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Frontline BioEnergy completes extended pilot test campaign

Frontline BioEnergy completes extended pilot test campaign
The control room at the Frontline BioEnergy demonstration plant (photo courtesy frontline BioEnergy).

In the United States (US), biomass gasification technology developer Frontline BioEnergy LLC has announced that it has successfully concluded an extended test campaign of its "TarFreeGas" and Biomass-Into-Natural-Gas (BING) processes at its new pilot facility located in central Iowa (IA).

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The extended test campaign began in August 2023 to demonstrate Frontline BioEnergy’s Biomass-Into-Natural-Gas (BING) technology.

The fully integrated pilot plant has a nominal capacity of 1,000 lbs per day, and the test was conducted using biomass from the San Joaquin Valley of California (CA).

While achieving our goal – 30 days of operation – we made renewable natural gas (RNG) meeting all pipeline quality specifications. We gathered excellent data to validate our process approach and inform our designs for the commercial-scale plant. I can’t overstate what this success will mean for the renewable energy industry. Biomass is nature’s solution for simultaneous carbon capture, solar power, and energy storage. Frontline’s technology releases the potential of this energy transition trifecta, said Jerod Smeenk, CEO of Frontline BioEnergy.

More than one billion tons of biomass is generated annually in the U.S., and most of that goes unused. In places like California’s San Joaquin Valley, where disposal options are limited, waste biomass is either burned, spewing contaminants into the air and degrading the air quality, or just ground up and plowed underground, wasting a huge amount of potential energy.

But through Frontline BioEnergy’s proprietary TarFreeGas and BING processes, that biomass can be converted to enough energy to replace a substantial fraction of current US natural gas usage.

The 30-day test campaign marked a major funding milestone for Frontline’s San Joaquin Renewables project, which will convert orchard residuals and nut shells from farmers in California’s San Joaquin Valley into pipeline-quality RNG.

Although we could have kept running, and we had a lot of fun, we’re now looking forward to scaling up. The next step is implementing the TarFreeGas process at a commercial scale to reduce emissions and improve air quality in the San Joaquin Valley, said Dr T.J. Paskach, CTO of Frontline BioEnergy.

Smeenk also shared his appreciation for the Frontline team at the conclusion of this milestone event.

None of this would have been possible without our amazing team and all their hard work. Thank you to everyone who has given their time and energy towards the success of our TarFreeGas and BING processes and the extended test campaign, Jerod Smeenk said.

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