Friday, May 22, 2009

Synthetic fuel from biomass coming to California

BLUEFUELENERGY.COM: Rentech, Inc. recently announced plans to build in Rialto, California a plant that uses biomass to produce synthetic fuel. The plant will also produce 35 megawatts of renewable electricity to be sold into the grid, enough to power 30,000 homes. Upon completion the plant will have almost no carbon footprint as the fuel and electricity will be produced from renewable feedstocks.

The Rialto Renewable Energy Center (Rialto Project) is designed to produce about 600 barrels a day of synthetic RenDiesel, which has significantly lower emissions of particulates and other regulated pollutants than ultra-low sulfur diesel and meets targets set by the Lower Carbon Fuel Standard (see earlier post). The primary feedstock for this second-generation biofuel will be urban, woody green waste such as yard clippings, a low-value waste stream relative to first-generation biofuel feedstocks that use food grade crops as feedstocks. The plant will also be able to use biosolids for a portion of the feedstocks, through a supply agreement with EnerTech Environmental. Rentech has reached a licensing agreement with SilvaGas Corporation to use their biomass gasification technology to produce syngas, which is then subjected to the Rentech Process for conversion to RenDiesel.

The Rialto Project production process is similar to that of the BioDME project in Sweden. With California now entering into synthetic fuel production, perhaps production in the state of another synthetic fuel—Blue Fuel/DME—will not be far behind.

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