Future Fuels and Startech Partner on Waste-to-Ethanol Plasma/F-T Systems
13 March 2006
|Startech Plasma Converter|
Future Fuels, Inc. (FFI) and Startech Environmental Corporation have entered into a mutually exclusive global strategic alliance agreement through which FFI will use Startech’s Plasma Converter System to transform feedstock materials such as used tires, municipal solid waste and biomass into ethanol.
The Startech Plasma Converter System transforms these feedstock materials into a syngas (plasma converted gas—PCG) rich in carbon, hydrogen and oxygen that is well-suited for the production of ethanol through FFI’s Fischer-Tropsch derivative catalytic ethanol synthesis process.
The integrated system will first be installed in FFI’s Toms River, New Jersey 52-million-gallon waste-to-ethanol production facility, for which FFI has already secured land, environmental permits, feedstock sources suitable for conversion into ethanol, a ten-year ethanol purchase contract, and preliminary approval for an $84 million bond authorization from the state of New Jersey.
According to the terms of the alliance, FFI agrees to purchase Startech’s Plasma Converter Systems for use in its waste-to-ethanol conversion process. Both FFI and Startech agree to cooperate in identifying and pursuing business opportunities in which Startech’s products and equipment are integrated with FFI’s equipment and production process to operate waste-to-ethanol conversion facilities not only within the U.S. ethanol market but also internationally.
Startech’s Plasma Converter System contains a plasma field that reaches temperatures up to 30,000º C. The plasma breaks down feedstock materials—such as waste coal, used tires, wood wastes, raw sewage, municipal solid wastes, biomass, discarded roofing shingles, coal waste known as culm, discarded corn stalks, and other agricultural by-products-to their core elements. The resulting Plasma Converted Gas is the input for FFI’s catalytic ethanol synthesis process.
FFI’s approach, a modified Fischer-Tropsch process similar in nature to one Dow Chemical pioneered in the mid 1980s, applies heat, pressure and a catalyst to chemically transform the Plasma Converted Gas into ethanol.
Startech’s basic Plasma Converter system consists of:
In-feed System. The feed mechanism can simultaneously accommodate any proportion or combination of solid, liquid and gaseous feedstock.
Plasma Vessel. The plasma vessel is a cylindrical two-part container made of stainless steel with an opening in the roof through which the plasma torch is inserted. The vessel is specially designed to ensure that no feedstock material is able to reach the exit port without first passing through the plasma energy field and undergoing complete molecular dissociation. The method by which this is accomplished forms a part of Startech's intellectual property. In addition, the plasma vessel is maintained at a slight negative pressure to ensure that no gases can escape to atmosphere.
The plasma torch system is a commercially available product that Startech can purchase from any number of reputable vendors.
Gas Treatment. The gas treatment system is comprises six stages:
- High temperature cyclone separator to remove particulates;
- Quench stage (with heat recovery, if desired);
- Cartridge dust collector to remove particulates;
- Selective catalytic reduction to remove NOx;
- Packed column scrubber to remove acids and volatized metals; and
- Final polishing
- Computer Control Station
- Power Supply
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