Waste to Fuels Technology

The IH² (Integrated Hydropyrolysis and Hydroconversion) technology is a continuous catalytic thermochemical process estimated to provide a cost-effective route, from a broad spectrum of organic wastes to fungible liquid hydrocarbon transportation fuels.

Useful feedstocks include virtually any type of non-food biomass — such as forestry and agricultural residues, algae, aquatic plants and cellulosic fractions of municipal waste, including most types of plastic — to gasoline, jet and diesel range hydrocarbon fuels and/or blend stocks. This process was invented by the Gas Technology Institute (GTI) of Des Plaines, IL in 2009 and further developed with CRI from 2010. GTI has licensed the IH² technology to CRI Catalyst Company (CRI) for exclusive worldwide deployment.

Based on the laboratory studies with more than 10,000 hours on stream data, capital estimations have been completed for full-scale design feed rates up to 2,000 tonnes/day. Economics for the 2,000 tonnes/day woody biomass feed and 60.9 million gallon/year facility were conducted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the capital which has been validated by a global engineering and construction company. Based on the NREL economic estimate, the minimum fuel selling price (MFSP), inflated to 2012 dollars, would be ~$2.00/gallon. Using data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, a simplified average breakeven crude price estimate of $60/bbl was generated for the NREL techno-economic analysis.

Hydropyrolysis inspection at the PMB plant in the UK

IH² technology integration is flexible and accommodates operations ranging from paper mills and ethanol plants to recycling operations and hydrocarbon refineries.

The IH² process has four primary elements. The first is biomass conditioning, sizing and drying waste to moisture. The second element involves hydrodeoxygenation of the biomass to produce a raw hydrocarbon product. This serves both to remove oxygen and remove highly reactive and corrosive components to provide a stable hydrocarbon product. The third element is a fixed-bed hydrotreater, which uses other proprietary CRI catalysts to polish the first-stage product and transform it into a finished hydrocarbon fuel or blend stock. The fourth element is a Hydrogen Manufacturing Unit (HMU), which converts light gases generated in the first-stage to renewable hydrogen.

The individual elements are all commercial, which minimises design risk and allows for rapid implementation of the IH² technology.

Strategic Alliances for Waste to Fuel Technology

Shell Catalysts & Technologies partners with a number of companies in the upstream & renewables market with IH² technology.

Biomass to Fuels: IH² Commercial Process Optimisation

More than 30 process and catalyst patents have resulted from efforts at Shell Technology Centre Bangalore in collaboration with GTI.

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