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Joule achieves US EPA registration for CO2-recycled ethanol

Joule, the developer of a direct, single-step, continuous process for the production of solar hydrocarbon fuels using engineered cyanobacteria, announced that its fuel-grade Sunflow-E ethanol has been registered by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for commercial use in E10 and E15 gasoline blends.
Earlier this year, testing initiated by Audi, Joule’s strategic partner in the automotive space (earlier post) confirmed that Joule’s ethanol meets: American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) D4806 – Denatured fuel ethanol for blending with gasolines for use as automotive spark-ignition engine fuel; and German Institute for Standardization (DIN) EN 15376 – Ethanol as a blending component for gasoline. (Earlier post.) Joule used these results in the registration approval process.

Joule Sunflow-E ethanol is chemically identical to its traditional counterparts, but differs in the way it is produced. Joule converts CO2 to ethanol directly in a continuous process, using the engineered bacteria as living catalysts rather than biomass feedstocks. At full-scale commercialization, Joule ultimately targets productivity of up to 25,000 gallons of Sunflow-E ethanol per acre annually.

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We are approaching commercialization with a technology that is first of its kind, able to convert CO2 directly into multiple drop-in fuels. It is critical to prove its readiness by meeting government and industry requirements. Having secured EPA registration, our fuel grade Sunflow-E ethanol is now cleared for use.

Following a full year of production at our demonstration plant, we have achieved a several-fold advance in outdoor productivity. Additionally, we have reached unprecedented levels in our lab reactors, and we know the steps required to replicate these results outdoors. This will further strengthen our position to initiate global deployment.—Serge Tchuruk, President and CEO of Joule