Consumer Energy Report is now Energy Trends Insider -- Read More »

By Robert Rapier on May 12, 2009 with no responses

Rentech Announces BTL Plant

Still on vacation, but an interesting announcement yesterday by Rentech:

Rialto Project

Our proposed Rialto Renewable Energy Center (Rialto Project) will be located in Rialto, California. The facility is designed to produce approximately 600 barrels per day of pure renewable synthetic fuels and export approximately 35 megawatts of renewable electric power. The renewable power is expected to qualify under California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) program, which requires utilities to increase the amount of electric power they sell from qualified renewable-energy resources. The plant will be capable of providing enough electricity for approximately 30,000 homes.

Rentech has entered into a licensing agreement with SilvaGas Corporation for the biomass gasification technology for the Rialto facility. Rentech’s proprietary technology for the conditioning and clean-up of syngas will provide the next critical link in the technology chain after gasification. The conditioned syngas will be converted by the Rentech Process in a commercial scale reactor to finished, ultra-clean products such as synthetic diesel and naphtha using upgrading technologies under an alliance between Rentech and UOP, a Honeywell Company. Renewable electric power will be produced at the facility by using conventional high-efficiency gas turbine technology. The power is anticipated to be sold to local utilities under the California RPS program.

The primary feedstock for the Rialto Project will be urban woody green waste such as yard clippings, for which Rentech is currently negotiating supply agreements. The location of the project will provide local green waste haulers with a cost-effective alternative to increasingly scarce landfills for the disposal of woody green waste. The plant is designed to also use biosolids for a portion of the feedstock which is expected to be provided under a supply agreement with EnerTech Environmental.

Readers may know that I am quite interested in gasification as a long-term sustainable option for delivering liquid fuels and/or electricity. (See previous essays on Choren, who have built the world’s first scaled-up BTL plant).

Incidentally, their CTO used to be my direct supervisor at ConocoPhillips in 2002-2003:

Dr. Harold A. Wright – Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer

Dr. Harold Wright leverages deep experience in fuel technology development to serve as Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Rentech. He joined the Company in 2005 after serving as Vice President of Technology for Eltron Research & Development, headquartered in Boulder, Colorado. This followed a 14-year tenure with ConocoPhillips where he worked in various capacities including Director of gas-to-liquids (GTL) research and development from 2004-05 and Director of synthesis gas development from 2000-04. In these roles, he was responsible for synthesis gas technology development; GTL commercial reactor design; directing GTL catalyst development; and product upgrading technology development. He oversaw all aspects of the company’s scale-up of GTL technology, which resulted in a 400 barrel per day demonstration plant in Ponca City, Oklahoma. With 24 U.S. Patents issued to his credit, he is also a registered patent agent and is authorized to practice patent law before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Dr. Wright received a B.S. in chemical engineering, cum laude, from the University of Missouri-Columbia and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Purdue University.

Returning to Texas from Hawaii this evening, with things returning to normal over the next few days.