Ethical Issues Panel Discussion

In recent years, the maturation of the bioethanol industry has led to a more readily available platform for renewable fuels. However, the presence of the “blendwall” problem, as well as the shift in focus towards infrastructure compatible fuels has resulted in a need for processes that can utilize ethanol as a building block for more valuable fuels and chemical products. Ethanol condensation is a well-known chemistry that couples alcohols through an aldol condensation process to generate higher oxygenates. The higher oxygenates can be directly used as a chemical commodity or easily converted to infrastructure compatible fuels. To demonstrate the viability of infrastructure compatible fuels production, in particular jet fuel, from the ethanol coupling pathway the higher oxygenates generated from the ethanol coupling chemistry sent through a sequence of catalytic processing steps to produce the fuel fractions. The final jet fuel fraction was then analyzed using ASTM methods to compare the fuel properties with standard jet values. For jet fuel, ASTM standard for the freeze point is < -40 °C and the ethanol coupling generated jet fraction is < -70°C, which surpasses the freeze point requirement. ASTM requirement for the density at 15°C is between 0.775 - 0.840 kg/L and the ethanol coupling generated jet fraction density value (0.789 kg/L) falls in the ASTM required range. This talk will discuss the individual catalytic steps involved in generating the infrastructure compatible fuels via ethanol coupling reactions and the final fuel properties.