New Plant Produces Renewable Synthetic Diesel from Urban Waste

15 May 2009 • by Natalie Aster

Rialto, Calif. will be home to a new plant which will create ultra clean synthetic fuels from renewable waste. The plant, owned by Rentech Inc., will provide longer lasting electricity for homes in the general area of Rialto.

The renewable energy plant is designed to produce roughly 600 barrels per day of pure renewable synthetic fuels and export approximately 35 megawatts of renewable electric power. It 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 new plant will be able to provide enough electricity for 30,000 homes.

Rentech also secured a licensing agreement with SilvaGas Corp. for biomass gasification technology.

Previous generation technologies for bio-fuels such as bio-diesel and ethanol used valuable feedstocks that compete with food to produce fuels of changeable quality. "This plant will be able to transform low-value waste streams into high-value green power and pure synthetic fuels that can be used in today’s engines and distribution infrastructure," D. Hunt Ramsbottom, CEO of Rentech said. The primary feedstock for the Rialto Project will be urban woody green waste such as yard clippings.

The project supports the Obama administration goal of domestic fuel production. "We expect the Rialto Project to be the prototype for many waste-to-fuels projects for Rentech. These projects are being designed at smaller scale than fossil-based projects, and feedstock costs are low or negative, resulting in significant potential returns on investmen," said Doug Miller, Executive Vice President of Renewable Energy Businesses for Rentech.