Fulcrum BioEnergy proves catalytic technology

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California-based Fulcrum BioEnergy Inc. recently announced that it has successfully proven the second of two technologies the company will use to produce ethanol from post-recycled municipal solid waste (MSW).

The first part of Fulcrum’s process involves a gasification process in which post-recycled MSW is converted synthesis gas containing carbon monoxide, hydrogen and carbon dioxide. “It’s a thermo-chemical process,” said Fulcrum’s Manager of Administration Karen Bunton. “The gasification technology is unique in that it is connected with a plasma arc process that helps to limit the residual waste that is a result of the gasification step.”

The second technology involves using a catalyst to convert that synthesis gas into ethanol. Fulcrum has licensed its proprietary catalytic technology from joint developers Nipawin Biomass Ethanol New Generation Co-operative Ltd. and the Saskatchewan Research Council. “[The process] is unique in that it is using a new catalyst technology,” Bunton said.

To date, Fulcrum has tested the catalytic technology at its North Carolina-based pilot facility, the TurningPoint Ethanol Plant. According to Bunton, the pilot facility has been operating since June and has successfully operated using the catalytic technology for more than 300 hours. The results generated during this testing confirm results previously achieved Nipawin and the SRC.

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