Fulcrum BioEnergy, Inc., has announced that it is advancing next-generation ethanol production with its plans to build one of the first commercial-scale production facilities for converting municipal solid waste to ethanol. The plant will process municipal solid waste–household garbage–revolutionizing waste disposal while creating a much needed low-cost, reliable and environmentally clean renewable transportation fuel.
When it begins operations in early 2010, the Sierra BioFuels plant is expected to produce approximately 10.5 million gallons of ethanol per year, and to process nearly 90,000 tons per year of municipal solid waste that would otherwise have been disposed of in landfills. Fulcrum BioEnergy will design, finance, construct, own and operate the plant, which will be located ten miles east of Reno at the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center in Storey County, Nevada. This late- stage development project is expected to cost approximately $120 million and is set to enter construction by the end of this year.
“This project is a watershed event in our nation’s efforts to create a sustainable source of domestic, renewable transportation fuel,” said Fulcrum’s President and Chief Executive Officer E. James Macias. “We have selected the best available technologies and applied our know-how from decades of experience in the energy, chemical and waste industries to create an efficient, reliable and environmentally responsible approach to producing ethanol that is cost competitive, we call it Intelligent Biofuel.”
“Converting garbage waste into a clean, renewable fuel for cars has profound social and environmental benefits. It will help mitigate our dependence on imported oil, lower the price of gasoline, reduce the amount of waste landfilled, lower greenhouse gases and create a new industry of jobs and economic growth. Unlike conventional ethanol technology, which uses corn and other agricultural feedstock, our plant will utilize processed municipal solid waste which will not affect the cost or availability of our nation’s food supply,” added Macias.
The Sierra BioFuels plant is the first of several projects that Fulcrum is currently developingveloping across the country. The plant will utilize gasification technology licensed from Integrated Environmental Technologies and a licensed proprietary catalytic technology for converting synthesis gas to ethanol jointly developed by Nipawin Biomass Ethanol New Generation Co-operative Ltd. and Saskatchewan Research Council. Fulcrum’s process is expected to be environmentally benign; utilizing a gasification process does not create significant levels of emissions like today’s waste-to-energy incineration technology.