ClearFuels to Develop Co-Located Commercial-Scale Biorefinery for Renewable Jet or Diesel Production in Tennessee
Biomass-to-liquids company ClearFuels Technology Inc. and Hughes Hardwood International, Inc. have executed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) regarding the development of a commercial scale biorefinery facility for the production of renewable jet or diesel fuel.
The renewable energy facility will be co-located with Hughes Hardwood’s wood component products manufacturing facility in Collinwood, Tennessee. Under the MOU, Hughes Hardwood will supply 1,000 dry ton per day of wood product for conversion into approximately 16 million gallons of synthetic jet or diesel fuel and 4 million gallons of naphtha per year, as well as approximately 8 MW of excess renewable power. The project is currently expected to be operational by early 2014.
BNP Paribas will act as financial advisor in connection with assisting and supporting ClearFuels in securing financing arrangements for senior secured debt for the project. (Earlier post.)
According to ClearFuels, this is the first public confirmation of its plans for developing a number of commercial projects using the integrated ClearFuels-Rentech thermochemical technology for biomass to renewable jet or diesel fuel production.
In 2009, Rentech, the developer of a Fischer-Tropsch process for the conversion of syngas derived from biomass and fossil resources into synthetic fuels, specialty waxes and chemicals, acquired a 25% stake in ClearFuels Technology Inc. through a strategic investment. (Earlier post.)
ClearFuels, established in 1998, has exclusive rights to a proprietary High Efficiency Hydrothermal Reformer (HEHTR) and process for biomass to syngas conversion (BTG). The ClearFuels technology can convert multiple cellulosic biomass feedstocks such as sugarcane bagasse and virgin wood waste into clean synthesis gas (syngas) suitable for integration with synthetic gas-to-liquids technologies.
ClearFuels and Rentech are integrating ClearFuels’ BTG technology platform with Rentech’s Fischer-Tropsch Process for the production of certified renewable synthetic jet and diesel fuels at commercial-scale facilities.
Synthetic diesel fuel produced from the Rentech Process meets ASTM D-975 specifications. Synthetic jet fuel produced using the company’s technology is certified by the US Air Force and for commercial aviation use.
According to ClearFuels, this commercial facility is targeted to break ground in late 2011 following completion of its joint demonstration project with Rentech of the companies’ integrated technologies for the production of renewable fuels at Rentech’s Energy Technology Center in Commerce City, Colorado. This joint demonstration is expected to be completed in late 2011. This demonstration project is supported by a $22.6 million conditional grant from the US Department of Energy. (Earlier post.) ClearFuels expects to begin receiving funds from this grant by the end of March.
ClearFuels has begun project development of multiple commercial scale biomass-to-energy facilities in the southeastern United States, Hawaii and internationally. These projects are expected to use an integrated ClearFuels-Rentech design and be co-located at sugar mills, wood mills and other biomass processing facilities. According to ClearFuels, projects will be based on non-recourse project finance through special purpose entities (LLCs), similar to the proven independent power projects business model. ClearFuels’ management has experience with over $10 billion of energy infrastructure financing based on this model and has with engaged BNP Paribas as debt advisor for its leadership experience in project finance.