Biofuels producer Joule Unlimited Inc. has raised US$40 million in private equity and venture debt financing to fund the commercialisation of its technology.
The funding was led by existing investors, including Flagship Ventures, and brings to US$200 million that the company has raised. The proceeds will be applied towards a staged industrialization of its patented, reverse-combustion process, including the near-term expansion of Joule’s production field in Hobbs, New Mexico.
This will lead to the set up of a 1,000-acre plant in 2017, which could potentially convert 150,000 tonnes of waste CO2 into 25 million gallons of ethanol or 15 million gallons of diesel per year – with no reliance on arable land, crops or fresh water. The phased build-out use Joule’s modular SolarConverter system, which enables the direct, continuous production of fuel from CO2 and sunlight.
“In the past six months alone, Joule has achieved rapid progress and impressive results that position the company well for industrialization. This progress will be bolstered by the newly committed funds and the continued support from our shareholders and strategic partners, including Audi,” said Serge Tchuruk, President and CEO of Joule. “Joule’s CO2-recycled fuel is on track to become a real answer for carbon neutrality. It provides a solution which is both practical and economical for global mobility and it can be implemented in the short term.”
Unlike biofuels derived indirectly from agricultural or algal biomass in a multi-step process, Joule’s fuels are derived directly from sunlight and waste CO2 in a single conversion step. The process uniquely uses engineered catalysts to directly produce ethanol or diesel-range alkanes in a continuous process for many weeks at a time. Joule’s combination of abundant inputs, process efficiency and high productivity will ultimately result in highly competitive costs providing attractive economics in a world with increasing environmental constraints.