Many alt-rock fans think fondly of Primus, the name of the Bay Area funk-metal group led by legendary bassist Les Claypool. Now, perhaps, alt-fuel fans can get a similarly positive vibe.

Primus Green Energy is almost finished building a plant in New Jersey for its so-called "drop-in" gasoline made from a combination of natural gas and biomass, and dedicated the plant Friday.

The factory, which is located in Hillsborough, NJ – about 50 miles west of New York City – will cost about $12 million and will be for demonstration purposes. Primus's first commercial plant will break ground next year.

Primus' plant makes gasoline from a combination of natural gas and biomass produced from wood pellets. The company says it can make 93-octane gasoline from the products and estimates its cost at about $65 a barrel. That's about 25 percent less than the current cost of crude oil.

Primus said last month that it raised $12 million in its third round of equity funding through Israel's IC Green Energy Ltd., bringing the New Jersey-based company's total funds raised to $40 million within the past five years. With that kind of money, you could probably sail the seas of cheese.
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Primus Green Energy Demonstration Plant Nearing Completion in Hillsborough, N.J.

Plant Will Produce Drop-In Gasoline from Natural Gas and Biomass

Hillsborough, N.J. (June 20, 2012) – Construction work on a demonstration plant for Primus Green Energy Inc. (www.primusge.com), a developer of drop-in gasoline produced from natural gas and biomass, is nearing completion at the Primus Green Energy headquarters complex in Hillsborough, N.J., representing a major milestone on the company's path to commercialization.

The $12 million demonstration plant structure has been erected and three of the four reactors that will produce drop-in gasoline from natural gas have been installed, with completion scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2012. The demonstration plant will serve as a model for Primus Green Energy's first commercial plant, on which it expects to break ground in 2013. A pilot plant already exists at the site.

Primus will celebrate the dedication of its new demonstration plant at a June 22 ceremony.
The new plant will demonstrate the flexibility of the Primus Green Energy technology in terms of both feedstock and end product. Although the plant will initially use natural gas as a feedstock, it will later be adapted to use biomass in the form of premium wood pellets. The end products will include high quality, 93-octane gasoline that is virtually identical to gasoline produced from petroleum and jet fuel.

"The construction of our new demonstration plant is a tremendous achievement that showcases our ability to scale our technology," said Robert J. Johnsen, Primus' chief executive officer. "We have gone from the concept to the demonstration stage in only five years and now, with the demo plant, we can further refine our technology with the goal of moving us toward commercialization next year."

Primus Green Energy is a leader in the biofuel industry, whose goal is to produce affordable replacements for transportation fuels made from petroleum, thus enhancing energy security by reducing dependence on foreign oil. The cost of Primus' gasoline is about $65 a barrel, which, since crude oil is now trading for $83 a barrel and has recently traded for well over $100, makes it highly competitive with traditional gasoline.

Although many biofuel companies are producing transportation fuels, including ethanol, biodiesel and biocrude, Primus Green Energy is one of the few that is producing a drop-in replacement for gasoline. Unlike other biofuels, Primus Green Energy's product can be used directly in engines as a component of standard fuel formulas without costly engine modifications or changes to the fuel delivery infrastructure.

The liquid fuel synthesis technology used at the demo plant, which is expected to produce 33 liters per hour of gasoline, will convert syngas (a combination of hydrogen and carbon monoxide) into gasoline and jet fuel.

Primus' proprietary syngas-to-gasoline (STG) technology is an improved variant of a commercially proven process used by Mobil to produce gasoline in the 1980s and 1990s. Primus' improvements, however, produce higher yields and a better quality gasoline. Unlike the Mobil process, the Primus technology can also be used to produce jet fuel, diesel or bio-aromatic chemicals that are used as feedstocks in the plastics and chemical industries.

Plans call for incorporating Primus' proprietary steam-driven, fluidized bed biomass gasification technology into the demo plant production line next year. The gasification technology converts biomass such as pellets made from wood waste or energy crops such as Miscanthus into a syngas that is then transformed into transportation fuels.

"Although we consider ourselves a biofuel company, we will be using natural gas as a bridge to biofuels," Johnsen said. "Our initial use of natural gas, a domestic resource that has the virtue of being both abundant and cheap, will enable us to build a profitable plant that will validate our proprietary technology, which we can later adapt for use with biomass as a feedstock."

The dedication ceremony will be attended by state and federal environmental leaders, including former N.J. Gov. James J. Florio, who authored major federal environmental legislation as a congressman in the 1970s and 1980s, and N.J. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Assistant Commissioner (sustainability and green energy)Robert Marshall. The event will feature test drives of a car fueled by Primus gasoline and tours of the existing pilot plant.

For more information on Primus Green Energy, please visit www.primusge.com.

About Primus Green Energy Inc.
Headquartered in Hillsborough, N.J., Primus Green Energy has innovated a flexible renewable drop-in fuel technology that produces high-octane gasoline that can be used directly in engines as a component in standard fuel formulas without costly engine modifications or changes to the fuel delivery infrastructure. The Primus Green Energy technology is a proprietary version of proven commercial technologies to convert biomass and/or natural gas to a variety of liquid transportation fuels such as gasoline, diesel and jet fuel or specialty chemicals such as xylene and toluene. Primus Green Energy's technology has recorded the highest cellulose-to-gasoline conversion efficiency rate in the industry; is feedstock flexible through the use of natural gas as a supplement or replacement for biomass; and has low production and operational costs. Primus Green Energy is funded by IC Green Energy, the renewable energy arm of publicly traded Israel Corp. For more information, visit www.primusge.com.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 29 Comments
      • 2 Years Ago
      Some simple thoughts to add to the topic discussed by DaveMart & LTAW below: About the proposed hydrogen economy (not only for cars, but as a full scale economy): Automobiles powered by fuel cells have the potential to very quickly double the efficiency of cars while significantly reducing air pollution and solve the problems associated with petroleum (Air pollution / Environmental pollution / Global warming / Dependence). Everything from oil spills to ozone alerts to gl­obal warming connected to our dependence on fossil fuels. These two forces are leading the world toward what is broadly known as the hydrogen economy. If the predictions are true, over the next several decades we will all begin to see a shift away from the fossil fuel economy we have today toward a much cleaner hydrogen future.  Advantages of the hydrogen economy: The hydrogen economy is able to eliminate all of the problems that the fossil fuel economy creates, including: 1.) The elimination of pollution caused by fossil fuels - When hydrogen is used in a fuel cell to create power, it is a completely clean technology (only byproduct is water, also no environmental dangers like oil spills etc. to worry about). 2) The elimination of greenhouse gases - If the hydrogen comes from renewable energy sources - as e.g. we recently saw an example on ABG - then hydrogen adds no greenhouse gases to the environment.  In the future with direct 'solar fuel' technologies we can create a perfect cycle, where we only need two things: sunshine + water (MIND YOU: NOT electrolysis). And we'll have both "forever". 3.) The elimination of economic dependence - The elimination of oil means no dependence on the Middle East and its oil reserves. 4.) Distributed production - Hydrogen can be produced anywhere that you have sunshine and water. People can even produce it in their homes with relatively simple technology (as we already saw recently on ABG). The problems with the fossil fuel economy are so great, and the environmental advantages of the hydrogen economy so significant, that the push toward the hydrogen economy is very strong. #abouthydrogeneconomy
        • 2 Years Ago
        "THE ARTIFICIAL LEAF" (New Yorker) Most of the energy we use comes from photosynthesis. Green plants store energy from the sun in certain chemical bonds, and we exploit that energy when we eat plants, or when we eat animals that have eaten plants, or when we burn either plants or substances ultimately derived from plants: firewood, peat, coal, oil, natural gas, ethanol. Nocera [chemist / MIT] decided... hat the chemistry of green plants was the likeliest place to seek an answer to civilization’s long-term energy difficulties.  ...he persisted in his research, seeking a way to inexpensively replicate solar-energy conversion as performed by vegetation. At the 2011 national meeting of the American Chemical Society, Nocera announced a tangible breakthrough: a cheap, playing-card-size coated-silicon sheet that, when placed in a glass of tap water and exposed to sunlight, split the water into hydrogen and oxygen. " [i.e. artificial photosynthesis) http://m.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/05/14/120514fa_fact_owen "Scientists find a way to bring down cost of producing 'artificial leaf'" (Guardian) "The most efficient way to turn sunlight into energy has existed for around 400m years: photosynthesis. Scientists have been attempting to replicate this in artificial leaves for some time and have now taken a step forward by replacing expensive materials with cheaper ones. This is significant, because while artificial leaves could be the fuel cells of the future... In a real leaf, the hydrogen is then combined with CO2 from the atmosphere to make sugars, cell walls and other organic matter. In the artificial version, scientists use the hydrogen in fuel cells to make electricity..." http://m.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2012/may/11/scientists-cost-artificial-leaf?cat=environment&type=article #artificialleaf
        • 2 Years Ago
        Before I will be downgraded into oblivion on ABG - due to some thoughts about a widely accepted solution - for the benefit of mankind - to the problems generated by the fossil fuel economy, I add now the obligatory mantra here: HYDROGEN [FUEL CELL] IS CRAZY HYDROGEN [FUEL CELL]  WILL NEVER BE Krisz #crazyhydrogen
        Spec
        • 2 Years Ago
        "2) The elimination of greenhouse gases - If the hydrogen comes from renewable energy sources - as e.g. we recently saw an example on ABG - then hydrogen adds no greenhouse gases to the environment. " 98% of hydrogen is made by steam reforming and steam-reforming creates CO2. This mythical economical and efficient way of creating hydrogen seems to be the ???? of the underpants gnome scheme. #DidYouKnowThisIsNotTwitter
          • 1 Month Ago
          @Spec
          Spec, If you read my initial post more attentively, there might be a slight chance for you to realize, that your reply simply makes no sense. #IfThisIsNotTwitterThanWhatIsThis
          DaveMart
          • 1 Month Ago
          @Spec
          'Approximately 5% of industrial hydrogen is produced by electrolysis' http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrogen_production This differs from your claim of 98% being from NG reformation, and indicates that electrolysis is not wildly uneconomic, as 5% is not insubstantial, as no one would bother if it were. This indicates that the percentage could clearly increase, and with the rise of hydrogen being useful in fuel cells, would no doubt do so.
        DaveMart
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Spec: Do read some provided links. One which I gave, for instance, is not to a theoretical plan, but to the actual widespread use of biogas in Germany. There is nothing stopping this biogas being reformed, and the process is simpler, more economic, and more energy efficient than this scheme to produce petrol. On top of that the resultant hydrogen can be used several times as efficiently as petroleum. All this utilising resources which simply produce pollution at the moment.
          • 1 Month Ago
          @DaveMart
          Dave, Here's an even more surprising new concept (zero emission hydrogen / electricity from coal). Check this out: "Zero Emission Coal Power, a New Concept" H.-J. Ziock, K. S. Lackner Los Alamos National Laboratory D. P. Harrison, Dept. of Chem. Engineering, Louisiana State University "Abstract The Zero Emission Coal Alliance (ZECA) is developing an integrated zero emission process that will generate clean energy carriers (electricity or hydrogen) from coal. The process exothermically gasifies coal using hydrogen to produce a methane rich intermediate state. The methane is subsequently reformed using water and a CaO based sorbent. The sorbent supplies the energy needed to drive the reforming reaction and simultaneously removes the generated CO2 by producing CaCO3 The resulting hydrogen product stream is split, approximately 1/2 going to gasify the next unit of coal, and the other half being the product. This product stream could then be split a second time, part being cleaned up with a high temperature hydrogen separation membrane to produce pure hydrogen, and the remainder used to generate electricity via a solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC)..." http://prod75-inter1.netl.doe.gov/publications/proceedings/01/carbon_seq/2b2.pdf Interesting. #ZeroEmissionCoalPower
      Spec
      • 2 Years Ago
      Jerry was a race car driver . . . that drove on bio-fuels.
      Letstakeawalk
      • 2 Years Ago
      And when the time comes, they will be well prepared to supply hydrogen! Gasification is a process that can take advantage of biomass, but indeed of nearly any waste stream including municipal waste streams; there is the potential for a very low-cost hydrogen supply from renewable resources. "This project is directed at developing a membrane reactor that can be closely-coupled with a gasification reactor while having a sufficiently high hydrogen flux to achieve a hydrogen production cost of $2-4/gge (without delivery) per the DOE 2012 technical target." http://www.hydrogen.energy.gov/pdfs/progress11/ii_b_2_roberts_2011.pdf "This project consists of three key elements: plant and system design, catalyst research, and a proof-of-concept demonstration. The information obtained from all three efforts will be used to demonstrate that the proposed H2 production system will meet the DOE’s 2012 Biomass Gasification/Pyrolysis Hydrogen Production energy efficiency and total H2 cost targets of 43% (based on feedstock LHV) and $1.60/kg H2, respectively. The current progress toward achieving the DOE’s technical targets based on the preliminary plant and system design is shown in Table 1." http://www.hydrogen.energy.gov/pdfs/progress11/ii_b_1_emerson_2011.pdf
        DaveMart
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Letstakeawalk
        Here is a more in-depth description of a pathway to get gasoline from biomass: 'Sundrop Fuels will use a multi-phase process to convert sustainable forest waste into a bio-based drop-in gasoline for use in today’s combustion engines. A gasification process converts the forest waste combined with hydrogen from natural gas into a synthesis gas, which will then be converted into methanol and then into gasoline in a fixed bed reactor system via the MTG process. The MTG process first dehydrates methanol to dimethylether (DME); an equilibrium mixture of methanol, DME and water is then converted to light olefins (C2-C4). A final step synthesizes higher olefins, n/iso-paraffins, aromatics and naphthenes. The shape-selective catalyst limits the synthesis reactions to 10 carbons. MTG reactor product is separated into gas, raw gasoline and water. Raw gasoline is separated into LPG, light gasoline and heavy gasoline; heavy gasoline is hydro-treated to reduce durene content, then heavy and light gasoline are re-combined into finished MTG gasoline. The result is sulfur-free gasoline with a typical 92 Research Octane.' http://www.greencarcongress.com/2012/06/sundrop-20120628.html Note that the only bit of that you need to do to produce hydrogen for fuel cells is the first part, and then reform it. The energy efficiency difference between doing that and burning the biogas to produce electricity is small or nil, with the big difference being that storing electricity is difficult and expensive. If you want to use biomass, fuel cells are the way to go.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 1 Month Ago
          @DaveMart
          Biogas is a growing segment - very little of it is currently produced. What is is generally in prototype plants like the article above describes. More simply, we aren't even scratching the surface of what potential biogas has, yet. As for continuing to produce natural gas - yes we will need to continue to extract it for a long time to come. Especially if we're planning to increase the efficiency of the US grid using gas-fired plants. I'm not saying that biogas will replace the need for natural gas, but it is a positive use of an otherwise wasted resource - waste biomass whether it be sawdust, waste crop material, human/ animal waste, etc.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          "In fact, the biomass itself will never increase the amount of pure Hydrogen available, it will only consume hydrogen in order to produce other products. You can't use biomass to produce more hyrdogen." That's not entirely correct. I agree that biomass provides much of the carbon that is needed to produce synthetic hydrocarbons - but the addition of hydrogen from an outside source is not essential to the process because there is hydrogen produced from the biomass during gasification. The amount of hydrogen produced *does* vary with feedstock - the amount of hydrogen produced can range from 7.7% vol (wood epicea) to 63.7% vol (almond shell). The addition of external hydrogen increases the yield by reacting with excess carbon that would otherwise need to be sequestered or stored. "Using a fluidized bed gasifier along with suitable catalysts, it is possible to achieve hydrogen production about 60 % vol. Such high conversion efficiency makes biomass gasification an attractive hydrogen production alternative. In addition, the costs of hydrogen production by biomass gasification are competitive with natural gas reforming as illustrated in figure." "Taking into account the environmental benefit as well, hydrogen production from biomass gasification should be a promising option based on both economic and environmental considerations." http://www.ika.rwth-aachen.de/r2h/index.php/Thermochemical_conversion_of_biomass
          Letstakeawalk
          • 1 Month Ago
          @DaveMart
          Here's a report from NREL ( a few years old, but certainly improvements have been made since): "Biomass to Hydrogen Production Detailed Design and Economics Utilizing the Battelle Columbus Laboratory Indirectly-Heated Gasifier http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy05osti/37408.pdf A very detailed analysis of hydrogen production volume, and resulting prices.
          DaveMart
          • 1 Month Ago
          @DaveMart
          @Spec: I am far from being a great fan of biomass. I am however a great fan of having a clean environment, and not wasting resources and in the process polluting the environment by not treating sewage, pigfarm waste etc properly. In the process large amounts of biogas for reformation to hydrogen would be produced, and the needs of even a fairly rapid build up of fuel cell vehicles could be covered for some years, including things like heavy trucking which can't by any stretch of the imagination run on batteries. Opinions vary on how much of the vehicle fleet could ultimately run on biofuels, and I am one who feels the resource is relatively modest. Just the same it is enough to give the lie to claims that fossil fuel use in a hydrogen economy is 100% identical to burning them in ICE. The 15 years or so that sources like this can cover much of the demand gives a good amount of time to improve other processes such as electrolysis, which already accounts for a small but not inconsequential proportion of demand, and the direct conversion of sunlight to hydrogen and so on. So the answer is not perfect, but it is good enough to be going on with, about as good as our supply of electricity for batteries is, in fact.
          DaveMart
          • 1 Month Ago
          @DaveMart
          S/be 'biogas is pretty much CH4' 'Before biogas can be injected into the gas distribution system, it must be upgraded to gas with equivalent quality characteristics to natural gas, or so called “biomethane” gas. To achieve this, the CH4 content of the biogas must be increased, which is being done by removing most of the CO2 from the biogas. Furthermore the gas has to be dried to a certain water dew point, depending on the pressure of the gas grid, where the biomethane is supposed to be injected. Last but not least, different micronutrients – essentially the H2S – have to be removed from the rawbiogas. http://www.energetische-biomassenutzung.de/fileadmin/user_upload/Downloads/Ver%C3%B6ffentlichungen/fh_biomethane_engl_web.pdf Chemical pathways shown here: http://www.e-inst.com/biomass-to-biogas/ Waste which is landfilled is a major source of greenhouse gases, which their use to produce hydrogen would reduce. You can get more out of them by using other sources to provide the heat needed. Solar or nuclear could be used for that purpose.
          DaveMart
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          @PR: They are adding the hydrogen here to make the biogas suitable to make gasoline. You don't need to do that if that is not your target product. I am not sure what you imagine biogas is, but it is pretty much identical to natural gas, although impurities can cause problems in feeding it straight into the natural gas network. Here is what they do in Germany: http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2008/07/biogas-flows-through-germanys-grid-big-time-53075 Biomass is pretty much CH4, just like natural gas. There are huge amounts available both from agriculture, such as pig farms and human waste, which is kind of a more expensive way to do things than reforming natural gas, but also kind of not, as the wastes need dealing with anyway, and personally I would like to turn them into a useful product rather than polluting the GOM.
          PR
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          DaveMart -- "If you want to use biomass, fuel cells are the way to go." How so? Your quote nicely shows how "hydrogen from natural gas" reformation is an INPUT into the process of using biomass for this type of drop-in fuel. That means the hydrogen is already there long before the biomass is introduced. In fact, the biomass itself will never increase the amount of pure Hydrogen available, it will only consume hydrogen in order to produce other products. You can't use biomass to produce more hyrdogen. That's the exact opposite of what this process does. This process TAKES H2, and combines it with biomass, it does not extract Hyrdogen FROM biomass. It would be accurate to say: "If you want to AVOID using biomass, just use the Hyrdogen from the Natural Gas directly to feed a fuel cell". Or: "If you want to use biomass, stop at the point that the methanol is produced, and feed it into a Methanol Fuel Cell." Those would both be accurate statements. But nothing in this process can extract Hydrogen from biomass in order to fill a H2 fuel cell. ----------------- You mentioned buring biogas to produce electricity. If you want to burn something to produce electricity, just burn the Natural Gas and forget reforming it into hyrdogen, and doing any of this at all. I understand that you really, really, really like H2 fuel cells. I get it. But your post makes zero sense.
          Spec
          • 1 Month Ago
          @DaveMart
          Biogas is great. But if we had much of it we would not drill & frack for NG. We need to drill & frack for NG AS IS . . . . and you think we can add FCVs on top of our existing needs that can't be met by biogas? Some math problems there.
      Jon
      • 2 Years Ago
      $65 per barrel of gasoline or is that some equivalent cost per barrel of crude that they are calculating? A barrel of crude is not the same thing as a barrel of gasoline (I dont think you typically measure gasoline in barrels anyway).
        Dave D
        • 1 Month Ago
        @Jon
        Yeah, I'm afraid that is a crock. If you could produce a "barrel" of gasoline for $65 then you would have gas at $1.55/gallon. So clearly they start off with (at best) a really bad spin job and at worst total BS. Once they do that, I have a hard time listening to anything else they have to say. Why do people feel so compelled to make completely outlandish claims and then wonder why they have no credibility???
        Rotation
        • 1 Month Ago
        @Jon
        Yeah, that's avery confusing how they price that. It would look like they're comparing the price of a barrel of gas to the price of a barrel of crude.
      Dave
      • 2 Years Ago
      "The company says it can make 93-octane gasoline from the products and estimates its cost at about $65 a barrel." $65 per bbl / 42 gallons per bbl = $1.54 per gallon. I just paid $3.319 cash per gallon retail in Massachusetts for 87 octane, gas tax in MA is 41.9 cents per gallon, so thats $2.90 per gallon. That leaves a heck of a margin for transportation and profit. (especially noting the higher octane)
      Ziv
      • 2 Years Ago
      I am trying to remember how many articles I have read on Autobloggreen and on Greencarcongress over the past 7 or 8 years on companies that claim that they can use turkey guts, wood chips, natural gas, vegetable oil, algae, miscanthus, beets, corn or some other source to produce gasoline at less than $4 a gallon. Just give us $100,000,000 and we will do it in two or three years. Is the count up to 53 or is it 54? And who knows, someday, if the feedstock is free or cheap as dirt, one of them might actually do it. I am still Jonesin' for my New World Technologies tech...
        Ele Truk
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ziv
        Soylent Green er Gasoline is People! There's an unlimited feedstock for ya!
        Dave D
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ziv
        I was thinking the same thing. Any day now, we're going to have $2.00/gallon drop in replacement for gasoline from at least 50 different companies! Hell, it must be true because they all put out press releases claiming it. Whatever. If you could produce gasoline replacement fuel at even $3.00/gallon, the world would beat a path to your door, even if you did it while clubbing baby seals.
        Ziv
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ziv
        EleTruk, one of the things that I found fascinating about CWT was that they claimed that they could use municipal waste sludge to make diesel fuel. Which would have been revolutionary because that would have been one of the few feedstocks that actually wouldn't cost something, the city would probably be willing to pay CWT to take the waste away. But of course, it didn't pan out. Can you imagine a more common feedstock than a city sewer system? Not as cool as soylent green but...
        Spec
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ziv
        yeah . . . biofuels have been a bit disappointing. Certainly not all failures but no big score yet. Sugar cane ethanol has been the best i think
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