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Fulcrum BioEnergy breaks ground on Sierra advanced biofuels plant

US-based waste-to-fuels (W2F) process developer Fulcrum BioEnergy, Inc., has announced the construction start of phase two of its first waste-to-fuels project, the Sierra BioFuels Plant (Sierra), with a groundbreaking event at the plant site in McCarran, Nevada. Sierra will be the country’s first commercial-scale plant converting a municipal solid waste (MSW) feedstock, that would otherwise be landfilled, into a low-carbon, renewable transportation fuel product.

On May 16, Fulcrum BioEnergy held a ceremony to mark the phase two construction start of its Sierra Biofuels Plant in McCarran, Nevada. Once completed, the plant will convert 175 000 tons of municipal waste into more than 10.5 million gallons (≈ 38.75 million litres) of transportation fuel each year (photo courtesy Fulcrum BioFuels).

Launching the final construction phase of Sierra is another milestone for Fulcrum, our partners, Northern Nevada and the low-carbon fuels industry. We’ve spent ten years developing, designing, testing, improving and demonstrating this new process so that it is now ready for commercial deployment. By converting waste into low-carbon transportation fuel, Fulcrum provides a real solution to the aviation industry’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions, Jim Macias, Fulcrum’s President and Chief Executive Officer told the more than 200 guests in attendance at the groundbreaking event.

Located in the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center approximately 20 miles east of Reno, the Sierra BioFuels Plant will utilize Fulcrum’s proprietary thermochemical process to convert household garbage into low-carbon transportation fuels.

According to Fulcrum, its process has numerous social and environmental benefits, including extending the life of landfills and reducing harmful greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Compared to the use of traditional petroleum transportation fuel, Fulcrum’s process will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 80 percent.

When the plant begins commercial operations in the first quarter of 2020, Sierra will convert approximately 175 000 tons of household garbage into more than 10.5 million (US) gallons (≈ 38.75 million litres) of fuel each year.

Through Sierra, Fulcrum will create hundreds of well-paying jobs including approximately 500 during construction, 120 permanent plant operations jobs and many more indirect jobs throughout Northern Nevada.

We appreciate the strong support that we have received over the years from the State of Nevada, including Governor Brian Sandoval’s office and Storey County. Nevada’s commitment to clean energy is clearly evident, providing significant environmental and economic benefits for the state and leading the way to a clean and sustainable future for our country. And I thank all of our strategic partners, technology partners and investors for their help and support of this milestone project, Macias said.

Additional project pipeline

Fulcrum is developing future projects that follow the same approach as Sierra with fixed feedstock costs, fuel offtake prices hedged against oil, plant performance guaranteed and a low-cost of
production that provides attractive operating margins.

As construction proceeds on Sierra, engineering, siting and permitting activities are underway for the company’s next several projects to be sited near large US metropolitan areas where the company has already secured long-term supplies of feedstock, fuel logistics and fuel offtake agreements.

Collectively, these future plants are expected to have the capacity to produce more than 300 million gallons (1.2 billion litres) of low-carbon jet fuel annually.

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