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Sorbent Assisted Catalyst for the One-Pot Sequestration and Conversion of Renewable Feedstocks into Fuels

Ames Laboratory

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Technology Marketing Summary

Iowa State University and Ames Laboratory researchers have developed a technology that provides a simplified and economical production of hydrocarbon fuel from renewable resources with higher energy potential compared to ethanol or biodiesel. The ability to achieve higher yields from lipid feedstock, and in particular algae oils, by not utilizing current methods of fatty acid conversion to methyl esters, makes this technology economically attractive. Iowa State University and Ames Laboratory are looking for industry partners to commercialize this technology.

Treatment of microalgal oil with the catalyst system has been shown to have high conversion rates of free fatty acids to liquid hydrocarbons. Samples are available and ready for testing.


Conversion of fatty acids to biodiesel has enabled energy properties comparable to conventional fuel sources derived from petroleum products.  However, the use of strong alkali catalysts and elimination of the glycerol waste component from the lipid conversion process reduces the yields obtained from the renewable feedstock. Separation of lipids from various sources such as algae has also presented a significant obstacle to the commercial viability of biorenewable fuels.  In order to achieve the conversion yield of complex, lipid feedstock mixtures comparable to conventional hydrocarbon fuels, Iowa State University and Ames Laboratory researchers have developed a catalyst system that enables selective adsorption and catalytic conversion of the targeted lipids into hydrocarbons.  The catalyst design enables the production of gasoline or diesel fuels that is chemically equivalent to that derived from petrochemicals without generating a glycerol byproduct.

• Complete conversion of lipids into hydrocarbon fuel
• Economical process
• Catalyst can be recycled


Applications and Industries

Fuel Production from Biorenewable Lipid Feedstocks

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To: Craig Forney<>