Eleazer Resurreccion is an Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering Technology at Montana State University Northern. He earned his doctoral degree in Civil (Environmental) Engineering from the University of Virginia in 2013. His research includes the area of renewable energy and environmental sustainability, particularly in the nexus of energy-water systems. He utilizes a systems-level approach that combines novel technology, environmental restoration, and economics to address challenges pertinent to these systems in an innovative manner. The application of these areas in industrial ecology allows him: (1) to perform both lab-scale investigations and multi-scale modeling of environmentally-conscious processes and (2) to implement environmental-economic modeling for policy analyses. Dr. Resurreccion utilizes state-of-the-art equipment in fuels and materials research and adapts tools such as life cycle assessment and techno-economic analysis in evaluating the life cycle impacts and financial viability of bio-based energy systems, advanced materials technology, and sustainable engineered systems.
A novel alternative chemical cracking process that converts plant oils to advanced transportation fuels and oleo-chemical precursors have been developed and patented by the authors. Using fatty acid methyl esters (FAME) derived from Camelina sativa L. (camelina), renewable alkylbenzenes and straight-chain hydrocarbons were produced via a two-step process: olefin metathesis and tandem dehydrogenation-alkylation (OMT). The chemicals produced are used as blend component to conventional jet fuel and aviation gasoline (avgas). The most compelling aspect of this technology is that it yields high aromatic products that meets or exceeds jet fuel requirements. It also operates at both low temperature and low pressure. This research aims to assess the environmental and economic performance of the process using comprehensive, multi-dimensional approach consisting of (1) geospatial analysis, (2) life cycle assessment, and (3) techno-economic analysis. Results offer an insight on the environmental impact of OMT relative to hydroprocessed renewable jet (HRJ or HEFA) and petroleum-based jet (PTJ). OMT’s “well-to-pump” total energy consumption is 10% lower than HRJ, with similar total energy output of all products and co-products for a functional unit of 100,000 m3/yr fuel. The process reflects a 14% GHG reduction compared to HRJ. Challenges and opportunities in camelina yield as a function of land availability on a national-level through a county-based approach was utilized through geospatial analysis. If camelina is to be used as a rotational crop with winter wheat on a 3-year cycle, the available fallow will provide an estimate of total annual camelina production, using the “best-case scenario” (camelina rotation only).