Jet Fuel From Garbage

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A Washington, D.C.-based company is in the preliminary stages of developing a $250 million plant in California to make jet fuel out of garbage, manure and tree bark. According to Biomass Magazine Solena Group hopes to build the plant in Gilroy, Calif., and will use raw material from municipal, agricultural and forestry waste supplied by Norcal Waste Systems, one of California’s largest municipal waste and biomass collectors. The announcement comes on the heels of the successful certification of jet fuel made by a South African company that uses a different raw material but the same basic process as that planned in California.

The South African company Sasol produces the fuel from coal using the Fischer-Tropsch method. The same method can coax petroleum out of just about any carbon-based compound but jet fuel has to withstand major temperature extremes and still keep the hot section hot. Colorado-based Rentech is working with Solena to create the jet fuel from the raw product. Financing is being worked on and the group hopes to be producing Jet-A by 2011.