Ethanol to be Produced from Garbage

First large-scale project slated to open in 2011.

Published on: Mar 23, 2010

Officials at Pleasanton, Calif. based Fulcrum BioEnergy say they have successfully demonstrated the ability to economically produce renewable ethanol from garbage. Fulcrum President and CEO, E. James Macias says by demonstrating first the clean and efficient conversion of garbage to syngas, and now syngas to ethanol, they have demonstrated that the technology is ready for deployment at their first large-scale project.

That plant, the Sierra BioFuels Plant, is located approximately 20 miles east of Reno, Nev., and is scheduled to begin operations in 2011 and will be one of the nation's first large-scale waste-to-ethanol facilities. The project will convert 90,000 tons of post-recycled municipal solid waste – the amount of trash produced by a city with a population of 165,000 – into 10.5 million gallons of ethanol per year. Fulcrum expects its cost of production to be less than $1 a gallon, significantly below that of today's conventional ethanol production.

Fulcrum's process will create a much needed low-cost, reliable and environmentally clean renewable transportation fuel lowering our Nation's dependence on foreign oil, reducing the need for landfills and stimulating economic growth with a new industry of green jobs. By utilizing MSW as its feedstock, Fulcrum will produce a biofuel that reduces greenhouse gas emissions by more than 75% on a lifecycle basis.