US and Canadian research and demonstration on thermochemical conversion

Fulcrum Bioenergy - Sierra Biofuels MSW to Jet Fuel and Diesel facility

In May 2105, Fulcrum Bioenergy Inc., announced it has awarded a $200m engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to Abengoa for the construction of the 10 MMgy Sierra BioFuels facility to convert MSW into syngas, followed by a Fischer Tropsch step to create second generation biodiesel and bio jet fuel.

In September 2014, Fulcrum Bioenergy announced a $105m 'Biorefinery Assistance Program' loan guarantee from the USDA, as well as a $70 million grant under the US DoD Defense Protection Act, which will support development.

Fulcrum has entered into a long-term, zero-cost MSW feedstock agreements with Waste Management and Waste Connections, two of the largest waste service companies in North America, and a fuel off-take agreement with Tenaska BioFuels. The Sierra BioFuels Plant is expected to be one of the United States’ first fully operational, commercial-scale MSW-to-renewable fuels production plants.

In Summer 2014, Cathay Pacific Airways announced that it is investing in Fulcrum Bioenergy Inc., the parent company of Fulcrum Sierra BioFuels, LLC, and has negotiated a long-term supply agreement with Fulcrum for 375 million gallons of sustainable aviation fuel over 10 years. This would represent about 2 % of the airline's annual fuel consumption. [Source: Fulcrum Bioenergy website & USDA Press Release].

Cool Planet 'Reformate' commercial facility, Louisiana, US

Cool Planet (with investors including BP, Google Ventures, ConocoPhillips and GE), is using a thermo-mechanical fractionation system (pyrolyzer) to convert wood waste and energy crops into hydrocarbon chains (gases). These are converted via catalysts to high-octane, renewable gasoline blendstocks (known as "Reformate"), which can be used to enhance the energy content of gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel. Pine chips will be the feedstock source for the Cool Planet facility, but the process can use almost any type of renewable cellulosic material. BioChar is produced as a by-product for soil enhancement and carbon sequestration [Source: Cool Planet].

In February 2014, Cool Planet Energy Systems broke ground on a commercial facility 'Project Genesis' in Alexandria to produce 10m gallons per years of renewable gasoline. In October 2014, it was announced USDA has reached an agreement with Silicon Valley Bank to provide a $91 million Biorefinery Assistance Program (Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical, and Biobased Product Manufacturing Assistance Program, 2016) loan guarantee to Cool Planet to help the company finish construction of the plant. A $168m investment for three production facilities in Louisiana was originally announced by Cool Planet in September 2013.

Velocys / Red Rock Biofuels

In July 2015, Red Rock announced an ageement to supply FedEx Express with 3m gallons p.a. of bio jet fuel from 2017. Red Rock also has agreements to supply Soutthwest Airlines. In October 2014, it was announced that Red Rock Biofuels had been awarded a $70m USDD biofuels contract to use woody biomass to produce 12m gallons of advanced biofuels using Velocys Fischer-Tropsch technology.

In the US, Primus Green Energy has started construction of a $7m demonstration plant to produce drop-in fuels using proprietary technology based on an enhanced version of the Mobil Process. Gasification is followed by Carbon dioxide separation and scrubbing of the syngas, before a four-stage catalytic system to produce the drop-in biofuel.

In April 2013 Frontline Bioenergy received $4.2m in DOE funding for a pilot facility integrating a gasification unit, novel conditioning processes and FT to produce military biofuels.

Haldor Topsoe and Andritz Carbona, along with GTI/Uhde (Morphysorb capture of acid gases) and Phillips 66 (engine testing) have developed a 20 bbl/day wood to gasoline demonstration plant at Des Plaines, Illinois, integrating all the steps from woody biomass to gasoline production in a single facility. The project uses Topsoe Integrated Gasoline Synthesis (TIGAS), using wood pellets supplied by UPM-Kymmene. Andritz provides the gasification technology. The project has been supported by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Golden Field Office, under its Integrated Biorefinery Platform program [Source: Haldor Topsøe A/S June 2013].

CRI Catalysts is the exclusive worldwide licensor of IH2 Technology, which was developed at the Gas Technology Institute (GTI ) in Des Plaines, IL. This technology directly converts virtually any biomass to high quality (ligno)cellulosic hydrocarbon gasoline, diesel or jet fuels and/or blend stocks via a two stage thermochemical process. The IH2 process technology uses specially tailored CRI catalysts in both the Hydropyrolysis and Hydroconversion stages.

Purdue University has developed H2Bioil technology, whereby biomass is rapidly heated in the presence of pressurised hydrogen. Catalysts are then used to convert the gas to "biogasoline" molecules.

Syntroleum developed Fischer-Tropsch and Bio-Synfining® technologies to convert fats, biomass, natural gas, coal, and other carbon bearing feedstocks into liquid fuels. Syntroleum has a worldwide license under ExxonMobil’s GTL patents to produce and sell fuels from natural gas or other carbonaceous substances such as coal. The company also had a joint venture Dynamic Fuels LLC (now Renewable Energy Group, Inc.) to convert animal processing wastes to biofuels.

In the United States, Maverick Synfuels has developed a modular system to produce methanol from syngas and then convert it to olefins, and in turn biofuels or other bioproducts.