Municipal Waste-to-Biofuels – A New Trend?

A company is close to getting the financing it needs to build the first commercial refinery in the US that converts municipal solid waste into biofuels. 

Fulcrum BioEnergy, Inc., which cancelled a planned IPO this year, is closing in on $175 million in financing to fund construction of its Sierra BioFuels Plant.

The plant will process municipal waste after it’s been sorted for recycling – it’s being promoted as the first to transform  everyday trash into a clean, renewable transportation fuel.  

It will convert about 90,000 tons of garbage – the amount typically produced by a city of 165,000 people – into 10.5 million gallons of fuel a year.  It’s expected to open towards the end of next year.

The conversion process purportedly cuts greenhouse gas emissions by more than 75% over its lifecycle compared to traditional gasoline production from oil.

Originally announced in 2010, the Nevada facility got a $105 million conditional loan guarantee from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) this year. 

"The current IPO market environment remains challenging, especially for development stage companies like Fulcrum. Because of this we have secured commitments from alternative capital resources to advance our MSW to renewable fuel program and we have withdrawn our registration statement," says James Macias, Fulcrum CEO.

The company will pursue an IPO again when market conditions are more favorable, he says.

Fulcrum is based in Pleasanton, California. It has feedstock agreements that will allow it produce more than 700 million gallons of biofuels a year as it adds facilities across the US.

Here’s their website:

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