U.S company to help construct Middle Eastern carbon-neutral city

By Bryan Sims
Atlanta-based EnerTech Environmental Inc. signed an expression of interest in mid-May to build a SlurryCarb demonstration facility in Masdar City, which will be part of Abu Dhabi in United Arab Emirates. Masdar City will rely entirely on solar energy and other renewable energy sources, while aiming for a zero-carbon, zero-waste and car-free environmental footprint.

EnerTech will build and operate the demonstration facility that will utilize the company's patented SlurryCarb process, according to EnerTech spokesman Brian Dooley. It will be the first step toward the installation of a permanent facility. The SlurryCarb technology will enable the company to convert biosolids-or sewage sludge-into a renewable fuel called "E-fuel," which is comparable to corn-based ethanol, Dooley said. The biosolids will come from the permanent buildings erected during Masdar City's first phase of construction and also from the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, where thousands of construction workers will be staying during the project, which is expected to last from 2008 to 2016. Initiated in 2006, the project is estimated to cost $22 billion. The first phase is scheduled for completion and occupation by next year.

The project will be a collaborative effort also involving the Masdar CleanTech Fund, a $250 million global investment initiative focused on building renewable energy projects worldwide. "Investing in EnerTech is a key part of the overall Masdar ambition," said Alex O'Cinneide, partner of the Masdar Clean Tech Fund. "Its innovative technology is the kind of smart, clean technology that has the potential to alter the way developers consider future projects."

Currently, EnerTech has a SlurryCarb facility under construction in Rialto, Calif. Upon completion in early 2009, the facility will convert approximately 883 wet tons of biosolids per day from five municipalities in the Los Angeles area into 167 dry tons of E-fuel per day, which will be used by a local cement kiln as an alternative to coal, Dooley said. The project will be supervised by the company's new president and chief executive officer John Prunkl.