Environmental Protection

Solena Group Plans to Produce Renewable Jet Fuel

The Solena Group, a global bio-energy company, based in Washington D.C. recently announced that it is developing the first large-scale, renewable jet fuel production facility based on 100 percent Bio-SynGas generated from biomass and municipal waste.

The company will create the facility in partnership with Rentech, Inc., a pioneering coal-to-liquid production company, that will use Solena's Bio-SynGas as a replacement for synthesis gas generated from coal or natural gas. The facility will convert biomass and organic products derived from municipal waste into clean renewable synthesis gas (Bio-SynGas) that will then be converted into renewable jet fuel through the Rentech Fischer Tropsch (FT) technology, resulting in net-zero carbon dioxide emissions for air travel.

The facility, which is scheduled to be constructed in Gilroy, Calif. in 2009, will be the first commercial-scale aviation grade biofuel (Bio-SJ8) production plant in the world.

The process of converting biomass into jet fuel is accomplished by feeding biomass, including agricultural, forestry and municipal waste, into a 5,000-degrees Celsius gasification reactor powered by plasma heating system, producing Bio-SynGas. The product is cooled and cleaned in a process that removes sulfur compounds, chlorides, other volatile metals, and acid gas that may be present. The Bio-SynGas is then funneled into Rentech FT gas-to-liquid equipment that converts it into clean diesel liquid fuel, which is then upgraded to the final jet fuel. The FT reaction, a process developed in Germany in 1923, converts the carbon monoxide and hydrogen into a wide arrange of hydrocarbons including diesel, methane, and heavy waxes. The process uses an iron-based catalyst in a slurry reactor to effect the conversion. Some of the remaining hydrogen rich tail-gas will be fed directly into gas turbines to produce base-load renewable electricity to run the entire facility.

The plant will employ a module system with the capacity to produce 1,800 barrels of bio-fuel, with 70 percent Jet A-1 fuel (also known as SJ-8 for military uses) a day and 30 percent Naptha, roughly equating to 17 million gallons a year of second generation bio-fuels.

The U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has classified gasification plants such as Solena's system for production of synthesis gas as a Fuel Manufacturing Facility with a clean emissions profile and distinct from waste incinerators and thermal waste disposal facilities. In addition, since the biomass feedstock will be coming from municipal solid waste, the facility is also considered a Zero Landfill 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. In order to convert the necessary amount of biomass, the facility will use three of Solena's standard gasifiers, each of which has a capacity of 20 tons of biomass per hour.

The new Solena facility will be developed, designed, built, owned,and operated by a consortium of corporations including Solena Group and Rentech, with financing to be arranged by Deutsche Bank AG London at an estimated cost of $250 million.

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