Thursday, July 24, 2008

Plasma Gasification Waste to Ethanol Outside the Mustang Ranch Near Reno

For those who frequent the Mustang Ranch outside of Reno, you may want to schedule a visit to the new Fulcrum Bioenergy plant being built nearby.
Plans to build one of the first commercial-scale production facilities for converting municipal solid waste to ethanol have been unveiled by Fulcrum BioEnergy, Inc. The plant, says the company, will process municipal solid waste into renewable transportation fuel.

Fulcrum BioEnergy says it will design, finance, construct, own and operate the plant, which will be located ten miles east of Reno at the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center in Storey County, Nevada. This latestage development project is expected to cost approximately $120 million and is set to enter construction by the end of this year.

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 of in landfills. _BiofuelReview
Although ethanol is a sub-optimal fuel in many ways, as more flex-fuel vehicles hit the road ethanol will become a useful fueling option. Note that the Reno plant is using municipal waste as feedstock--which is more common now for biomass gasification to ethanol facilities.

The North American infrastructure can handle only so much ethanol at this time. Bioenergy plants that incorporate plasma gasification should consider combined heat and power installations rather than ethanol production--or produce ethanol as a side product that can be expanded or contracted as market conditions warrant.

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