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Honeywell UOP Technology Selected to Support Conversion of Biomass to Fuel at California Renewable Energy Facility

UOP LLC, a Honeywell company, announced that its technology has been selected for use in Rentech, Inc.’s Rialto Renewable Energy Center for the conversion of biomass to transportation fuels.

The renewable energy center, to be built in Rialto, Calif., will convert biomass, such as yard and tree trimmings, into renewable diesel fuel and renewable electricity. In the new unit the Rentech-SilvaGas biomass gasification system will be used to produce syngas from biomass feedstock which is converted to hydrocarbons using Rentech’s proprietary Fischer-Tropsch process and catalyst. The UOP Unionfining and Unicracking technologies will then be used to upgrade the hydrocarbons to ultra-clean jet and diesel fuel as well as specialty waxes and chemicals.

The Unionfining process includes a full suite of hydrotreating applications. Unionfining catalysts have been used in more than 650 refining units worldwide. These catalysts can meet the stringent requirements for today’s products, including the production of feedstocks for downstream processing such as naphtha reforming, isomerization, or FCC and resid catalytic cracking.

In 1990, UOP joined forces with Unocal to create the Unicracking technology. UOP’s Unicracking process operates at elevated pressure and temperature, and consumes hydrogen. The unconverted fractionator bottoms product can be fed to an FCC unit or lube oil hydrofinishing unit, or it can be recycled back to the process for full conversion to lighter high-value products.

The center is expected to produce roughly 640 barrels-per-day of liquid fuel and 35 megawatts of base-load electricity, enough to power approximately 30,000 homes each day.

In August 2009, eight airlines signed a multi-year agreement with Rentech to together purchase up to 1.5 million gallons per year of diesel from the Rialto Project for use in ground service equipment at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). The Rialto Project is scheduled to start up in late 2012. (Earlier post.)

Honeywell’s UOP business, a recognized global leader in process technology to convert petroleum feedstocks to fuels and chemicals, has also developed a range of processes to produce high-quality, drop-in green fuels from natural feedstocks. Since 2006, UOP has commercialized processes to convert non-edible natural oils to Honeywell Green Diesel and Honeywell Green Jet Fuel.

It has also established Envergent Technologies, a joint venture with Ensyn Corp. which offers pyrolysis technology for the production of renewable heat, power and transportation fuels from biomass sources such as forest and agricultural waste.



Good idea to reduce imported crude oil and get rid of some unwanted waste. Will they have enough forest type waste feed stock in the immediate area? Could they also use local agriculture waste and domestic + industrial waste?


May be some mistake in the article. 35 MW of electricity means huge biopowerplant and 640 barels of fuel means very little fuel output. Calorific value of the fuel would be less than 1 % of thermal output of the plant. May they author ment 35 MWh per day or similar.


at 35MJ/litre, 640 barrels/day = 3 584 000 MJ/d
35 MW = 3 027 500 MJ/d

So, the energy value of the fuel is a little bit more than the energy value of the electricity.

640 barrels/day will not change the world, but if you have 31000 of these plants, you cover total US oil consumption.
(even less, since 1 barrel of pure fuel values more than 1 barrel of crude)

Since synthesis gas can be made out of any organic waste, this plant could transform any waste to liquids. adding renewable H2 can improve carbon-efficiency very significantly.
This is very feasible : 10 5MW windmills could double the energy output of the liquid fuels.


Sorry for misinformation. I was confused with barrels. I mixed them with gallons. In my country we do not use those units. In raelity this article says that thermal output of production unit is around 100 MW thermal which is 2400 MWh per day and 100 cubic meters of liquid fuel per day which contains no more than 1300 MWh heating value.


US crude consumption is about 20 000 000 barrels/day.
US gasoline consumption is about 9 000 000 barrels/day.

home heating en electricity production should obviously not be with petroleum products.

So with 14000 of these plants, complete US gasoline consumption is covered. (with addition of H2, efficiency can increase manyfold)
If productivity is doubled (by planting a few windmills around each plant) and gasoline consumption is devided by three (because most miles will be driven electrically, and gasoline is only used as range extender), then 2600 of these plants (only converting WASTE to fuel) would cover 100% of US gasoline needs.
The plant is only partially an extra cost over what we do now, because crude must be refined anyway, and waste must be collected and treated anyway.

Very feasible...


Rialto is south of the Angeles and San Bernardino National Forests, where 1 in 4 trees is dead from bark beetle infestation. If they could take out those dead trees to make fuel, we could use less imported oil AND have less fire danger every year.

Henry Gibson

There are not enough trees in all the US to even supply Caliphonyia with all of its energy needs. But I think that Caliphonyia should go ahead and get rid of all of its trees in cities and forests just to show all people that there is not enought biomass to produce the energy needed by modern industry and life in the state. No one considers the cost of harvesting all the dead wood. The "dead wood" that should be culled works mostly for state government. Where are the fuel cell cars that CARB said would soon replace all other ZEVs.

England nearly did eradicate their forests a few hundred years ago but this information is not readily available to the people via the internet in Caliphonyia because of the self censorship induced by the words "renewable", "sustainable", "bio" and "global warming". ..HG..

Henry Gibson

Windmills do not usually produce more than one third of their yearly rated output and this output is best used in charging electric car batteries or preventing the use of natural gas to generate electricity and using it as an automobile fuel instead. ..HG..


So if it can not supply all the cars with fuel forever, forget it. That is like saying the U.S. can not provide all the oil for all the needs so forget it, don't drill even one more well. If that passes for logic in some circles, you guys are kidding yourselves.

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