Canada-based Forge Hydrocarbons Corporation, a spin-off from the University of Alberta (earlier post), has received a US$4-million from Lockheed Martin under the Industrial and Technological Benefits (ITB) Policy. This investment enables Forge, a Canadian small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) to further development of its Lipid-to-Hydrocarbon (LTH) technology and to construct a first-of-kind, commercial plant with a production capacity of approximately 19 million liters per year (ML/y) (~5 million gallons US).
Forge’s technology heats waste lipids such as cooking oil, animal renderings and crop seed oil with water at a high temperature, creating fatty acids and glycerol. The glycerol is removed and the fatty acids are heated at more than 400 ˚C until the oxygen within is released. This turns the acids into hydrocarbons that are separated into various fuels, including gasoline and diesel.
Forge’s LTH proprietary production technology produces drop-in, renewable fuels that are indistinguishable from petroleum-based fuels and that are directly compatible with the current petroleum-based fuel infrastructure. Forge’s LTH technology reduces green house gas emissions by over 70% compared to petroleum-based fuels.
Lockheed Martin’s investment is in direct support of its Industrial and Technological Benefits (ITB) obligations associated with Canada’s purchase of 17 CC-130J Super Hercules aircraft, which were delivered to the Royal Canadian Air Force in 2010. Lockheed Martin also delivers continued In-Service Support for the CC-130J fleet.
The LTH process emerged from decades of high-temperature chemistry research and was invented by Dr. David Bressler, a Professor in the Faculty of Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences at the University of Alberta in Edmonton Alberta.
Early research and the construction of the first pilot facility was supported through grants from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Province of Alberta, MITACS and Alberta Innovates as well as large investments by the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency and Western Economic Diversification Canada. The SOMBRA LTH Facility is being supported by a $4.2-million contribution by Sustainable Development Technology Canada.
With Lockheed Martin’s investment, Forge has begun final engineering design and site preparation for the first LTH plant to be built in Sombra Ontario. Forge expects to break-ground on this first LTH plant in 2018. This project funding will also contribute to the continuation of research and development, at the University of Alberta and Forge’s pilot facility in Edmonton, Alberta, to increase the efficiency of the technology and to broaden the scope of the application to a wider range of feed stocks that can be transformed into a broader range of renewable fuels.