Conversion in California

Chevron Corporation and the University of California, Davis have formed a research partnership to pursue advanced technology aimed at converting cellulosic biomass into transportation fuels.


Chevron Corporation and the University of California, Davis (UC Davis) have formed a research collaboration to pursue advanced technology aimed at converting cellulosic biomass into transportation fuels.



The joint research effort will coordinate with the California Biomass Collaborative to focus on renewable feedstocks available in California, including agricultural waste such as rice straw.



Chevron Technology Ventures, a subsidiary of Chevron Corporation, plans to support a broad range of UC Davis scientists and engineers with funding of up to $25m over five years for research into and development of these emerging energy technologies.



According to a statement, the objective of the Chevron-UC Davis research is to develop commercially viable processes for the production of transportation fuels from renewable resources such as new energy crops, forest and agricultural residues, and municipal solid waste. The collaboration calls for research in biochemical and thermochemical conversion, as well as a demonstration facility to test the commercial readiness of these technologies.



‘We think it’s important to pursue research that could accelerate the use of biofuels since we believe they may play an integral role in diversifying the world’s energy sources. Developing next-generation processing technology will help broaden the choice of feedstocks, including cellulosic materials,’ said Don Paul, vice president and chief technology officer, Chevron Corporation.



‘Once developed, next-generation processing technology will allow locally grown biomass to be harvested, processed into transportation fuels and distributed to consumers,’ said Rick Zalesky, vice president of Biofuels and Hydrogen, Chevron Technology Ventures.



The collaboration is expected to focus its research on understanding the characteristics of current California biofuel feedstocks; developing additional feedstocks optimised for features such as drought tolerance, minimal land requirements and harvesting technology; production of cellulosic biofuels; and the design and construction of a demonstration facility for biochemical and thermochemical production processes.




The alliance with UC Davis is the second biofuels research partnership launched by Chevron this year. In June, Chevron and the Georgia Institute of Technology formed a strategic research alliance focusing on cellulosic biofuels and hydrogen.