Sundrop Fuels, Inc., a gasification-based drop-in advanced biofuels company (earlier post), has agreed to purchase about 1,200 acres of land near Alexandria, Louisiana, for the planned construction and operation of its first production facility. The inaugural Sundrop Fuels plant will use sustainable forest waste combined with hydrogen from natural gas to produce up to 50 million gallons annually of biogasoline.
The Sundrop Fuels advanced biofuels plant will cost approximately $450 to $500 million to build and will be financed in part through the sale of tax-exempt Private Activity Bonds, which do not entail any financial obligation from state or local authorities. Louisiana also provided Sundrop Fuels with performance-based incentives for the facility, which is expected to employ about 150 people and have a significant economic impact in the area.
Sundrop Fuels drop-in advanced biofuel is designed to cost as much or less than petroleum-based transportation fuels. The company uses a gasification process to convert cellulosic feedstock into synthesis gas, which will then be converted into biogasoline for use in today’s combustion engines via the existing fuels distribution infrastructure.
The facility will also provide an operational platform for Sundrop Fuels to begin field integration of its proprietary RP Reactor radiant particle heat transfer gasification technology. The super-efficient, ultrahigh-temperature process will drive Sundrop Fuels’ future large-scale biofuels plants, which will produce more than 200 million gallons of renewable, drop-in biofuels annually.
Plans are for Sundrop Fuels to achieve a combined production capacity of more than one billion gallons by 2020—a significant percentage of the cellulosic advanced biofuels goal set by the Renewable Fuels Standard.
Significant backing for Sundrop Fuels comes from Chesapeake Energy Corporation, the largest producer of natural gas in northern Louisiana’s Haynesville Shale Field and second-largest producer in the nation. Chesapeake invested $155 million in Sundrop Fuels last summer. The company’s investors also include Oak Investment Partners and Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers.