BEDFORD, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Joule, the pioneer of direct, solar recycling of CO2-to-liquid fuels, announced today that it has gained significant traction in the acceleration and commercialization of environmentally sustainable fuel. Joule closed out 2014 with major developments across the entire company, leading to the decision to undertake a staged industrialization process, to culminate in a 1000-acre production plant starting construction in 2017. This decision comes at a critical moment in global climate change marked by 2014 being the warmest year on the planet, further underscoring the need for large scale industrial companies to engage in rapidly enabling scalable CO2 mitigating solutions.
Joule has developed groundbreaking pathways for fuel production through modified biocatalysts and demonstrated production of both ethanol and diesel via engineered metabolic pathways. In addition, during 2014, Joule systematically worked to ensure scalability of its process and completed successive end-to-end production of CO2-to-liquid fuels at its scaled demonstration facility in Hobbs, New Mexico. As an industry first, Joule has developed proprietary methods to effectively control contamination in its production process while showing increased efficiencies.
The first end-to-end scaled production run, which took place in October following two years of pilot testing, produced significant and record-levels of ethanol. This pivotal event shows that conversion of CO2 directly to carbon-neutral fuels is possible in the near future, which would significantly impact humanity’s ability to combat climate change on a global scale.
Additional 2014 highlights include:
- Announcing that it was the first organization to gain clearance from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for commercial use of a strain of a modified cyanobacterium for fuel production in the Hobbs, New Mexico facility;
- Overcoming the natural limitations of photosynthesis, achieving a 100-percent increase in photosynthetic efficiency, levels that were previously thought unattainable;
- Showing two products, Sunflow©-D and Sunflow©-J, meet the initial standards of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) for diesel and jet fuel, respectively, marking another step toward commercial readiness of Joule fuels;
- Strengthening its patent portfolio, bringing the total number of granted patents, validations and allowances to 61 with an additional 96 applications pending.
To usher in its next phase of development, Joule has assembled a new, world class management team in 2014 that is well-versed in industrialization and commercialization. In November, the company appointed industry veteran Serge Tchuruk as President and CEO. Tchuruk, who has deep experience in technology and global business, recently served as Chairman and CEO of Alcatel leading the company's merger with Lucent Technologies. He also served as Chairman of TOTAL, a leading oil and gas company.
"In addition to significant productivity improvements to our technology platform in the last 12 months, our first successful end-to-end runs that produced increasing quantities of ethanol are huge steps toward commercialization,” said Tchuruk. “We're looking forward to a busy and successful 2015 that will put Joule on the global map as a leader in delivering against its vision of creating a recycled CO2, clean, affordable drop-in fuel for a sustainable future."
In 2015, Joule plans to establish a coalition of industrialization partners: global brands with an increasing commercial need for CO2-recycled, carbon-neutral fuels. These companies will join Audi, Joule’s existing strategic partner, and other collaborators to accelerate the development of carbon-neutral fuels at large scale. Joule will continue to showcase commercial scalability of its systems by expanding its facility in Hobbs, New Mexico and optimizing its process with increasingly productive biocatalysts. Stay tuned for more news on these programs and developments which will be announced throughout 2015.
Joule has pioneered a CO2-to-fuel production platform, effectively reversing combustion through the use of solar energy. The company’s platform applies engineered biocatalysts to continuously convert waste CO2 directly into renewable fuels such as ethanol or hydrocarbons for diesel, jet fuel and gasoline. Free of feedstock constraints and complex processing, Joule’s process can achieve unrivaled scalability, volumes and costs without the use of agricultural land, fresh water or crops. Joule is privately held and has raised over $160 million in funding to date, led by Flagship Ventures. The company operates from Bedford, Massachusetts and The Hague, The Netherlands, with production operations in Hobbs, New Mexico. Additional information is available at www.jouleunlimited.com.