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Strategic Biofuels completes CCS test well program at planned biorefinery site

In the United States (US), renewable fuel project developer Strategic Biofuels LLC, has announced that its Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) Test Well Program was successfully completed at the company’s Louisiana Green Fuels Project (LGF) in Caldwell Parish, Louisiana (LA) which the company claims is the first renewable diesel fuel project to achieve this milestone.

Strategic Biofuels LLC has successfully completed a Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) Test Well Program at the site of its planned Louisiana Green Fuels (LGF) project in Louisiana (photo courtesy Strategic Biofuels).

The Louisiana Green Fuels Project (LGF) is a 33 million US gallon (≈ 125 million litre) per annum biorefinery project being developed by Strategic Biofuels. The LGF plant will be located on a 171-acre (≈ 69 hectares) site at the Port of Columbia, approximately 25 miles (≈ 40 km) south of Monroe.

The property is on an active port site with a Union Pacific rail line and highway access adjacent to the site ensuring excellent logistics. LGF will “affordably” convert forestry waste feedstock into renewable diesel and green naphtha.

Strategic Biofuels aims to deploy a proven technology set consisting of biomass gasification, Fischer-Tropsch (FT) synthesis, and upgrading, from yet to be named world-class licensors. LGF is the first project for the company.

Use forest residues

The plant is located within one of the largest fiber baskets in the country ensuring long-term cost-effective feedstock supply and LGF has secured a 20-year agreement with an established, bankable feedstock supplier for delivery of compliant feedstock to the plant, ensuring long-term and cost-effective supply. The waste material will be in-woods processed and delivered as sized chips.

The renewable fuels produced at the plant will be transported to California by rail for one of the largest truck stop operators in the country through a 20-year offtake agreement, which includes the purchase of all the site’s Federal (RFS) and California (LCFS) carbon credits.

These agreements, the company says, provide financial stability for the plant while demonstrating a circular economy cycle often not achieved due to lack of scalability.

Ideal geology for CCS

According to the company, the geology of the plant site has been extensively studied and provides a nearly ideal location for carbon sequestration to safely and securely sequester carbon dioxide (CO2) well below drinking water aquifers, permanently.

The geologic formations necessary to meet Federal and State of California requirements for carbon sequestration and qualify for environmental credits (or “carbon credits”) are present at the site and the geology has been reviewed by both the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources (LDNR).

The goals of the test well program were to demonstrate that CO2, the main greenhouse gas (GHG) generated during the fuel production process, can be safely and securely stored deep underground and that the storage reservoir has sufficient capacity to store all the gas produced over the plant’s lifetime.

Completing the test well program is an essential prerequisite for securing the permit for the EPA Class VI sequestration well.

Carbon capture and permanent geologic sequestration is no longer a hypothetical scenario for Louisiana Green Fuels — successful completion of the test well is a major milestone that’s not been achieved by any other renewable diesel project. These results enable us to move forward knowing that combining CCS with the conversion of sustainable forestry waste to renewable diesel at our project site will enable us to achieve our deeply negative carbon footprint goal. Deep carbon negativity greatly increases the potential carbon credit revenues from our fuel and vastly improves the project’s returns. What’s set us apart from other developers was recognizing that the de-risking we could achieve with the test well more than justified the multi-million-dollar expenditure for the program at this early stage, said Dr Paul Schubert, CEO of Strategic Biofuels.

The design and execution of the test well program were developed by Chief Operating Officer Bob Meredith with help from Geostock Sandia, an international consulting firm that has worked with the US Department of Energy (DOE) on carbon sequestration wells for almost two decades. Notably the program used oil field workers and traditional oilfield equipment to advance this green energy project.

Engineering phase next for LGF

Strategic Biofuels is designing the LGF plant together with “world-class” engineering partners and is now moving into a phase of engineering design for the LGF plant that will give even “greater clarity” on the overall, long-term costs of the project, while also applying for the required regulatory permits and putting third-party contracts in place.

It’s easy to get excited about what the success of this sequestration test well means to the economic development for Caldwell Parish and the State of Louisiana, but we still have a lot of work to do entering an aggressive capital raise. What we have been able to accomplish could very well be a blueprint for the renewable energy industry that is working to address our country’s carbon footprint far into the future, said Bob Meredith.

Although data collection from the CCS test well is done, it will remain in place as a monitoring well once the LGF plant is complete and CO2 begins in its Class VI well. The current project schedule is for the plant to be mechanically complete in mid-2025 and achieve full commercial operation in late 2025.

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