Start Your Engines: High-Octane Bio-Gas from Primus Green Energy

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As oil prices soar, the exploration of alternative fuel sources continues. Primus Green Energy, based in Hillsborough, New Jersey, has created a high quality, 93-octane bio-gasoline at a price that will be both competitive and profitable once production is scaled up.

According to Dr. George Boyajian, Primus Green Energy’s VP of Business Development, the company has numerous patent applications related to gasification, and the application of liquid fuel synthesis technology. The patent applications are in various stages of the application process, Dr. Boyajian stated, but he expects that several will be published by the end of this year.

Primus Green Energy’s technology can create 93-octane bio-gasoline from biomass or natural gas. Thus, the plant can still produce bio-gasoline using natural gas if needed, and will still yield the same high-quality product.

Miscanthus, an energy grass that can grow up to 15 tons per acre each year and does not displace fuel crops, is the biomass of choice.

The following diagram from the company website illustrates the basic process Primus Green Energy utilizes to create bio-gasoline:

First, the biomass is placed into a gasifier with steam, and through a thermochemical process, turns the substances into a syngas. The syngas is made of hydrogen gas and carbon monoxide. The syngas is then scrubbed to take out sulfur and carbon dioxide. A liquid fuel synthesis finally converts the syngas to 93-octane.

According to Dr. Boyajian, “The key to making the process efficient is having a ratio of 2.2 to 1 of hydrogen to carbon monoxide.” 93-octane is good for refiners and blenders due to its low vapor pressure, low corrosion, good cold flow properties, good lubricity, the right amount of aromatics, and low benzene.

The company currently has a pilot plant in Hillsborough, New Jersey that produces several kilograms of gasoline each hour, according to Dr. Boyajian. The continuous demonstration plant, which is also in Hillsborough, is currently under construction and will produce 30 kg of gasoline each hour upon completion.

Recently, Primus Green Energy received a $12 million investment to complete its continuous demonstration plant. See the Bloomberg article for more information.

In 2013, Primus Green Energy expects to break ground on a commercial plant that will produce as much as 4.5 million gallons of bio-gasoline annually. The following pictures are of the Hillsborough, New Jersey plant:

Primus Green Energy’s lead investor is IC Green, a green energy arm of Israel Corporation, and the company’s engineering procurement construction contractor is Bechtel Corporation. The company also has an array of other partnerships with companies including Echotherm, ECO Energy, and Lockheed Martin.

Dr. Boyajian is confident in the technology and states, “Primus Green Energy makes gasoline and only gasoline. It is a high quality 93-octane gasoline that will be competitively priced and profitable, even if oil is only 60-70 dollars per barrel. Yields have been demonstrated repeatedly at 27% by weight, and yields are expected to reach 33%.”

Article by Rosemary Ostfeld is a contributor to Green Patent Blog. Rosemary recently completed both her undergraduate and graduate education at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. She double majored in Biology, and Earth & Environmental Sciences as an undergraduate, and received her Master’s in Earth & Environmental Sciences.

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Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.

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