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U.S. Department of Energy Continues to Fund Dimethyl Ether (DME) Projects to Decarbonize Transportation

Awards recognize DME as a viable, low-carbon solution for use in a variety of vehicles and as a variety of fuel types

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – November 4, 2021 – The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO) has awarded more than $4 million in funding to test novel applications of dimethyl ether (DME) as a low-carbon alternative to fossil fuels. Oberon Fuels, the first company to produce renewable DME (rDME) in the US, is a supporting partner.

The funded projects include:

  • University of Wisconsin Madison for “Efficiency Mixing Controlled Compression Ignition Combustion of Propane DME Blends”
  • WM International Engineering L.L.C. in Darrien, Illinois, for a project entitled “High Pressure Fast Response Direct Injection System for Liquified Gas Fuels Use in Light-Duty Engines”

“This new round of funding for DME builds on its June 2021 award and is continued validation of renewable DME as an enabling molecule to decarbonize transportation,” said Rebecca Boudreaux, Ph.D., President and CEO of Oberon Fuels. “Oberon Fuels generates value from waste resources, creates family-wage jobs in rural areas, and reduces both pollution and greenhouse gas emissions through our rDME. We are honored to partner with the recipients of DOE awards.”

The funding was provided through the “Low GHG Vehicle Technologies Research, Development, Demonstration and Deployment Funding Opportunity Announcement” to research, develop, and validate technologies that use DME to increase the efficiency of direct-injection engines. The partners will use the funding to develop new technologies to deliver efficient engine operations with near-zero emissions, which is a win-win for consumers and the environment.

Renewable DME significantly reduces emissions and carbon intensity when used in place of traditional fuels in three applications: as a blending agent with liquified petroleum gas (LPG, or propane); as a diesel replacement in compression ignition engines; and as an energy-dense, cost-effective means to transport and store renewable hydrogen. When produced using the Oberon process, the California Air Resources Board has calculated that dairy biogas-based rDME has an estimated carbon intensity (CI) value of -278 compared to ultra-low-sulfur diesel which has a CI around 100 gCO2e/MJ. Renewable DME used as a transportation fuel can decarbonize the transportation sector while greatly reducing the emissions of particulate matter, greenhouse gases and other pollutants.

Founded in 2010 to provide innovative energy solutions to reduce emissions, waste, and carbon impact, Oberon Fuels is the only company currently producing renewable DME commercially. Beyond cleaner emissions, rDME from the Oberon Fuels process creates economic opportunity and jobs for rural economies by tying waste feedstock to multiple renewable fuel markets.

About Oberon Fuels

California-based Oberon Fuels is on a global mission to decarbonize transportation by producing a powerful, enabling molecule, dimethyl ether (DME). DME, which can range from being ultra-low carbon to carbon-negative, can significantly reduce the carbon footprint of the transportation sector and beyond 1) as an energy-dense, cost-effective means to move renewable hydrogen, 2) as a blending agent for LPG, and 3) as a diesel replacement. Oberon has challenged the status quo by introducing innovative solutions to the transportation sector to reduce its carbon footprint, vehicle emissions and improve local air quality while creating economic opportunity for the communities where they operate. In 2013, Oberon Fuels’ refinery in Brawley, Calif., produced the first fuel-grade DME in North America, and in 2021 produced the first-ever renewable DME in the US. Oberon’s DME has powered vehicle demonstrations around the world with Volvo Trucks, Mack Trucks, Ford, among others. Founded in 2010, Oberon Fuels is privately held with both private and strategic investors, including Suburban Propane Partners, L.P. (NYSE: SPH).

More information about Oberon Fuels is available at www.oberonfuels.com.

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