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Successful biorefinery tech startup at Euglena's algae-to-biofuels project

Chevron Lummus Global (CLG) and Applied Research Associates, Inc. (ARA) have announced the successful startup of Euglena Co., Ltd. (Euglena) integrated Biofuels ISOCONVERSION unit in Yokohama, Japan. The 5 barrel-per-day (BPD), first-of-its-kind demonstration unit, employs the Biofuels ISOCONVERSION technology, jointly developed by CLG and ARA, to produce renewable jet fuel and renewable diesel out of an algae oil blend and waste vegetable oil.

An overview of Euglena’s 125 000 litre-per-annum advanced biofuels demo plant in Japan (photo courtesy Euglena).

Although completed in late 2018, Euglena successfully started up the demo-unit in 2020, and its renewable diesel products have met all specifications of a Japanese standard of diesel fuel “JIS K2204”. The company has started supplying a renewable diesel to local bus services for passenger transportation.

Euglena also plans to produce a sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) that meets the ASTM D7566 Annex 6 specifications and supply it to commercial flights in Japan. ASTM International has already approved the new Catalytic Hydrothermolysis Jet (CHJ) production pathway for SAF and Japanese regulatory authorities have amended relevant domestic regulations accordingly.

Euglena intends to deliver CHJ fuel for commercial flights in the coming years through the use of the Biofuels ISOCONVERSION technology.

We are excited to see euglena Co. take this meaningful step forward in its bold quest to become a leader in the production of low carbon intensity sustainable aviation fuel from algae and waste fats, oils, and greases, said Chuck Red, ARA’s Vice President of Fuels Development.

Hydrothermal conversion and hydroprocessing

Biofuels ISOCONVERSION technology consists of hydrothermal conversion and hydroprocessing operations that convert waste fats, oils, and greases into jet fuel and diesel that are virtually indistinguishable from their petroleum counterparts.

This will result in an over 80 percent reduction in lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions compared to petroleum, once it is commercialized. “ReadiJet” and “ReadiDiesel”, produced from the Biofuels ISOCONVERSION technology, contain a uniform distribution of all hydrocarbon types observed in petroleum fuels, including aromatic, cycloparaffin, isoparaffin, and normal paraffin compounds, and are able to be directly blended with petroleum fuels.

CLG is proud to be a part of the successful demonstration of the Biofuels ISOCONVERSION technology at Euglena Co. and looks forward to implementing it at a larger scale at several other locations around the world, said Thad Sauvain, CLG’s Director of Global Sales and Licensing.

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