US Sustainable Energy Corp. (USSEC) has completed the first reactor system at its new plant in Natchez, Mississippi. Named FREEUS, the reactor includes a number of refinements, component upgrades, and process improvements designed by management and consulting engineers since introducing the prototype last year.
The new reactor tube is capable of producing 6,000 gallons of USSEC’s proprietary biofuel daily. USSEC uses a modified pyrolytic process with hydrolysis to produce a liquid fuel with higher heating value than current biodiesel. Although USSEC is targeting its biofuel for use in power generation, the company says that it is considering a variety of transportation markets as well.
The FREEUS reactor is the first of more than 200 planned reactor tubes scheduled for installation over the next 12 months at the Natchez facility, with further announcements on additional site locations for 2008 expected by March.
The USSEC process (called the “Rivera Process” after the company founder, John Rivera) breaks down vegetable feedstock into three usable products: carbon ash, liquid biofuel, and biogas. The carbon ash is the number one product, and has been certified as a 7-3-7 100% organic fertilizer. One bushel of bean creates 20.1 pounds of this organic fertilizer. The biogas provides 100% of the power for USSEC’s manufacturing facility.
In the process, feed stocks and a proprietary catalyst are heated in a reactor to a relatively high temperature below atmospheric pressure. Oils and water vaporize from the feedstock, and are extracted and condensed to produce the biofuel. Lighter gases that are non-condensable at atmospheric pressure are recovered for use in the process. The gas product has a heating value of 1,811 BTU per cubic foot; by comparison, the heating value of natural gas is approximately 1,000 BTU per cubic foot. The entire process is a “volume gain” process similar to catalytic cracking.
The USSEC process can operate at a variety of scale, converting even waste biomass into fuel and fertilizer. The biofuel conversion ratio is three times more efficient than that of traditional biodiesel, according to the company, and can produce five gallons of fuel from 1 bushel of soybean feedstock.
|Typical Fuel Properties|
|Approximate Heating Value
|Pour point (°F)||-90||30||0|
|Cloud point (°F)||-70||35||15|
|Flash point (°F)||90-95||266||125|