Jet fuel project gets Ontario wood allocation
|From the left are David Orazietti, MPP of
Sault Ste. Marie; Mike Brown, MPP of Algoma Manitoulin; Chief Roy Michano of
Pic River First Nations; Hunt Ramsbottom, president and CEO of Rentech; Michael
Gravelle, Ontario Minister of Northern Development, Mines, and Forestry; Angelo
Bazzoni, Mayor of White River; and Thurston Kwissiwa, councillor of Pic
Photo: Canadian Press Images/Rentech Inc
May 9, 2011, Los Angeles, CA, and Sault
Ste. Marie, ON – Rentech’s proposed Olympiad Renewable Energy Centre (Olympiad
Project) in White River, Ontario, has been selected by the province of Ontario
for a proposed supply of up to 1.1 million cubic metres/year of Crown timber.
The wood supply, composed primarily of forest waste and unmerchantable species,
would be used for the sustainable production of renewable RenJet, Rentech’s
low-carbon jet fuel. This proposed wood allocation is the largest awarded in
the Provincial Wood Supply Competitive Process administered by the Ontario
Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, and Forestry. The selection is the
first step in making the wood supply available to the project.
Rentech’s Olympiad Project is being
designed to produce approximately 85 million litres/year of renewable and
certified low-carbon RenJet fuel. The project will also produce 43 million
litres/year of renewable naphtha, a chemical feedstock.
The Olympiad Project, scheduled to be in
service in 2015, will be designed as a state-of-the-art renewable energy
facility that will employ the company’s biomass gasification system to produce
alternative jet fuel certified for use in commercial aviation. Rentech’s
technologies will enable it to turn primarily unmerchantable and underused
timber into renewable jet fuel.
Rentech is working closely with Sustainable
Development Technology Canada (SDTC), whose $500 million NextGen Biofuels Fund
(NGBF) offers a significant potential funding source for the Olympiad Project.
After a year of discussions with SDTC, Rentech has submitted an application for
funding to the NGBF, which funds up to 40% to a maximum of $200 million of
eligible project development and construction costs, which would be repaid from
a percentage of the project’s cash flows.
“Having our project selected in the
Provincial Wood Supply Competitive Process for a proposed large, sustainable
feedstock supply from the Ontario government is a significant achievement and
step forward for our renewable energy project,” says D. Hunt Ramsbottom,
president and CEO of Rentech. “We will be working closely with SDTC, First
Nations, and other partners to secure project financing. SDTC’s funding
opportunity played a key role in Rentech’s decision to pursue a large-scale
renewable energy facility in Northern Ontario.”
Working with the province and White River,
Rentech has forged a significant partnership with the Pic River First Nation
for up to 18% equity interest in the project. The Pic River partnership is
expected to create significant opportunities for the Aboriginal community
through job creation and advanced skills training. Other Aboriginal communities
are expected to benefit from regional opportunities as well.
“Communities such as Pic River and White
River that have withstood the industry shift from traditional pulp, paper, and
sawmills to new uses for Ontario’s forests now have a renewed sense of hope,”
says Chief Roy Michano of Pic River First Nation. “We are pleased with our
partnership with Rentech, a very forward thinking company that has embraced
First Nations as an integral part of such an ambitious project. Finally, to the
Minister of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry, we are truly thankful for
Ontario’s continued support of our energy and forestry programs in Pic River.
Much of our success has been built on this continued support.”
The project would leverage local
sustainable forestry expertise, employ an estimated 83 full-time employees, and
create over 300 indirect and induced positions.
Renewable RenJet and naphtha to be produced
at the Olympiad Project are estimated to reduce approximately 600,000
tonnes/year of CO2-equivalent from the atmosphere compared to the same products
produced from petroleum. This equates to removing more than 100,000 passenger
cars from the road. RenJet is virtually free of sulphur and aromatics. When
compared to traditional jet fuel, tailpipe emissions from RenJet generate lower
amounts of particulate matter, nitrogen oxides (NOX), and sulphur oxides (SOX).
Life-cycle emissions of carbon dioxide are significantly below those of
petroleum-based jet fuel. The lower density of RenJet fuel could enable
aircraft to have a lower take-off weight, which conserves fuel and lowers
Rentech operates a demonstration facility
in Commerce City, Colorado, deploying its synthetic fuels technology that has
produced over 150,000 litres of certified synthetic fuels. In 2010, a
commercial flight flew on a blend of Rentech’s synthetic jet fuel and
conventional Jet-A with no difference in performance when compared to
conventional jet fuel.