Ethanol Breakthrough: InEnTec Announces First Commercial-Scale Plant Using PEM(TM) Technology to Recycle Municipal Waste into Ethanol for Cars and Trucks
InEnTec LLC today announced that its proprietary technology, the Plasma Enhanced Melter, or PEM(TM), will be used to convert municipal solid waste to ethanol for cars and trucks in the first commercial-scale production facility of its kind in the U.S. The plant will recycle household garbage, reducing the environmental impact of local landfills while helping to satisfy demand for low-cost, renewable, transportation fuel.
The project, named Sierra BioFuels, will be owned by Fulcrum BioEnergy, Inc. (“Fulcrum”). InEnTec’s new subsidiary, InEnTec Energy Solutions LLC, will retain a minority stake in the project. When it begins operations in early 2010, the Sierra BioFuels plant is expected to produce approximately 10.5 million gallons of ethanol per year, and to process nearly 90,000 tons per year of municipal solid waste that would otherwise have been disposed in landfills.
Fulcrum will design, finance, construct, and operate the plant, which will be located ten miles east of Reno at the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center in Storey County, Nevada. This late-stage development project is expected to cost approximately $120 million and is set to enter construction by the end of this year. InEnTec and Fulcrum have entered into a 10 year contract where InEnTec will supply, at Fulcrum’s option, up to 4.5 million tons per year of gasification capacity to Fulcrum with its proprietary PEM(TM) technology.
“InEnTec’s Plasma Enhanced Melter has huge advantages over both conventional ethanol production and conventional waste disposal,” said Jeffrey Surma, President and CEO of InEnTec. “It is a conversion system and not an incineration process, so emissions are extremely low, including very low CO(2) emissions. The feedstock is garbage or industrial waste. This means one of the modern world’s most vexing problems–how to get rid of tons and tons of garbage–now becomes one of its most abundant energy resources. It doesn’t compete with the world’s food supply or even cultivatable land, and it significantly reduces the need for landfills which produce greenhouse gases and can leach toxins into groundwater,” Surma added.
InEnTec has been operating a 25-ton-per-day demonstration unit in Richland, Washington which is capable of processing 20 percent of Richland’s waste. This commercial-level demonstration has led to several opportunities for large-scale projects which InEnTec is currently developing across the country. Working with some of the country’s largest waste management companies and municipalities, InEnTec is bringing a new paradigm to the disposal of solid waste.
“Converting everyday garbage into valuable clean energy products results in less dependence on foreign oil and a tremendous reduction in carbon footprint,” added David Farmer, InEnTec’s Executive VP of Operations. “For every ton of solid waste diverted from landfills or incinerators, our PEM(TM) process could conservatively reduce more than a ton of CO(2) emitted into the environment.”
Utilizing its proprietary gasification technology, InEnTec plans to build, own, and operate facilities around the world converting municipal solid waste and other waste streams into valuable fuels such as ethanol.
“The gasification technology developed by InEnTec over the past 13 years is now commercially viable and can be used with virtually any waste product as feedstock,” said Surma. “Our technology produces an ultra pure synthesis gas (syngas), which can then be converted into clean energy products such as hydrogen, and liquid fuels such as ethanol, methanol, and synthetic diesel. The ultra-pure syngas is a critical part of successful conversion to liquid fuels using the newly developed catalytic technologies that are now emerging for renewable transportation fuels.”
InEnTec’s PEM(TM) system has been proven effective for a broad variety of waste streams and is fully commercial. For example, in 2003, Kawasaki Heavy Industries in Japan purchased an InEnTec system that it has used to demonstrate the destruction of PCBs and asbestos. Now it is pursuing large scale commercial projects using this proprietary technology. Kawasaki has purchased non-exclusive rights to market the PEM(TM) system in Japan. Global Plasma Corporation has operated a PEM(TM) system in Taiwan for over three years converting medical and industrial waste into syntheses gas, which is used to generate clean electric power. In addition, InEnTec has recently signed a 10-year contract with Dow Corning, a major chemical company, to recycle Dow Corning’s hazardous waste into clean synthesis gas and chemical products.
About InEnTec, LLC
Based in Bend, Oregon, InEnTec LLC (formerly Integrated Environmental Technologies LLC) was formed by scientists from MIT, Battelle, and GE. Through its proprietary gasification system, the Plasma Enhanced Melter(TM), InEnTec can transform municipal (household), commercial, medical, and most industrial and hazardous wastes into clean renewable products, such as ethanol, methanol, syngas and hydrogen, with minimal environmental impact and low costs. InEnTec’s systems meet all environmental standards and come closer to 100% recycling of waste than any other such commercially available technology. For more information please visit www.inentec.com . To see two short videos on InEnTec please visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vaYkhqeGDY4 and http://www.youtube.com/user/InEnTecTV .