Global Energy teams with Covanta, Renewable Diesel

By Bryan Sims
New York-based Global Energy Inc., a waste-to-renewable-energy technology developer, has entered into separate agreements with Renewable Diesel LLC and Covanta Energy Corp. to pursue projects to convert municipal solid waste and other hydrocarbon-rich biomass materials into renewable diesel.

Under the terms of the agreement established in February, Renewable Diesel will jointly develop projects to convert hydrocarbon-based feedstocks (such as paper, wood, plastics and refuse) into renewable diesel utilizing turbine technology patented by Germany-based AlphaKat. AlphaKat's KDV 500 system is a standalone unit that uses a unique catalytic depolymerization process, enabling it to break down the molecular chains present in the hydrocarbon feedstock and cause new molecular chains to be formed to create renewable diesel. Each KDV 500 unit can operate independently and is capable of producing approximately 3,100 gallons of renewable diesel per day, depending on the feedstock input.

Global Energy signed an agreement with AlphaKat in May 2007 to assist in the marketing and development of the KDV technology in the United States and China on an exclusive basis, and most other countries on a nonexclusive basis. Global Energy has an option to be a 51 percent equity participant for all of the projects developed by Renewable Diesel.

Global Energy's agreement with Covanta allows Covanta to develop projects using the KDV technology for certain defined feedstocks. The Fairfield, N.J.-based operator of waste-to-energy projects has purchased its first KDV 500 unit, which will be used to demonstrate the commercial viability of the unit. It is also the first KDV 500 to be installed in the United States. According to Renewable Diesel Chief Executive Officer Bruce Drucker, the KDV 500 unit will be installed at one of its existing waste-to-energy facilities, but the specific location is still being discussed. Covanta owns five wood-fired generation facilities in California and has a 55 percent interest in a sixth wood-fired generation facility, also in California.

Once the technology has been demonstrated with this initial unit, Covanta must purchase a significant number of additional KDV units to retain its exclusive rights under its license agreement. Global Energy, Renewable Diesel and Covanta intend to develop three to four additional projects in the next 18 to 24 months. Each of those projects would be capable of adding additional KDV units to take advantage of the economies of scale for the front-end processing of waste, and the operation and maintenance that will reduce the cost of processed waste per ton, according to Drucker.