Rentech and ClearFuels receive biorefinery grant

Rentech, Inc. and ClearFuels Technology Inc. jointly announced that they have been selected to receive up to $23 million as a grant from the United States Department of Energy (DOE) to construct a biomass gasifier at Rentech’s Energy Technology Center (RETC) in Denver. The gasifier will be integrated with Rentech’s Product Demonstration Unit (PDU) for the production of renewable synthetic fuels from biomass.

The grant will be used to manufacture and install at RETC a 20 ton-per-day ClearFuels biomass gasifier designed to produce synthesis gas (syngas) from sugar cane bagasse, virgin wood waste and other cellulosic feedstocks.

The gasifier will be integrated with Rentech’s existing PDU at the site, which uses the Rentech Process and UOP’s upgrading technologies to produce renewable drop-in synthetic jet and diesel fuels at demonstration scale of 10 barrels per day. This joint demonstration of an integrated bio-refinery will lead to the final design basis for commercial facilities that are expected to use the combined technologies.

Rentech has a 25 percent strategic ownership interest in ClearFuels, which has begun development of multiple commercial-scale biomass-to-energy projects in the southeastern United States, Hawaii and internationally. These projects are expected to use an integrated ClearFuels-Rentech design and be co-located at sugar mills, and at wood and other biomass processing facilities.

The ClearFuels-Rentech project is one of nineteen integrated bio-refinery projects selected to receive funds from the DOE under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to accelerate the construction and operation of pilot, demonstration, and commercial scale bio-refineries. The DOE indicated that these projects will validate refining technologies and help lay the foundation for full commercial-scale development of an advanced bio-fuels industry in the United States.