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Fulcrum BioEnergy: Municipal Solid Waste to Renewable Fuel

Fulcrum BioEnergy is California, United States based municipal solid waste (MSW) to renewable fuel producer company. With the help of its thermochemical process Fulcrum Bioenergy  converts the organic waste of the garbage into clean renewable fuel. As an approximation the garbage generated by more than one million people serve as a feedstock for 30 million gallons renewable fuels per year. Being drop-in replacement Fulcrum’s fuel does not require changes in the existing fuel infrastructure.


The process developed by Fulcrum Bioenergy utilizes organic part of the MSW. According to the producer the benefits of using  MSW as biofuel feedstock is the fact that it does not have to be grown and has no other uses. Its procurement is also less tricky. In order to secure large volumes of MSW, Fulcrum BioEnergy has made long-term agreements with two of the largest waste services of North America ‘Waste Management’ and ‘Waste Connections’.

Fulcrum BioEnergy’s ConversionTechnology

Fulcrum BioEnergy has developed a technology platform for converting MSW to transportation fuels via thermochemical route. The process is ready for deployment.  The first municipal solid waste to renewable fuels plant of the company is under construction. The various steps involve in the process are:

Feedstock Processing
The contracted waste services companies will provide the MSW to the Fulcrum’s feedstock processing facility. Here it will be processed and recyclable materials of commercial importance and inorganic waste will be extracted from it. The organic material recovered from the MSW will be supplied to the biorefinery where it will first be shredded and then fed into the gasification system.

Gasification System
The second step consists of the heating of the fed MSW in the gasification system. This results in the immediate conversion of MSW to syngas. In the next step the syngas is cleaned by a venturi scrubber by capturing and removing any entrained particulate matter. Syngas is then cooled in a packed gas cooler scrubber. The cleaned syngas is further processed through an amine system to capture and remove sulfur and carbon dioxide. The end syngas product is very clean and is sulfur free.

Fischer-Tropsch (FT) Process
Purified syngas reacts with Fulcrum’s proprietary catalyst to form intermediate heavy, medium and light fractions of the FT Liquids products. The light fraction of the FT liquid is commonly Naphtha which is recycled in the partial oxidation unit along with the remaining tail gas to get converted into hydrogen and carbon monoxide.

Fuel Upgrading
In the last step, the heavy and medium FT liquids are upgraded through hydrotreating, hydrocracking and hydroisomerization into jet fuel.


Sierra BioFuels Plant, McCarran, Storey County, Nevada

The first municipal solid waste to renewable fuels plant of Fulcrum BioEnergy is expected to become United States’ first fully operational, commercial-scale MSW to renewable fuels production plants. It is under construction. The Sierra BioFuels Plant will be comprised of a feedstock processing facility and a biorefinery that will convert approximately 200,000 tons of prepared MSW feedstock into more than 10 million gallons of jet fuel or diesel annually.

Fulcrum BioEnergy plans to develop a number of renewable fuel production facilities with production capacity as much as 300 million gallons across North America by the end of 2020.


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