of refining development, and Giovanni Faraci, feasibility study and technology benchmarking manager for Eni’s Refining and Marketing Division, accepted the award for the Des Plaines, Illinois-based company. Robert Davis, chair of AIChE’s Awards Committee and a professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder, presented them with the award.
In making the presentation, Davis described how the UOP- ENI team developed an innovative approach to hydroprocessing of bio-feedstocks to selectively convert a variety of bio-derived oils to jet fuels and diesel using existing refinery infrastructure and distribution networks. The bio-products resulting from these processes are directly blendable into the current fuel supply without modification of delivery infrastructure or the jet and diesel engines.
UOP-ENI says the key to this breakthrough was the invention of new catalysts and process flowschemes. These inventions led to the UOP/ENI “Ecofining” process for Green Diesel, with large samples produced for testing by engine manufacturers. UOP has extended the technology to produce “green” jet fuel, with more than 60,000 gallons produced for commercial test flights. UOP’s Life Cycle Analysis for production of both Green Diesel and Green Jet fuels show that, in one example, the greenhouse gas savings of its camelina-based processes are estimated to be about 85-90 percent. The company has filed 28 U.S. patent applications for its Ecofining diesel and jet fuel technologies.