Solena announces development of first large-scale US renewable jet fuel production facility
Thu 13 Mar 2008 - Washington-based Solena Group, a leading global bio-energy company, is to develop in partnership with Rentech Inc what it describes as the world’s first commercial scale aviation grade biofuel production plant in California. The process is based on 100% Bio-SynGas that is generated from biomass and municipal solid waste (MSW) and then converted into renewable jet fuel.
The facility will use Solena’s Bio-SynGas as a replacement for synthesis gas generated from coal or natural gas. Utilizing Solena’s gasification technology, the facility will convert biomass and organic products derived from municipal solid waste into clean, renewable synthesis gas (Bio-SynGas), which will then be converted into renewable jet fuel through Rentech’s Fischer-Tropsch process.
Although burning the Solena bio-jet fuel (Bio SJ8) ultimately releases carbon dioxide, the difference is that the organic or biogenic carbon fraction of biomass and municipal waste is of non-fossil origin, says Solena, so does not add new CO2 emissions to the atmosphere and is therefore considered a net-zero CO2 emission fuel.
“As fuel prices continue to increase, our new facility will play an integral role in easing the volatility of today’s oil market for the airline industry and the military,” said Solena Group President and CEO, Dr Robert Do. “In addition, our facility will prove of special interest to European airlines who will now have to meet new unprecedented European mandates to reduce CO2 emissions.
“Because the fuel is produced through the conversion of biomass and has net-zero CO2 emissions, it not only drastically reduces the GHG and CO2 emissions of the airline industry, it avoids the usage of food crops such as corn, wheat and soya for the production of fuel, as in the case of bio-ethanol and bio-diesel.”
The plant will employ a Rentech Standard FT module system with the capacity to produce 1,800 barrels of second-generation biofuel a day, roughly equating to 17 million gallons a year, 70% of which will be jet fuel and the remainder naptha.
Rentech claims fuels produced through its process from MSW would have better performance and would be better for the environment than any other commercially available fuel today due to their potential carbon neutral or even carbon negative footprint and lower regulated emissions.
Richard Penning, EVP of Commercial Affairs for Rentech, says the process also helps to solve waste management issues. “For example, the County of Los Angeles alone creates close to 42,000 tons of garbage each day, and the City is quickly running out of landfill space to dispose of its waste,” he explained.
“We believe our technology’s ability to convert non-food feedstock such as MSW into biofuels provides the aviation industry with an excellent opportunity to reduce its carbon footprint. Large cities with busy airports and decreasing landfill space are ideal for us to offer this solution.”
Norcal Waste Systems, one of California’s largest municipal waste and biomass collectors, will provide biomass feedstock from northern and central California for the plant.
Financing for the new Solena facility, which is scheduled to be built in 2009 and come online in 2011, is being arranged by Deutsche Bank London at an estimated cost of $250 million.