Sundrop Fuels, ThyssenKrupp Uhde partner for green gasoline plant

By Sundrop Fuels Inc. | May 23, 2012

Sundrop Fuels Inc., a drop-in advanced biofuels company, announced a partnership with technology and engineering supplier ThyssenKrupp Uhde for what it says will be the nation’s first bona fide commercial “green gasoline” production facility. The company’s inaugural plant near Alexandria, La., will yield up to 50 MMgy of renewable gasoline while also serving as proving ground for Sundrop Fuels’ proprietary biomass conversion technologies that will be used for future large-scale facilities.

The collaboration follows signing of a comprehensive “Front End Engineering and Licensing Agreement” between Sundrop Fuels and Uhde Corporation of America, a unit of ThyssenKrupp USA Inc. More than 70 engineers from the two companies are now working together to complete designs for the Sundrop Fuels plant, which should begin construction late this year.

Sundrop Fuels will convert sustainable forest residues and thinnings as feedstock combined with natural gas into biobased green gasoline by using a commercially proven production path that integrates gasification, gas purification, methanol synthesis and a methanol-to-gasoline (MTG) process. The clean, affordable biofuel is ready for immediate use in today’s combustion engines and will be delivered to the marketplace via the nation’s existing fuels distribution infrastructure. The company’s first production plant will have a capacity of about 3,500 barrels of renewable gasoline per day.

As a key element to its first facility, Sundrop Fuels will deploy ThyssenKrupp Uhde's High Temperature Winkler gasification process, coupled with other well-established technologies for gas cleanup, methanol synthesis and the MTG conversion.

Within the plant, Sundrop Fuels will demonstrate its proprietary process for biomass conversion incorporating the company’s patented and trademarked RP Reactor, an ultrahigh-temperature technology that generates the highest fuel energy yield per ton of biomass of any biofuels process available. Sundrop Fuels plans to follow its first facility with larger-scale fuels plants producing nearly 300 million gallons annually, with a combined production capacity of more than 1 billion gallons by 2020—a significant percentage of the cellulosic advanced biofuels goal set by the nation’s renewable fuel standard.

“Sundrop Fuels’ partnership with ThyssenKrupp Uhde accelerates our ability to contribute to the nation’s renewable fuels goals while moving toward mass-scale green gasoline factories that will improve the environment, create jobs and further our nation’s energy independence,” said Sundrop Fuels Chief Executive Officer Wayne Simmons. “This effort represents the best possible use of today’s technology and natural resources to meet tomorrow’s growing need for affordable, cleanly produced transportation fuel.”

ThyssenKrupp Uhde is a world leader in coal and biomass gasification. Its proprietary HTW fluidized-bed and PRENFLO entrained-flow gasification technologies convert almost any feedstock including biomass into a wide variety of products including fuels and industrial chemicals.

Significant backing for Sundrop Fuels comes from Chesapeake Energy Corp., the largest producer of natural gas in northern Louisiana’s Haynesville Shale Field and second-largest producer in the nation. Chesapeake invested $155 million in Sundrop Fuels in mid-2011.

The company’s investors also include two of the world’s premier venture capital firms, Oak Investment Partners and Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers.