Rentech, Inc. and ClearFuels Technology Inc. have signed a cooperative agreement has been signed with the US Department of Energy (DOE) to receive the remaining $19.7 million of a $23-million grant to complete construction of a demonstration scale biomass gasifier at Rentech’s Energy Technology Center (RETC) in Colorado, and to integrate and operate it with Rentech’s Product Demonstration Unit (PDU) for the production of renewable synthetic fuels from biomass. (Earlier post.)
The DOE selected the project in December 2009 to receive funds under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to validate refining technologies and help lay the foundation for full commercial-scale development of an advanced biofuels industry in the United States.
The grant is being used to manufacture and install at RETC a 20 ton-per-day ClearFuels biomass gasifier designed to produce synthesis gas from various wood waste and sugar cane bagasse feedstocks. The gasifier will be integrated with Rentech’s existing PDU at the site, which uses the Rentech Process and UOP’s upgrading technologies, to produce renewable drop-in synthetic jet and diesel fuels at demonstration scale.
This joint demonstration of an integrated bio-refinery is anticipated to be completed in late 2011 and will lead to the final design basis for commercial facilities that are expected to use the combined technologies. The team for the demonstration project includes ClearFuels, Rentech, URS, Linde/Hydro-Chem, Hawaiian Electric Company, National Renewable Energy Lab and Hawaii Natural Energy Institute.
Rentech has a 25% strategic ownership interest in ClearFuels, which has begun development of multiple commercial-scale biomass-to-energy projects in the southeastern United States, Hawaii and internationally. These projects are expected to use an integrated ClearFuels-Rentech design and be co-located at biomass processing facilities.