Fulcrum starts trash to fuels plant

https://fulcrum-bioenergy.com/facilities/

Located near Reno, NV. After removal of recyclables remaining paper and garbage is processed to synthesis gas and then by Fischer Tropsch to synthetic fuels. Fuels mix to be processed in Marathon Oil Refinery. Synthesis gas process running; Fischer Tropsch yet to be installed. Intended to process 175K metric tons of trash per year to 50 MM liters of fuels.

Good in that it recovers fuel value from trash that would otherwise be landfilled. Incineration for energy is usually difficult to get EPA permits due to possible toxics in effluents. This controls emissions. You expect cinders from the minerals residues but volume may be tiny compared to alternatives.

Fischer Tropsch is the process used by the Germans to make synthetic oil from coal in World War II. It is high pressure and usually un-economical. Perhaps better catalysts have been developed making it more competitive.

It will be interesting to see if the products prove to be profitable. Sasol runs the Fischer Tropsch process in South Africa.

Partners include Waste Management, United Airlines, Cathay Pacific, BP and others.

(Reported in the June 6 issue of C&EN p 13)

2 Likes

After removal of recyclables remaining paper and garbage is processed to synthesis gas and then by Fischer Tropsch to synthetic fuels. Fuels mix to be processed in Marathon Oil Refinery. Synthesis gas process running; Fischer Tropsch yet to be installed. Intended to process 175K metric tons of trash per year to 50 MM liters of fuels.

I like this approach a lot better than incinerating the trash for the reduced toxic emissions, as pauleckler notes, also beneficial is the reduction in volume to be landfilled as he says.

Fischer Tropsch is the process used by the Germans to make synthetic oil from coal in World War II. It is high pressure and usually un-economical. Perhaps better catalysts have been developed making it more competitive.

I think the main difference between the two processes economic value is probably that coal already had positive economic value as a fuel, while trash has a negative economic value: we pay to get rid of it already. I’m sure the processes have improved some, but even if all the efficiencies were the same, then using the trash as the base fuel could prove profitable where coal wouldn’t because of the initial value of the two.

Certainly will be interesting to see how it plays out, I don’t expect it to be profitable at first, but we can hope that with refinement it will prove to be more profitable than paying to landfill the trash, and we’ll get a useful product out of it instead of the liability of a landfill full of trash.

3 Likes

I was going to ask what a Rebel Spy knows about environmental waste management but then I realized that only a select number of Fools in the galaxy would get the reference.

Fuskie
Who notes the end product need to be proven usable first before it can be profitable…


Premium Home Fool: Ask me a Foolish Question, I’ll give you a Foolish Response!
Ticker Guide: The Walt Disney Company (DIS), Intuit (INTU), Live Nation (LYV), CME Group (CME), MongoDB (MDB), Trip Advisor (TRIP), Vivendi SA (VIVHY), Mimecast (MIME), Virgin Galactic (SPCE), Axon Technologies (AXON), Blackbaud (BLKB)
Disclaimer: This post is non-professional and should not be construed as direct, individual or accurate advice
Disassociation: The views and statements of this post are Fuskie’s and are not intended to represent those of The Motley Fool or any other sane body
Disclosure: May own shares of some, many or all of the companies mentioned in this post: https://tinyurl.com/FuskieDisclosure
Fool Code of Conduct: https://www.fool.com/legal/the-motley-fools-rules.aspx#Condu…
Invitation: You are invited to interactively watch Motley Fool Live online television: https://www.fool.com/premium/live/
Call to Action: If you like this or any other post, Rec it. Better yet, reply to it. Even better, start your own thread. This is YOUR TMF Community!

2 Likes

the end product need to be proven usable first before it can be profitable…

Agreed. Refineries are billion dollar investments for the equipment needed to separate fractions and upgrade them to fuel grade (like octane number) to meet requirements.

Its a complex process that requires balancing all the streams to make sure everything fits somewhere.

Refineries are the experts. And will only accept the new material if it fits their processes.

“Rebel Spy”?? Who dat?

I was going to ask what a Rebel Spy knows about environmental waste management

I don’t recall the team that obtained the plans being involved with waste management. The team that was most closely associated with waste management were not really the spies, though one had been a mule for the spies.

Steve…quite enjoyed “Rogue One”

quite enjoyed “Rogue One”

Close, but you got to get more animated.

Fuskie
Who thinks you’re keying on the wrong part of the comment…


Premium Home Fool: Ask me a Foolish Question, I’ll give you a Foolish Response!
Ticker Guide: The Walt Disney Company (DIS), Intuit (INTU), Live Nation (LYV), CME Group (CME), MongoDB (MDB), Trip Advisor (TRIP), Vivendi SA (VIVHY), JFrog (FROG), Virgin Galactic (SPCE), Axon Technologies (AXON), Blackbaud (BLKB)
Disclaimer: This post is non-professional and should not be construed as direct, individual or accurate advice
Disassociation: The views and statements of this post are Fuskie’s and are not intended to represent those of The Motley Fool or any other sane body
Disclosure: May own shares of some, many or all of the companies mentioned in this post: https://tinyurl.com/FuskieDisclosure
Fool Code of Conduct: https://www.fool.com/legal/the-motley-fools-rules.aspx#Condu…
Invitation: You are invited to interactively watch Motley Fool Live online television: https://www.fool.com/premium/live/
Call to Action: If you like this or any other post, Rec it. Better yet, reply to it. Even better, start your own thread. This is YOUR TMF Community!

2 Likes