Synthetic power

Los Angeles-based Rentech plans to build a plant in Rialto, California to produce synthetic fuels and electric power from renewable waste biomass feedstocks.


The Rialto Renewable Energy Project is designed to produce approximately 600 barrels per day of pure renewable synthetic fuels and export approximately 35MW of renewable electric power.


Rentech has entered into a licensing agreement with Silvagas to deploy its biomass gasification technology for the Rialto facility.


Between 1998 and 2001, a 400-tonne-per-day plant using the Silvagas biomass gasification technology successfully operated in Burlington, Vermont, producing synthesis gas (syngas) from wood-based biomass.


That plant was built in partnership with the US Department of Energy, Battelle Columbus Laboratory and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).


Rentech’s technology for the conditioning and clean-up of the syngas will provide the next critical link in the technology chain after gasification.


The conditioned syngas will be converted by the Rentech Process in a commercial-scale reactor to products such as synthetic diesel and naphtha.


Renewable electric power will be produced at the facility by using conventional gas turbine technology.


Having completed preliminary scoping studies, Rentech has engaged Jacobs Engineering to conduct the feasibility engineering phase of the project, which is expected to be completed over the next several months.


The primary feedstock for the Rialto Project will be urban woody green waste such as garden clippings, for which Rentech is currently negotiating supply agreements.


The plant is designed to also use biosolids for a portion of the feedstock; these are expected to be provided under a supply agreement with Enertech Environmental.