Engineering News

ClearFuels Receives Federal Grant for Biomass Gasifier
April 15, 2010

ClearFuels Technology, Inc. announced Thursday that it has signed a coperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to receive its first $7.7 million of a $22.6 million grant award to construct its biomass gasifier at Rentech's Energy Technology Center.

The $7.7 million award reflects the Company's satisfaction of all conditions of its grant for Budget Period 1 under the DOE's Integrated Bio-refinery Grant Program. Budget Period 2 is expected to start in the third quarter of this year.

The grant will facilitate the integration of ClearFuels' synthesis gas technology with Rentech's Fisher-Tropsch process, with the goal of demonstrating efficient, flexible, low-cost production of certified, drop-in, renewable diesel and jet fuel from clean biomass at Rentech's Product Demonstration Unit in Commerce City, Colorado. This joint demonstration of an integrated bio-refinery is anticipated to be completed in late 2011 and will lead to the final design basis for commercial facilities that are expected to use the combined technologies. ClearFuels has begun development of multiple commercial-scale biomass-to-energy projects in the southeastern United States and Hawaii.

When asked about Hawaii, ClearFuels CEO, Eric Darmstaedter, stated, "We are especially anxious to build commercial facilities in our home state of Hawaii. The successful demonstration of our technology processing biomass feedstocks such as bagasse, wood waste and mixtures thereof, will enable our commercial development here in Hawaii."

In a letter of support for the ClearFuels-Rentech demonstration project last November, Senator Inouye wrote, "Hawaii is uniquely positioned to provide a variety of feedstocks for the production of bio-based fuels to replace imported oil for both transportation fuels and energy production…Not only will ClearFuels' success help improve our renewable energy portfolio, but it will provide new jobs and help to diversify our state's economy."

Darmstaedter added, "We believe we have built strong partners and investor relationships in Hawaii and continue to develop opportunities here. ClearFuels is partnering with landowners, crop producers and local businesses to help establish a new, vertically integrated industry that will help diversify and grow Hawaii's economy for a sustainable energy future."

The ClearFuels-Rentech partnership and the DOE grant agreement bring validation to the ClearFuels-Rentech process, which is now closer to commercial realization. ClearFuels has spent many years developing the flexible technology to use local sources of non-food biomass to produce diesel, jet fuel and other biofuels that will reduce dependence on imported petroleum. ClearFuels has also completed preliminary designs using its reformation technology for production of renewable power.

ClearFuels is focusing on the near term commercial production of renewable jet and diesel fuels with Rentech, which has a 25% strategic investment in ClearFuels. ClearFuels is also exploring renewable power opportunities and is in discussions with other biofuels companies whose technologies also integrate well with its own.

Source: ClearFuels Technology, Inc.

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