Advanced science.  Applied technology.


Alternative Fuels & Processes

Go to Alternative Fuels & Processes


Developing alternative fuel sources remains important for addressing fossil fuel emission regulations and identifying alternative low-cost feedstocks for fuels.

We help clients convert natural gas, shale oil, heavy crudes, and biomass to specification fuels and industrial exhaust emissions to useful products. SwRI has extensive experience in producing and analyzing alternative fuels for government and industry.  We produce drum quantities of specification fuels for EPA certification testing.

SwRI operates a fuel processing center that includes a hydroprocessing pilot plant and two continuous vacuum-distillation columns. Other unit operations are available including:

  • Partial oxidation
  • Blending

To accommodate a wide variety of feedstocks, from heavy raw shale oil to vegetable oils, the hydroprocessing facility is designed to operate at conditions up to 3250 psig and 1000°F in the reaction section and can recirculate 250 SCFH of hydrogen.

The configuration of the pilot plant equipment can be modified to meet the project needs for:

  • Hydrogenation
  • Hydrocracking
  • Hydroisomerization
  • Other fixed-bed reactor processing

Feed rates of up to five gallons per hour allow economical processing of fuel R&D test quantities of up to 5,000 gallons.

Example work at the SwRI Alternative Fuel Center includes:

  • Conversion of raw shale oil to ultra-low-sulfur diesel (ULSD) and jet fuel
  • Conversion of chicken fat to jet fuel
  • Processing of beef tallow and soybean oil to “drop-in” diesel fuel
  • Production of high purity octadecane from canola and soybean oils