Dow and NREL Partner to Develop Mixed Alcohol Catalyst

The Dow Chemical Company and the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have announced an agreement to jointly develop and evaluate a process to convert biomass into ethanol and other chemical building blocks.

Dow is currently developing a mixed alcohol catalyst. The company’s process will use non-food ingredients such as the leaves from a corn plant or wood wastes and convert the bio-based material through a gasification process to synthesis gas. Dow’s technology helps convert the synthesis gas into a mixture of alcohols including ethanol that can be used as transportation fuels or chemical building blocks.

The joint evaluation program will focus on improving the mixed alcohol catalyst, as well as demonstrating pilot scale performance and the commercial relevance of an integrated facility.

“NREL is interested in reducing the cost of biofuels in support of the nation’s energy goals,” said Dan Arvizu, director of NREL. “Dow’s catalyst technology and expertise in catalyst development and testing will be extremely helpful as we evaluate the viability of this approach on a larger scale.”

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