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26 Mar 12. Virent and Virdia, formerly HCL CleanTech, announce the successful conversion of cellulosic pine tree sugars to drop-in hydrocarbon fuels within the BIRD Energy project, a joint program funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, the Israeli Ministry of National Infrastructure and the BIRD Foundation. The project, which commenced in January 2011, successfully demonstrated that Virdia’s deconstruction process generated high-quality sugars from cellulosic biomass, which were converted to fuel via Virent’s BioForming® process. “The high-quality sugars generated from pine trees using Virdia’s process leveraged Virent’s conversion process, establishing a viable route to drop-in hydrocarbons from biomass.”Virent used Virdia’s biomass-derived sugars to produce gasoline and jet fuel, the latter being sent to the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) for analysis where it passed rigorous testing. Tim Edwards of the Fuels Branch of the AFRL said, “This fuel passed the most stringent specification tests we could throw at it (such as thermal stability) under some conditions where conventional jet fuels would fail. This fuel is definitely worth further evaluation.”
“While Virent’s BioForming® process has previously generated fuels and chemicals from sugars in cellulosic biomass,” said Virent Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer Dr. Randy Cortright, “The high-quality sugars generated from pine trees using Virdia’s process leveraged Virent’s conversion process, establishing a viable route to drop-in hydrocarbons from biomass.” (Source: Yahoo!/BUSINESS WIRE)