MIAMI --- To promote awareness and use of dimethyl ether (DME) as a renewable, low-carbon diesel substitute throughout North America, the International DME Association (IDA) has assembled a North American Affairs Committee (NAAC). 

Richard J. LeBlanc, CEO of Chemrec AB, will serve as director of the NAAC. Chemrec AB is a developer of pulp mill-integrated biorefineries that convert mill waste into BioDME. 

"We have seen significant growth in DME's use as a clean fuel in Asia over the past few years," noted IDA Chairman Jean-Alain Taupy of Total. "And with major changes now being proposed to legislation and regulations in North America regarding transportation fuels and environmental issues, the International DME Association has formed a committee to facilitate the inclusion of DME in relevant legislation, projects and programs now underway or proposed." 

DME, a clean, colorless gas, can be used as a transportation fuel in diesel engines, gasoline engines and gas turbines. The fuel can be produced from a variety of sources, including natural gas, coal, waste from pulp and paper mills, forest products, agricultural byproducts, municipal waste and dedicated fuel crops such as switchgrass.  

"The environmental benefits of DME are recognized around the world and we are pleased to be part of a trade organization that will help to build awareness and acceptance of DME in North America," LeBlanc said. "Many research universities and government laboratories already have confirmed the merits of DME, and now we hope to promote increased production, distribution and use of DME in North America as is happening in Asia." 

Members of the IDA's NAAC include energy and fuel producers Total and Methanex; engine technology companies Caterpillar, Volvo/Mack and Alternative Fuel Technology; process suppliers Chemrec, Lurgi and Haldor Topsoe; and renewable and biofuel producers Genifuel, LCE BioEnergy, Blue Fuel Energy and Range Fuels. Members also include policy experts at the Methanol Institute and academics from Penn State University and the University of Utah.