I had an opportunity today to visit an operating small scale mockup of a plant at the UC Field Station that can transform organic waste into liquid fuels such as syngas, jet fuel and diesel as well as produce hydrogen, all with little or negligible greenhouse gas release. The plant will be scaled up and constructed at the Republic Services landfill and transfer station in Richmond to produce clean hydrogen. This is a different process than the landfill methane to electricity generation that Republic has been doing for years in Richmond.
It is also different from garbage incineration, which produces toxic emissions.
The plant will be built by RavenSR and is expected to be up and running by sometime in 2022. Click here for a PowerPoint presentation. The process can use any carbonaceous waste, including biomass, plastics, paper, medical waste, toxic waste –pretty much anything except metals and glass.
In the demonstration process, the waste was essentially compost, a combination of shredded plant and food waste, from Republic. The waste is heated with electricity without oxygen until it turns into syngas. Next, the syngas can be either reformed into synthetic fuels, or the hydrogen can be extracted and the carbon sequestered.
With a clean electricity source such as wind or solar, the end product is clean hydrogen. I understand the goal is to provide clean hydrogen to fuel a fleet of zero emission trucks.
The waste disposal technology was developed by Intellergy in the 1980s, and at that time, it was more expensive than incineration. Some systems were sold, including two for waste disposal in decommissioning nuclear power plants. One 10 ton per day system was built in Canada, but never truly operated due to financial reasons of the owner. The systems converted waste to syngas and burned the syngas turbines instead of converting it into fuel. Because this was not a viable business model, when Raven SR acquired the patents, the technology process was improved and developed into today’s system.
Figure 1– Feedstock at the plant mockup is shredded plant and food waste from Republic
Figure 2 – Mockup plant at Richmond Field Station
Figure 3 – Mockup plant at Richmond Field Station
For more information, contact Matt W. Murdock of ravens at matt.murdock@RavenSR.com. The RavenSR website is www.ravensr.com.