11101 W. 120th Avenue, Suite 200
Broomfield, CO 80021
Range Fuels is a privately held company funded by Khosla Ventures, LLC, arguably the top venture firm in the U.S. focusing on alternative, clean (green) energy systems. Their leadership team melds experience from the fast-paced, high-tech world, and the technologically intense coal, coal gasification, and gas-to-liquids industries.
They convert biomass into fuel-grade ethanol using emerging clean energy technologies. Biomass includes all plant and plant-derived material, such as wood, switch grass, corn stover, and miscanthus grass – making it a renewable energy resource that produces no net greenhouse gases.
Range Fuels can produce more ethanol for a given amount of energy expended than is possible with any other competing process. This key difference is a result of their ability to convert all – not just some – of the biomass used, along with their modular facilities, which bring the conversion process right to the biomass source. Their approach is highly flexible, efficient, cost effective, and scalable.
Range Fuels has invented a two-step thermo-chemical process to produce cellulosic ethanol. Even if these words are foreign to you, the positives are sure to resonate: the process is self-sustaining, produces virtually no waste products, emits very low levels of greenhouse gases, and produces high yields of clean ethanol.
A Design Driven by Efficiency
Their focus on efficiency goes beyond how they produce ethanol – it also extends to where they produce it. Their distributive design lets them bring systems to sources where biomass is most plentiful, instead of having to transport biomass to a central processing site. This reduces transportation costs and related transportation fuel consumption. Their modularity also allows the system to grow as more biomass becomes available. Simply adding another module – which is easy to ship and install – immediately doubles the output. They put their systems where they are needed, in just the size that is needed.
Range Fuels’ entire approach is based upon the invention of eco-friendly technology. The best evidence of this is that they produce more ethanol per energy input than competing technologies. Nature likes this. Especially since everything going in is plant and waste material that serves no useful purpose. We call this conversion “waste to value,” and this thrust is what motivates us to keep working our hardest.
The Two-Step Thermo-Chemical Process
Step 1: Solids to Gas
Biomass (all plant and plant-derived material) that cannot be used for food, such as agricultural waste, is fed into a converter. Using heat, pressure, and steam the feedstock is converted into synthesis gas (syngas), which is cleaned before entering the second step.
Step 2: Gas to Liquids
The cleaned syngas is passed over the proprietary catalyst and transformed into mixed alcohols. These alcohols are then separated and processed to maximize the yield of ethanol of a quality suitable for use in fueling vehicles.
A Simple Process
Because Range Fuels’ process utilizes a thermo-chemical process, it relies on the chemical reactions and conversions between forms that naturally occur when certain materials are mixed under specific combinations of temperature and pressure. Other conversion processes use enzymes, yeasts, and other biological means to convert between forms.
The Range Fuels process accommodates a wide range of organic feedstocks of various types, sizes, and moisture contents. This flexibility eliminates commercial problems related to fluctuations in feed material quality and ensures success in the real world, far from laboratory-controlled conditions.
Tested and True
Range Fuels’ technology has been tested and proven in bench and pilot-scale units for over 7 years. Over 8,000 hours of testing has been completed on over 20 different non-food feedstocks with varying moisture contents and sizes, including wood waste, olive pits, and more. This technology will be used in their first plant planned for a site near Soperton, Georgia.