Fulcrum BioEnergy starts up waste-to-fuels plant in Nevada
Fulcrum BioEnergy Inc. announced May 24 the completion of commissioning and the initial operations of its Sierra BioFuels Plant, what the company said is “the world’s first landfill waste to renewable transportation fuels plant.” The biorefinery began operations, processing prepared waste feedstock and successfully producing the high-quality hydrocarbon synthesis gas, or syngas, which is ideal for conventional Fischer-Tropsch fuel production.
Combined with Fulcrum’s operations of its feedstock-processing facility, which converts landfill waste into a clean, prepared feedstock, Fulcrum has successfully harvested the carbon embedded in the waste and completed its transformation into a hydrocarbon syngas, while achieving the quality and expected conversion of recycled carbon. Sierra plant operations will now move on to the final step in Fulcrum’s waste-to-fuels process, converting the syngas into liquid fuel.
“This operations achievement at our Sierra plant is a real breakthrough step in making waste to fuels a reality,” said Eric Pryor, Fulcrum’s president and CEO. “This is a tremendous moment for our company and a major milestone for our construction-management, operations and engineering teams who have worked tirelessly to integrate more than 30 different plant systems in Fulcrum’s unique and patented process. Fulcrum is launching an entirely new source of low-cost, domestically produced, net-zero carbon transportation fuel, which will contribute to the aviation industry’s carbon-reduction goals, U.S. energy security and address climate stability.”
The Sierra BioFuels Plant, located outside of Reno, Nevada, includes both a feedstock-processing facility and a biorefinery with the capacity to convert approximately 175,000 tons of prepared landfill waste into approximately 11 million gallons of renewable syncrude annually, which will then be upgraded to renewable transportation fuel. With Fulcrum’s standardized, scalable and financeable plant approach, the company has positioned its growth program to capitalize on this operations success. Along with Fulcrum’s backing by leading financial investors in renewable infrastructure and industry leaders in the waste, aviation and energy sectors, Sierra’s operational achievement will serve as a launchpad for Fulcrum’s large development of plants across the U.S. and internationally.
“Fulcrum’s process will produce a fuel that is a cost-competitive sustainable aviation fuel and an alternative to petroleum-based fuel,” Pryor added. “With a net-zero carbon score and the ability to be produced in large volumes, our sustainable aviation fuel will have an impact on addressing climate change. We are eager to get this fuel into the market and into the hands of our airline partners.”
The company’s waste-to-fuels plants will help address two globally critical and urgent environmental issues simultaneously—the reduction of carbon emissions from the aviation industry and the reduction of waste sent to landfills. Producing a net-zero carbon, domestic transportation fuel at scale also will reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil.