Monday, August 27, 2012

Fulcrum Bioenergy receives conditional USDA loan guarantee for Nevada MSW ethanol plant - outlook improves for possible Nipawin, Saskatchewan project

Fulcrum BioEnergy Inc. received a $105 million USD condition loan guarantee from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), putting its planned 10 MMgy Sierra BioFuels Plant in Nevada closer to groundbreaking.

“It will be early next year before we break ground, and 18 months after that before we’re ready to commercially produce ethanol,” said Rick Barraza, vice president of administration. The property has been acquired, the necessary permits in place, and Fluor Corp. has completed the engineering plan. Fluor will serve as the engineering, procurement and construction contractor.

The Sierra Biofuels Plant is located approximately 30 km. east of Reno, Nevada; the facility has two feedstock supply agreements in place. Waste Connections Inc. will supply presorted MSW from its waste processing facility in El Dorado County, California, and Fulcrum has a 15-year agreement with Waste Management of Nevada to deliver post-sorted MSW. Fulcrum also has a three-year off-take agreement in place with Tenaska Biofuels, to buy the cellulosic ethanol at market price. “We’re able to do that because of the low cost nature of the process,” Barraza said, “And, getting MSW feedstock at no cost.”

The Fulcrum technology is a two-step thermochemical process. First, 4-inch pieces of organic materials are gasified in a plasma-enhanced gasifier which uses heat, pressure, steam and a little bit of oxygen. “It doesn’t burn, it breaks down into carbon monoxide, hydrogen and carbon dioxide, or what we call syngas,” Barraza told EPM. The gas is cleaned and then run through a licensed catalytic technology jointly developed by Nipawin Biomass Ethanol New Generation Co-operative Ltd. and Saskatchewan Research Council. The demonstration plant incorporates a full-scale reactor tube and process, identical to those to be used in Fulcrum’s large-scale plants.

Fulrum are partners with the Nipawin Economic Development Committee and Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC) to develop a cellulose conversion industry for the production of fuel-grade ethanol from residual agricultural and forestry biomass in the Nipawin region of North-Eastern Saskatchewan.

Source: Ethanol Producer Magazine

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