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Joule’s Demonstration Plant Moves Forward

CO2-to-fuel production company Joule says the EPA has favorably reviewed its Microbial Commercial Activity Notice (MCAN) for Joule’s first commercial ethanol-producing catalyst.

This clears the catalyst for commercial use at the company’s demonstration plant in Hobbs, NM. This also marks the first time that the EPA has allowed the commercial use of a modified cyanobacterium, the company says.

MCAN filings are required by the EPA prior to commercial use of certain modified microbes, including for biofuel or bio-based chemical production. In its review of Joule’s MCAN, the EPA had no health or safety objections to use of the modified strain at the Hobbs facility. Joule and the EPA have entered into a voluntary consent order that allows Joule to use this catalyst strain commercially at the Hobbs facility, while also providing the EPA with further data resulting from such use.

Joule has developed a portfolio of catalysts that are engineered to continuously consume and convert industrial waste CO2 emissions directly to transportation fuels. The catalysts are derived from an environmentally benign cyanobacterium that exists naturally in the wild, and Joule has redirected the metabolism of multiple strains for the production of specific products, including ethanol and diesel-range alkanes. The company says this enables the continuous, single-step conversion of CO2 to fuels, negating the need for biomass feedstocks and complex downstream processing.

In May, Joule’s Sunflow-D and Sunflow-J CO2-neutral fuels met the standards of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) for diesel and jet fuel, respectively. Demonstrating ASTM compliance marks another step toward commercial readiness of CO2-derived hydrocarbon fuels, the company says.

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