Fulcrum BioEnergy and BP signed a major strategic partnership that includes a $30-million equity investment in Fulcrum by BP. With Fulcrum’s first plant under construction, this partnership accelerates the construction schedule for Fulcrum’s next renewable jet fuel plants.
Fulcrum and Air BP, the aviation division of BP, have also agreed to terms on a 500-million gallon jet fuel offtake agreement that will provide Air BP with 50 million gallons per year of low-carbon, drop-in jet fuel. Air BP will also have the opportunity to provide fuel supply chain services for the blending, certification and delivery of Fulcrum’s jet fuel to commercial and military aviation customers.
This transaction represents Fulcrum’s fourth major corporate investment and partnership following similar deals with United Airlines, Waste Management and Cathay Pacific.
Entering into this strategic relationship with a global oil and gas company enhances the value of Fulcrum’s waste to fuel platform. This allows us to accelerate development of our second and third plants. With BP’s expertise in refining and fuel services, their partnership provides value beyond the investment, fuel offtake and logistic services.—E. James Macias, Fulcrum’s President and CEO
The Fulcrum process begins with the gasification of organic material in the waste feedstock to a synthesis gas (syngas)—primarily carbon monoxide, hydrogen and carbon dioxide. This syngas is purified and processed through the Fischer-Tropsch (FT) process to produce a syncrude product which is then upgraded to jet fuel or diesel.
During the gasification process, the prepared MSW feedstock rapidly heats up upon entry into the steam-reforming gasifier and almost immediately converts to syngas. A venturi scrubber captures and removes any entrained particulate, and the syngas is further cooled in a packed gas cooler scrubber. The cleaned syngas is them processed through an amine system to capture and remove sulfur and carbon dioxide. The syngas then enters the secondary gas clean-up section that contains compression to increase syngas to the pressure required by the FT process. The end syngas product is very clean with zero sulfur content.
The FT portion of Fulcrum’s process is an adaptation of the well-established Fischer-Tropsch process which has been in commercial operations for decades. In the FT process, the purified syngas is processed through a fixed-bed tubular reactor where it reacts with a proprietary catalyst to form three intermediate FT products, a Heavy Fraction FT Liquids (HFTL) product; a Medium Fraction FT Liquids (MFTL) product; and a Light Fraction FT Liquids (LFTL) product, commonly called Naphtha. The Naphtha is recycled to the partial oxidation unit with remaining tail gas to be reformed to hydrogen and carbon monoxide.
In the last step, hydrotreating, hydrocracking and hydroisomerization upgrading steps are used to upgrade the combined HFTL and MFTL products into jet fuel.
In building strong strategic partnerships with industry leaders such as Waste Management, Waste Connections, Cathay Pacific, United Airlines, Tesoro and now BP, Fulcrum has entered into long-term agreements for feedstock, fuel offtake and fuel logistic services to advance its development platform. The company has also entered into alliances with the US Air Force, US Navy and the US Department of Agriculture that further support the growth of Fulcrum’s business enterprise.
With the support of BP and its other strategic partners, Fulcrum is accelerating the development of additional, larger-scale projects across North America that will have the capacity to produce more than 300 million gallons annually of renewable transportation fuels. Jet fuel produced from Fulcrum’s plants will be cost competitive with fossil jet fuel, providing airlines with an attractive, low-carbon alternative. Fulcrum’s jet fuel will also provide significant environmental and sustainability benefits, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions by more than 80% compared to fossil jet fuel.