UGI, Vertimass to Produce Renewable Fuels in US, Europe

Source: By DTN • Posted: Thursday, January 6, 2022

OAKHURST, N.J. (DTN) — UGI Corporation announced Wednesday it has entered into a 15-year agreement with California-based technology developer Vertimass to utilize their catalytic technology to produce renewable fuels from renewable ethanol in the United States and Europe.

The agreement centers on the development of production facilities using Vertimass’ catalytic technology to convert renewable ethanol into renewable propane and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). The technology enables flexible production of the renewable fuels to align with regional market demand. Up to 50% of the total production capacity from these facilities can be renewable propane that will support UGI’s ongoing efforts to provide innovative, low-carbon, sustainable energy solutions to its customers.

UGI expects to invest either solely, jointly with Vertimass or in partnership with third parties to build and operate multiple production facilities over the next 15 years in locations across the United States and Europe, significantly increasing the supply of renewable propane and SAF. UGI anticipates a total investment of roughly $500 million for the bolt-on production facilities over a 15-year period, including third-party investment, with total production target from these aggregated facilities of approximately 1 billion gallons of combined renewable fuels per annum. The goal is to have the first production facility onstream in fiscal year 2024 with an annual production target of approximately 50 million gallons of combined renewable fuels.

Vertimass employs catalytic technology to convert renewable ethanol and other renewable alcohols into renewable hydrocarbon fuels that are compatible with the existing equipment and infrastructure. This technology can be bolted onto existing ethanol production facilities, optimizing greenhouse gas emissions reduction, and bringing further end product diversification to the existing ethanol producer.

Vertimass is developing a unique Consolidated Alcohol Deoxygenation and Oligomerization technology to allow ethanol producers to: 1) Produce SAF and diesel blendstocks that are compatible with the current transportation fuel infrastructure as well as liquified petroleum gases — mainly propane and butane; 2) Eliminate the ethanol “blend wall” by converting ethanol into fungible gasoline components for powering light duty vehicles; 3) Produce intermediates used to make plastics and other higher value products; and 4) Possibly debottleneck processes to increase throughput with little additional costs other than for feedstock. CADO completely converts wet ethanol, and other alcohols, into targeted hydrocarbons in a simple reactor system at moderate temperatures and near atmospheric pressure without adding hydrogen. Other benefits include the ability to lower plant water usage, reduce overall energy consumption, and drop GHG emissions to levels required for the Renewable Fuel Standard Advanced Biofuel category.

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