Honeywell UOP Technology Selected to Support Conversion of Biomass to Fuel at California Renewable Energy Facility

UOP LLC, a Honeywell company, announced that its technology has been selected for use in Rentech, Inc.’s Rialto Renewable Energy Center for the conversion of biomass to transportation fuels.

The renewable energy center, to be built in Rialto, Calif., will convert biomass, such as yard and tree trimmings, into renewable diesel fuel and renewable electricity. In the new unit the Rentech-SilvaGas biomass gasification system will be used to produce syngas from biomass feedstock which is converted to hydrocarbons using Rentech’s proprietary Fischer-Tropsch process and catalyst. The UOP Unionfining and Unicracking technologies will then be used to upgrade the hydrocarbons to ultra-clean jet and diesel fuel as well as specialty waxes and chemicals.

The Unionfining process includes a full suite of hydrotreating applications. Unionfining catalysts have been used in more than 650 refining units worldwide. These catalysts can meet the stringent requirements for today’s products, including the production of feedstocks for downstream processing such as naphtha reforming, isomerization, or FCC and resid catalytic cracking.

In 1990, UOP joined forces with Unocal to create the Unicracking technology. UOP’s Unicracking process operates at elevated pressure and temperature, and consumes hydrogen. The unconverted fractionator bottoms product can be fed to an FCC unit or lube oil hydrofinishing unit, or it can be recycled back to the process for full conversion to lighter high-value products.

The center is expected to produce roughly 640 barrels-per-day of liquid fuel and 35 megawatts of base-load electricity, enough to power approximately 30,000 homes each day.

In August 2009, eight airlines signed a multi-year agreement with Rentech to together purchase up to 1.5 million gallons per year of diesel from the Rialto Project for use in ground service equipment at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). The Rialto Project is scheduled to start up in late 2012. (Earlier post.)

Honeywell’s UOP business, a recognized global leader in process technology to convert petroleum feedstocks to fuels and chemicals, has also developed a range of processes to produce high-quality, drop-in green fuels from natural feedstocks. Since 2006, UOP has commercialized processes to convert non-edible natural oils to Honeywell Green Diesel and Honeywell Green Jet Fuel.

It has also established Envergent Technologies, a joint venture with Ensyn Corp. which offers pyrolysis technology for the production of renewable heat, power and transportation fuels from biomass sources such as forest and agricultural waste.

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