Waste-to-ethanol projects move forward

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Several projects that aim to produce ethanol from waste materials have gained traction in recent months

In the southwest region of the U.S., California-based Fulcrum BioEnergy Inc. is developing a project that will use a proprietary gasification process to produce ethanol from synthesis gas (syngas).

Fulcrum’s technology transforms post-recycled municipal solid waste (MSW) into syngas, which is composed of carbon monoxide, hydrogen and carbon dioxide. A proprietary catalytic technology is then used to convert the syngas into ethanol.

Fulcrum recently announced that it has successfully proven its catalytic technology at its North Carolina pilot facility, the TurningPoint Ethanol Plant. The company is developing a 10.5 MMgy commercial-scale facility near Reno, Nev. According to Karen Bunton, Fulcrum’s administration manager, construction of the Sierra Biofuels Plant is expected to begin in early 2010.

Indianapolis, Ind.-based Agresti Biofuels is also developing an ethanol plant that will utilize MSW. The proposed facility, which will be located in Pike County, Ky., was originally scheduled to break ground in late 2008. However, construction was delayed due to the economic crisis. According to Zbigniew “Zig” Resiak, Agresti’s program director, construction is scheduled to begin as soon as financing is complete, which he estimates will in late 2009 or early 2010.


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