Liquid Fuels from Alternative Carbon Sources Minimizing Carbon Dioxide Emissions

Authors

  • Matthew J. Metzger,

    1. Dept. of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, Rutgers University, Piscataway, NJ
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  • Benjamin J. Glasser,

    1. Dept. of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, Rutgers University, Piscataway, NJ
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  • Bilal Patel,

    1. Dept. of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering, Centre of Material and Process Synthesis, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
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  • James Fox,

    1. Dept. of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering, Centre of Material and Process Synthesis, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
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  • Baraka Celestin Sempuga,

    1. Dept. of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering, Centre of Material and Process Synthesis, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
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  • Diane Hildebrandt,

    1. Dept. of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering, Centre of Material and Process Synthesis, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
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  • David Glasser

    Corresponding author
    • Dept. of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering, Centre of Material and Process Synthesis, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
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Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to D. Glasser at david.glasser@wits.ac.za.

Abstract

The energy needs of the world continue to grow, as does the resulting environmental impact. Policy makers continue to call for alternative energies to replace today's petroleum-based liquid fuels. However, liquid fuels have significant advantages, and it is probably unwise to abandon the existing infrastructure without appropriately exploring alternatives to lessen the environmental burden of producing liquid fuels. Biomass and coal are often proposed as alternatives to petroleum-based carbon sources, but those processes lose a significant amount of their potential product to unwanted carbon dioxide emissions. However, combining biomass and coal with cleaner natural gas yields processes with less environmental impact to produce liquid fuels with small, zero, or even negative carbon dioxide emissions. Our process synthesis approach is applied to commonly encountered liquid fuel production methods to identify promising routes and to establish feasibility limits on those less promising alternatives. © 2013 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 59: 2062–2078, 2013

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