The U.S. is in urgent need of alternatives to petroleum-based transportation. With gas prices routinely above $4 per gallon, and numerous known petroleum reserves held in geopolitically unstable regions, there is a need for investment in cost-effective alternative fuel sources, such as natural gas. These cost efficiencies can be difficult to achieve, as many of our natural gas reserves are in geographically isolated areas. Developing small-scale gas-to-liquid reactors that can be deployed in remote locations and produce cost-effective natural gas would go a long way toward replacing gasoline as our base transport fuel.
Project Innovation + Advantages:
Bio2Electric is developing a small-scale reactor that converts natural gas into a feedstock for industrial chemicals or liquid fuels. Conventional, large-scale gas-to-liquid reactors are expensive and not easily scaled down. Bio2Electric’s reactor relies on a chemical conversion and fuel cell technology resulting in fuel cells that create a valuable feedstock, as well as electricity. In addition, the reactor relies on innovations in material science by combining materials that have not been used together before, thereby altering the desired output of the fuel cell. The reactors can be efficiently built as modular units, therefore reducing the manufacturing costs of the reactor. Bio2Electric’s small-scale reactor could be deployed in remote locations to provide electricity in addition to liquid fuel, increasing the utility of geographically isolated gas reserves.
If successful, Bio2Electric’s small-scale, gas-to-liquid reactor would be 10-15% more efficient than today’s best reactors at 50% of the cost of other modular gas-to-liquid systems.
Increasing the utility of geographically isolated natural gas reserves would decrease U.S. dependence on foreign oil—the transportation sector is the dominant source of this dependence.
Trillions of cubic feet of natural gas are burned off, or “flared,” during petroleum refinery. Reactors that capture and convert natural gas into fuel would result in a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from the refinery industry.
Widespread use of natural gas as transportation fuel would decrease our foreign oil imports, allowing us to keep more dollars at home.