Fulcrum BioEnergy files LCFS application for municipal solid waste to FT diesel pathway with low CI of 37.47 g/MJ
3 January 2016
Fulcrum BioEnergy, the parent company of Fulcrum Sierra BioFuels, has applied for a new fuel pathway under the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCSF) for its process of converting municipal solid waste (MSW) into Fischer-Tropsch (“FT”) diesel fuel.
The California LCFS mandates a 10% reduction by 2020 in the carbon intensity (CI) of transportation fuels. The program requires that transportation fuels used in California meet a baseline target for carbon intensity which is reduced each year. For 2016, the target for diesel and diesel substitutes is 99.97 gCO2e/MJ (Earlier post.) Fulcrum is requesting a CI of 37.47 g/MJ for its MSW-to-FT diesel.
Sierra BioFuels’ MSW-to-FT diesel fuel facility, which is currently under construction in Nevada, consists of a Feedstock Processing Facility and a biorefinery. The Feedstock Processing Facility will receive MSW that otherwise would have been landfilled.
A feedstock processing system shreds, screens, and sorts the MSW producing a MSW-derived feedstock meeting the feedstock specification required for conversion into renewable fuel at the biorefinery. Recyclable materials are recovered and sold to the commodity market. Residual materials (e.g. inerts, high moisture content waste) are sent to the landfill.
The MSW feedstock is transported to the biorefinery where it is converted to FT diesel using a three-step process comprising steam reforming gasification; FT liquids synthesis; and hydroprocessing upgrading. Natural gas is used for process energy and additional power is imported from the grid.
The avoided landfill emissions follow the California ARB approach used for waste material pathways.
ARB staff recommended approval of the prospective pathway with the requested CI value. Fuels with prospective CIs are not eligible to claim credits under the LCFS. ARB will require the applicant to provide one quarter of operational data once commercial production has commenced. Staff will then complete an updated lifecycle analysis and if warranted, make necessary adjustments to the originally certified prospective CI and approve a provisional CI for the pathway.
Sierra designed its biorefinery to produce more than 10 million gallons per year of renewable FT syncrude from approximately 200,000 tons of prepared MSW feedstock that would otherwise be landfilled. This renewable FT syncrude will be upgraded and processed into a low-carbon diesel or jet fuel product.