The renewable hope for the aviation industry would appear to rest with either fuel derived from algal oil extraction – likely using fermentation methods - and blended with petroleum jet fuel or ‘drop-in’ fuels that make use of fats, oils and greases (FOG) as the feedstock in combination with lipid-to-hydrocarbon (LTH) technologies. Both technology options have their supporters and detractors with respect to actual environmental benefits. Of course, the acid test is can the green fuel be cost competitive against petroleum-based fuels? Most biofuels companies tend to ‘cheat’ when it comes to pricing by including the contribution of higher-value co-products. This argument is defended largely by saying that this is little different to the ‘crack spread’ that, in part, determines profitability in a petroleum-based refinery. However, the weight of that argument is lessened in that many protégé biofuels companies quickly focus on co-products and appear to retain the biofuel label as a means of attracting renewable program funds from the public sector.
At Haisley Millar Consulting Group we are keeping our finger on the renewables pulse in our work with two excellent Canadian-based companies. MARA Renewables Corporation’s focus, the production of lipid oil from algae, is similar to Solazyme. The oil can then be converted into a range of biofuels. The innovative FORGE Hydrocarbons Corporation have developed a proprietary LTH technology to produce drop-in fuels from FOG. Of course, being based in Houston, Texas, Haisley Millar Consulting Group works closely with the conventional and unconventional energy sectors – most recently in LNG.
For more information on our work in clean, conventional and unconventional energy, please contact David H. Millar.