UK-based TMO Renewables has announced that it has entered into a 20-year contract with U.S.-based Fiberight to design and build waste to ethanol plants in the U.S. The contract is estimated to be worth more than $25 million per year. The new plants will combine the TMO Process, which optimizes waste feedstock conversion using a specialty bio-organism, with Fiberight’s fractionation and digestion technology. The two technologies working together are anticipated to improve the conversion of municipal solid waste (MSW) and other types of cellulosic waste into ethanol.
As part of the agreement, the two companies anticipate that they will design and construct 15 plants throughout the U.S. over the next five years. According to TMO, for each plant they will receive an initial, one-off design fee plus recurring annual revenue. The site and funding for the first plant has already been secured and construction is expected to begin in 2011. The next five sites have also been identified with the remaining plant locations yet to be determined.
“This contract is a landmark in the development of TMO’s technology on a commercial scale to produce an economically sustainable source of renewable biofuel,” said Hamish Curran, CEO of TMO. “In adopting the TMO Process Fiberight has proven the ability to use waste stream feedstock, net of all recyclables, for the effective conversion to cellulosic ethanol via a novel, low cost and fully integrated bio-process. Replication of similar waste to ethanol bio-refineries, across all regions of the U.S. and globally, can drive significant green job creation and community economic development. We look forward to working with Fiberight’s pioneering team to drive forward our joint plant development program.”
TMO has already achieved project yields in excess of 90 US gallons per ton (dry weight) at pilot scale by processing MSW feedstock from Fiberight at its own demonstration facility in the UK. The metrics support the scalability and economics to achieve attractive conversion of waste biomass into cellulosic ethanol.
“Fiberight has advanced its technology and development processes both with its operations in Blairstown, Iowa and by leveraging the scientific resources available at TMO’s industrial scale process demonstration unit in the United Kingdom. Integrating TMO’s Process with our own will give Fiberight the edge compared with other ethanol producing technologies, allowing us to be more efficient with waste than our competitors. Together, the companies are on track to become one of the largest producers of cellulosic ethanol in the US during 2011, helping to divert millions of tons of waste away from landfill every year,“ said Craig Stuart-Paul, CEO of Fiberight.