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Green gasoline developer licenses ExxonMobil technology

By Luke Geiver | July 03, 2012

The advanced biofuels and gasification technology developer Sundrop Fuels Inc. has added another energy giant to its list of partners. Through a licensing agreement, Sundrop Fuels will add a methanol-to-gasoline (MTG) technology provided by ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Co. to its proposed 50 MMgy facility in Alexandria, La. The company already has an impressive list of financial backers or industry partners. In 2011, Chesapeake Energy Corp., the second largest natural gas producer in the nation, invested $155 million into the company. Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers, and Oak Investment Partners have also invested in the company.

Sundrop Fuels plans to combine the MTG technology with its own technology, a proprietary radiant particle heat transfer gasification technology. The MTG system was first developed in the 1970’s and later commercialized at a natural gas-to-gasoline plant in New Zealand during the 1980s. The gasification system will convert woody biomass and hydrogen from a natural gas stream into syngas and then into methanol. The MTG unit will then stream the methanol into a fixed-bed reactor, creating hydrocarbons and water, according to Sundrop Fuels. The end product, the company also said, is a zero-sulfur, ultra-low benzene gasoline that can be used directly or blended.

Wayne Simmons, CEO for the company, said using the MTG system provides the company with a proven fuel synthesis method to maximize the gasification platform.

The licensing announcement comes only a month after Sundrop Fuels announced a partnership with ThyssenKrupp Uhde, a coal and biomass gasification technology provider. The company will deploy the High Temperature Winkler gasification process from ThyssenKrupp Uhde in combination with its own gasification technology.