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Fulcrum BioEnergy demonstrates integrated process to convert MSW to jet and diesel; $4.7M DoD grant to begin plant engineering

Fulcrum BioEnergy, Inc. has successfully demonstrated the conversion of municipal solid waste (MSW)—household garbage—into jet and diesel fuels. Fulcrum says its ability to produce drop-in fuels from MSW opens up an 80 billion gallon per year fuel market and expands its customer base for its national development program.

This demonstrated process adds fuel diversity to Fulcrum’s products and complements its previously demonstrated MSW-to-ethanol process. For that process, Fulcrum uses a two-stage thermochemical process involving gasification of municipal solid waste (MSW) followed by the catalytic conversion of the syngas to ethanol. (Earlier post.)

The two-stage MSW-to-jet or diesel process also starts with the syngas generated by gasification, but uses a Fischer-Tropsch process to produce jet fuel and/or diesel fuel.

Our process is now capable of producing jet fuel, diesel and ethanol from residential garbage that would otherwise be landfilled. Fulcrum’s large development program, backed by secured MSW, will have the capacity to produce more than half a billion gallons of fuel in markets across North America at lower costs compared to conventional petroleum fuel, while reducing carbon emissions by more than 80%.

—E. James Macias, Fulcrum President and CEO

Fulcrum has successfully demonstrated its drop-in fuel process using a fully-integrated process demonstration plant. The plant includes the same MSW sorting, gasification and fuel production systems that will be utilized in Fulcrum’s commercial plants. Fulcrum’s fully-integrated processes for converting MSW to jet fuel, diesel and ethanol have been proven and demonstrated at Fulcrum’s demonstration facility located in Durham, North Carolina.

DoD grant. Fulcrum also announced that it has been awarded a $4.7-million grant by the US Department of Defense (DoD) to begin engineering and development on a plant to produce jet fuel. Fulcrum will match this DoD grant with $4.7 million of its own capital to provide funding to complete the engineering and development of Fulcrum’s first MSW to jet fuel plant. The plant will produce jet fuel at a lower cost to the military, and with lower carbon emissions than petroleum jet fuel.

This plant will be located at one of the US locations where Fulcrum has secured MSW under long-term, fixed, zero-cost feedstock contracts.

In 2012, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a $105-million loan guarantee to Fulcrum Sierra BioFuels, LLC to finance development of a facility to convert municipal solid waste into advanced biofuels. With the loan guarantee finalized, the company will secure bank financing, which when combined with private equity capital provided by Fulcrum, will fully fund construction of the municipal solid waste to renewable transportation fuel facility. (Earlier post.)


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