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Vertimass Receives Up to $2 Million Grant From U.S. Department of Energy to Convert Ethanol Into Jet Fuel, Diesel Fuel, and Gasoline

IRVINE, Calif., Dec. 1, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Vertimass LLC announced today the company has received a grant of up to $2 million from the U.S. Department of Energy. The grant was awarded to aid the organization in its mission to commercialize "green" catalyst technology that converts ethanol into gasoline, diesel and jet fuel blend stocks, while retaining compatibility with the current transportation fuel infrastructure.

With an exclusive world-wide license with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), an innovative developer of patented catalyst technology, Vertimass seeks to expand the ethanol gas market, while creating an outlet for the use of ethanol as a precursor to the diesel and jet fuel markets. The blend-stocks produced with this catalyst technology are anticipated to fall under the Renewable Fuel Standard at the same level as the ethanol used as feedstock.

The technology is expected to capitalize on an expansion of the liquid biofuels market, compared to the currently constrained market that exists today. Benefits of the catalyst process include: a single step conversion of ethanol into a hydrocarbon blend stock without the addition of hydrogen; the ability to process between 5 percent and 100 percent of ethanol concentrations; production of minimal amounts of light gases; operation at relatively low temperature and atmospheric pressure; and the ability to shift product distributions in response to changing market demands. The technology, which dilutes ethanol streams, will result in higher yields to gasoline, jet fuel and diesel products and is expected to prolong the life of vehicles.

"This green catalyst technology can be rapidly added to an existing ethanol plant with low capital and operating costs while providing fuel flexibility and essentially replacing dehydration operations," said Charles Wyman, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer of Vertimass. "With the ability to add operations to existing plants at a rapid pace and low cost, the new product will help meet the goals of Renewable Standard Fuel production and also help the Federal Aviation Administration achieve their target of 1 billion gallons of renewable aviation fuel by 2018."

Existing ethanol feedstock plants currently have a U.S. capacity of approximately 14 billion gallons per year. The new Vertimass technology has an estimated yearly production potential of 140 billion gallons. The technology would also expand opportunities to use more ethanol from corn in the U.S., cane sugar in Brazil and cellulosic biomass worldwide.

Tests have shown that the non-dilutive process is efficient across uses. Traditionally, ethanol has been considered too low in density for jet fuel; Vertimass and ORNL's catalyst technology has overcome that issue with no modifications required. Additionally, converted ethanol has a composition compatible with various fuels, retaining output and consistency with zero engine modifications required.

"The majority of ethanol in the U.S. is used as 10 percent blends with gasoline, and current U.S. ethanol production has virtually saturated that market as a result of what many refer to as a 'blend wall,'" said William Shopoff, chairman of Vertimass. "Our goal is to overcome this existing blend wall challenge. We truly believe in the cause of sustainable transportation fuels and couldn't be more pleased to receive this funding from the U.S. Department of Energy. This grant provides a level of validation of our business plan that will enable us to complete our initial funding. It will help us reach our goals to overcome mutual substitution issues that limit ethanol use in gasoline for light duty vehicles and open up vast new markets for ethanol use in aircraft and heavy-duty vehicles."

About Vertimass LLC

Based in Irvine, Calif., the mission of Vertimass LLC is to develop and widely license breakthrough technologies that substantially expand the use of sustainable transportation fuels that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve energy security and domestic economies. The company works to improve and demonstrate novel technologies that provide commercially viable lifetimes and yields and license the technology to rapidly expand its use.

CONTACT: Julie Leber Spotlight Marketing Communications 949.427.5172, ext. 703 julie@spotlight.marcom.comSource:Vertimass, LLC