Joule is deploying a revolutionary platform for renewable fuel and chemical production that is expected to eclipse the scalability, productivities and cost efficiency of any known alternative to fossil fuel today.
Joule capitalizes on the global abundance of waste CO2 to economically produce renewable fuels and chemicals. The company’s Sunflow™ products drop into conventional fuel blendstock in high percentages, displacing more oil than biofuels and allowing seamless adoption. Manufactured without feedstock constraints or complex processing, Sunflow fuels achieve high volumes and low costs with no dependence on subsidies or precious natural resources. Through its subsidiaries, Joule Unlimited Technologies and Joule Fuels, the company advances both technology development and commercial deployment to achieve market impact as soon as 2015.
Commercial scale should be 1000 acre plants. This should mean 25 million gallons per year of Sunflow-E (ethanol replacement).
Upon full-scale commercialization, the company ultimately targets 25,000 gallons of Sunflow™-E and 15,000 gallons of Sunflow™-D per acre annually, for as little as $1.28/gallon and $50/barrel respectively (excluding subsidies). These products will directly address the global markets for ethanol and diesel fuel without the economic or environmental consequences of their biomass- or fossil-derived counterparts.
Joule has successfully pilot-tested its platform for over two years, commissioned its SunSprings™ demonstration plant, and launched a global subsidiary, Joule Fuels, to deploy fuel production sites worldwide. Construction of the first commercial plants is expected to begin in 2014.
To date, renewable hydrocarbon-based fuel substitutes have required the complex, multi-step conversion of algal or other agricultural biomass feedstocks into fuel pre-cursors, and subsequent chemical upgrading. In contrast, Joule has engineered photosynthetic biocatalysts that convert waste CO2 into hydrocarbons through a patented, continuous process. Joule has been successfully scaling its process for making ethanol (Sunflow-E) while also developing long-chain hydrocarbons for diesel (Sunflow-D). With its latest breakthrough, Joule becomes the first company able to directly produce medium-chain hydrocarbons which are substantial components of gasoline (Sunflow-G) and jet fuel (Sunflow-J).
Joule’s hydrocarbon fuels have the additional benefit of being inherently sulfur-free. For the diesel and gasoline markets, this gives refiners the ability to meet sulfur content requirements without raising production costs or fuel prices. As just announced on March 29, 2013, the US Environmental Protection Agency is seeking to further reduce the sulfur content of gasoline by more than 60% beginning in 2017, requiring significant capital cost of $10 billion and additional annual operating cost of $2.4 billion for refiners, according to the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM). Instead, Joule Sunflow-G would seamlessly cut sulfur content by comprising a substantial portion of the final product.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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