UGI, Vertimass partner to produce SAF, renewable propane from ethanol
UGI Corp. has entered into a 15-year agreement with California-based technology developer Vertimass to utilize its catalytic technology to produce renewable fuels from ethanol in the U.S. and Europe.
The agreement centers on the development of production facilities using Vertimass’ catalytic technology to convert ethanol into renewable propane and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). The technology enables flexible production of the renewable fuels to align with regional market demand. Up to 50 percent of the total production capacity from the facilities can be renewable propane that will support UGI’s ongoing efforts to provide low-carbon, sustainable energy solutions to its customers.
UGI expects to invest either solely, jointly with Vertimass, or in partnership with third parties to build and operate multiple production facilities over the next 15 years in locations across the U.S. and Europe. UGI anticipates a total investment of roughly $500 million for the bolt-on production facilities over a 15-year period, including potential third-party investment, with a total annual production target from these aggregated facilities of approximately 1 billion gallons. The goal is to have the first production facility onstream in fiscal year 2024 with an annual production target of approximately 50 million gallons.
Vertimass employs catalytic technology to convert ethanol and other renewable alcohols into hydrocarbon fuels that are compatible with the existing equipment and infrastructure. This technology can be bolted on to existing ethanol production facilities.
“This is another significant milestone in our commitment to providing renewable fuels to our customers,” said Roger Perreault, president and CEO of UGI Corp. “Our business-development team continues to seek out innovative opportunities and I am delighted with our newly established partnership with Vertimass. We believe this partnership will deliver significant renewable [liquified petroleum gases (LPG)] for our customers as well as bring investment opportunity to interested stakeholders.”
Charles Wyman, Vertimass president and CEO, added, “Vertimass is extremely excited to work with UGI to commercialize our breakthrough technology. UGI and Vertimass have built strong relationships over the past year, which we believe will cement success.”
Bill Shopoff, chairman of Vertimass, said, “Together we will take advantage of this unique low-cost technology to transform ethanol facilities and produce renewable fuels that will cover UGI’s global footprint, as well as enable the production of SAF.”
Vertimass is developing a consolidated alcohol deoxygenation and oligomerization (CADO) technology to allow ethanol producers to produce SAF and diesel blendstocks that are compatible with the current transportation fuel infrastructure as well as LPG. CADO completely converts wet ethanol (and other alcohols) into targeted hydrocarbons in a simple reactor system at moderate temperatures and near atmospheric pressure without adding hydrogen. Other benefits include the ability to lower plant water usage, reduce overall energy consumption, and drop GHG emissions to levels required for the Renewable Fuel Standard advanced biofuel category.