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BP and Johnson Matthey license Fischer-Tropsch technology to waste-to-biofuels producer Fulcrum BioEnergy for biojet

BP and Johnson Matthey (JM) have signed an agreement with Fulcrum BioEnergy to license their Fischer Tropsch (FT) technology to support Fulcrum’s drive to convert municipal solid waste into biojet fuel.

BP and JM have developed a simple-to-operate and cost-advantaged FT technology that can operate both at large and small scale economically to convert synthesis gas, generated from sources such as municipal solid waste and other renewable biomass, into long-chain hydrocarbons suitable for the production of diesel and jet fuels.

Fulcrum will use the BP and JM technology in its new Sierra BioFuels Plant located in Storey County, Nevada, approximately 20 miles east of Reno.

The Sierra plant will be the first commercial-scale plant in the US to convert municipal solid waste feedstock, or household garbage that would otherwise be landfilled, into a low-carbon, renewable transportation fuel.

When the plant begins commercial operation, planned for the first quarter of 2020, Sierra is expected to convert approximately 175,000 tons of household garbage into approximately 11 million gallons of fuel each year: equivalent to the fuel needed for more than 180 return flights between London and New York.

Both BP and JM have been developing FT technology for more than 30 years and in 1996 joined forces to incubate and further develop the technology. The novel reactor system combines an optimized catalyst with a unique fixed-bed tubular reactor geometry.

When used together, the design results in up to a 50 percent reduction in capital expenditure compared to traditional reactors, and significant environmental and operational benefits.

Working together, BP and JM won both the Research Project Award and the Oil and Gas Award at the prestigious IChemE Awards in November 2017 for their work on FT technology.

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