Solena and Rentech to partner on synthetic fuel technology for Europe’s proposed first sustainable jet fuel facility

18.11.2010   (GreenAir online)  

Solena Group, which is seeking to build a facility in London to convert waste
biomass feedstock into sustainable jet fuel, has signed a letter of intent with
fellow US company Rentech to negotiate a licensing deal to the use the latter’s
proprietary Fischer-Tropsch (F-T) synthetic fuel technology.
The GreenSky facility is due to open in 2014 and will produce around 16 million
gallons of jet fuel and  9 million gallons of bionaphtha a year when fully operational.
Solena has identified potential sites and is currently in discussions with various
funding sources to secure the finance for the project.   British Airways has committed
to a minimum 10-year offtake agreement to purchase all the jet fuel produced.  
Meanwhile, the airline said it has attracted interest from 18 potential suppliers
of alternative jet fuel for an engine test programme it is planning with Rolls-Royce.

GreenSky will convert more than 500,000 tonnes of waste biomass material that
would have been destined for landfill sites into synthesis gas (BioSynGas) every
year, using Solena’s proprietary plasma gasification technology. The BioSynGas
will then be processed by Rentech’s F-T technology into jet fuel.   The plant will
also export more than 20 megawatts of baseload renewable power to the grid after
supplying the entire facility with clean electricity.

"Solena is delighted to have Rentech as a technology provider to what will be
Europe’s first commercial scale sustainable biojet fuel facility," said CEO Dr
Robert Do. "We welcome them to the GreenSky consortium. Rentech’s iron-based catalyst
F-T process is an ideal fit for Solena’s proprietary gasification solution.

"Bringing the two technologies together will allow us to create a truly sustainable
drop-in jet fuel with the potential to transform the aviation industry."

Solena says the facility will deliver a total reduction of over 2 million tonnes
of CO2, including 145,000 tonnes from the replacement of conventional kerosene
with its sustainable jet fuel, and claims a saving of 95% in lifecycle emissions.

Rentech is believed to have already completed a preliminary engineering study
to help facilitate the integration of its process into the project.

"Airlines will soon be included in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme and Rentech
is one of the few companies whose synthetic fuel technology can provide solutions
to help reduce the financial and environmental impact of this legislation on the
airline industry," commented D. Hunt Ramsbottom, President and CEO of Rentech.
"Renewable jet fuel is one of the only options airlines have to reduce the carbon
footprint of their fleets."

Solena says it is in the advanced stages of securing equity and investment, and
has begun preparing debt financing for the $280 million facility. The company
is looking to close all financing by the end of 2011 and start construction in
2012. It is aiming to complete construction by the end of 2013 and start delivering
jet fuel to British Airways in 2014.

Solena is looking to announce its selection of an engineering, procurement and
construction (EPC) contractor for the project and provide an update on site selection
in early 2011.

The British Airways agreement is a model that Solena says it plans to replicate
with other airlines.

"We can only say that we have a pipeline of biojet fuel projects with other European
and US airlines that are currently under discussion," said Dr Do recently. "These
facilities will be identical in design and capacity to the British Airways project."

Meanwhile, the stalled British Airways programme with aero engine manufacturer
Rolls-Royce to test alternative jet fuels appears to be back on track. When the
two companies sent out Request for Proposals (RFPs) for adequate supplies of potential
fuels two years ago there was little response. However, another attempt has yielded
over 18 fuel companies interested in supplying the required 60,000 litres of fuel
for testing.


Solena Group


British Airways – One Destination

see also

BA and Solena plan to “create 1,200 London jobs” at biofuels plant

Date Added: 21st July 2010

BA hopes to source much of the aviation fuel needed by one or other London airport
from a waste-to-biofuels plant in east London, which will burn plastics, paper
and food leftovers – which are not recycled in a better way. Two potential locations
near Dagenham have been proposed. 200 jobs might be created at the factory. BA
hopes to buy 16 million gallons of fuel for 10 years and hopes production could
start in 2014. Solena is seeking sources of finance.       Click here to view full story…


and more news stories on aviation and biofuels