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BP/JM technology finds home in Fulcrum biojet fuel plant

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A Johnson Matthey (JM) press release announced that British Petroleum (BP) and JM have co-signed an agreement with biofuels producer Fulcrum BioEnergy to license their Fischer Tropsch (FT) technology and assist Fulcrum to convert municipal solids into biojet fuel.

The FT technology, described by JM as ‘cost-advantaged’ and ‘simple-to-operate’, can economically convert synthesis gas, generated from sources such as municipal solid waste and other renewable biomass, into long-chain hydrocarbons for the biofuel.

According to the press release, Fulcrum plans to use the technology in its Sierra BioFuels plant located in Storey County, Nevada.

JM claims that the Sierra plant will be the ‘first’ commercial-scale plant to convert municipal solid waste feedstock, and household garbage, into biofuel.

 “Through our partnership with Johnson Matthey, we have developed a robust high-quality technology built on great science and great engineering. Our technology can help deliver innovative low carbon fuels that can play an important role in the energy transition. We see this first licence as a stepping stone to other similar opportunities,” said Angelo Amorelli, BP’s technology vice-president of group research.

Business development and innovation director of JM, Eugene McKenna, added, “JM is a leader in science that makes the world cleaner and healthier and in bringing this latest technology to market, we continue to apply our expertise to tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges. We are delighted that Fulcrum has selected this technology to support their ambitions in supplying renewable fuels at significant scale. This is an important step in decarbonising transportation fuels and we will continue to use our science and engineering skills to facilitate wider adoption of this technology.”

Planned for the first quarter of 2020, the Sierra plant is estimated to convert 175,000 tons of household garbage into 11 million gallons of biofuel. JM states that this is enough fuel for 180 return flights between London and New York.