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TMO Renewables Signs 20-Year, Multi-site Waste-to-Ethanol Plant Contract with Fiberight

UK-based TMO Renewables Ltd, the developer of a novel thermophilic bacterium and process for converting biomass into fuel ethanol (earlier post), has entered into an exclusive contract with Fiberight LLC to design and build waste to bioethanol plants in the US. The contract, which lasts for 20 years, is potentially worth in excess of $25 million per annum, the companies said.

The plants will combine the TMO Process, which optimizes waste feedstock conversion using a specialty bio-organism, and Fiberight’s fractionation and digestion technology, to improve the conversion of municipal solid waste (MSW) and associated cellulosic waste into ethanol.

Under the terms of the agreement, it is anticipated that 15 plants will be designed and constructed across the US within the next five years. For each plant, TMO will receive an initial, one-off design fee plus recurring annual revenue. The site and funding for the first plant has already been secured and construction is expected to begin in 2011. The next five sites have also been identified and Fiberight has agreed to commission a number of plants throughout the US each year.

Fiberight uses a cost-effective process involving digestion and fractionation to sort non-recyclable MSW, 102 million tonnes of which is generated each year in the US, into a ‘clean fibre’ stream. This material feeds directly into TMO’s process which uses a unique bacterium to efficiently convert the biomass into ethanol.

Fiberight’s process recovers potentially over 80% of residential waste into valuable biofuels and recyclables with no external energy or water inputs. The collaboration between TMO and Fiberight now enables a process to convert MSW to valuable biofuel with the minimum of air and water emissions.

TMO has already achieved project yields in excess of 90 US gallons per ton (dry weight) at pilot scale by processing MSW feedstock from Fiberight at its own demonstration facility in the UK. The metrics support the scalability and economics to achieve attractive conversion of waste biomass into cellulosic ethanol.

In addition to the revenue from 5 million gallons of ethanol produced from the first plant, Fiberight also receives tipping fees for the municipal and commercial waste that it treats. Of that, approximately 50% is used to produce the ethanol, with the remainder sold as recoverables, such as plastics and metals.

Comments

ejj

I love these waste to fuel operations. It's also nice to see they keep getting more efficient, and subsequently more profitable.

HarveyD

Profitable or not, this is a cleaner way to get rid of domestic wastes, produce useful liquid fuel, reduce GHG and reduce crude oil imports.

SJC

They have to be more profitable than other investment opportunities or they never get funded, which is one of the problems.

Jimr

This is all well and good but we may be limited as to the amount of ethanol we can use. The 15% limit may not come into being and there are few carmakers building flex-fuel vehicles. I certainly thought there would have been more by now,a few years ago. We have no stations that sell E85 in my area, the demand isn't there due to lack of vehicles and price.

SJC

The vehicles are there, there are more than 8 million FFVs on the road, many owners do not even know they are FFV. Many car makers produce cars around the world that run on E85/M85 or any mixture of the two. If the 2008 bill to make ALL new cars sold in the U.S. be M85/E85/FFV passes, we will see a huge fuel market that will employ more people than oil does now.

SJC

Here 1 in 10 vehicles is probably FFV, but the nearest E85 pump is 30 miles away. 2000 trucks and SUVs should be more than enough to provide at least ONE pump at one station, but not so. Oil companies control what happens at their stations and this is just a fact.

JTee

I'm skeptical about ethanol's future. 36 percent of the corn crop is currently going to ethanol. And ethanol is currently selling at higher prices than gasoline in some markets. It's only viable due to subsidies and mandates.

SJC

Corn ethanol is not the way, but cellulose ethanol and methanol can do the job. E10 can stay, if they have extra they can expand the number of E85 pumps.

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