Ontario Government selects Rentech fuel project
May 9, 2011, Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. - Rentech today announced that its proposed Olympiad Renewable Energy Centre (Olympiad Project) in The Township of White River (White River), Ontario, has been selected by the Province of Ontario for a proposed supply of up to 1.1 million cubic metres (1.3 million U.S. tons) per year of Crown timber.
May 9, 2011 By Carey Fredericks
The wood supply, composed primarily of forest waste and unmerchantable species, would be used for the sustainable production of renewable RenJet®, Rentech’s clean certified low-carbon jet fuel.
The announcement was made at a joint press conference in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario attended by Michael Gravelle, Ontario Minister of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry; MPP Mike Brown; MPP David Orazietti; D. Hunt Ramsbottom, President and CEO of Rentech; Chief Roy Michano of Pic River First Nation; Chief Johanna Desmoulin of Pic Mobert First Nation; and White River Mayor Angelo Bazzoni.
The proposed wood allocation to Rentech’s project is the largest ever awarded in the Provincial Wood Supply Competitive Process administered by the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry. The award would provide Rentech with a reliable long-term supply of biomass for its proposed Olympiad Project. The Ministry selected Rentech’s proposal as the best proposed use of the available timber. The selection is the first step in the process of making the wood supply available to the project.
Rentech’s Olympiad Project is being designed to produce approximately 85 million litres (23 million gallons) annually of renewable and certified low-carbon RenJet fuel. The project will also produce 43 million litres (13 million gallons) annually of renewable naphtha, a chemical feedstock.
The Olympiad Project, scheduled to be in service in 2015, will be designed as a state-of-the-art renewable energy facility that will employ the Company’s Rentech-ClearFuels biomass gasification system and the Rentech Process to produce the only type of alternative jet fuel certified for use in commercial aviation today. These leading-edge technologies will enable Rentech to turn primarily unmerchantable and underutilized timber into clean, renewable jet fuel.
Rentech is working closely with Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC), whose C$500 million NextGen Biofuels Fund (NGBF) offers a significant potential funding source for the Olympiad Project. After a year of discussions with SDTC, Rentech has recently submitted an application for funding to the NGBF, which funds up to 40 per cent to a maximum of C$200 million of eligible project development and construction costs, which would be repaid from a percentage of the project’s cash flows.
“We are eager to deploy Rentech’s proven proprietary technologies to create certified, renewable, low-carbon jet fuel, while helping transform the forestry sector and creating new jobs,” said D. Hunt Ramsbottom, President and CEO, of Rentech. “Ontario is a leader in environmental sustainability and we are pleased to be working closely with the Governments of Ontario and Canada, First Nations and The Township of White River on this important initiative. This selection in the Province of Ontario’s competitive process underscores Rentech’s leadership role in a low carbon future and builds on the company’s success in developing clean fuel technologies that are ready for commercial-scale production today.”
Michael Gravelle, Ontario Minister of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry, said, “Today's global business model drives companies to locate their businesses where they find the best combination of talent, cost efficiencies and capacity for efficient manufacturing infrastructure. That's why Ontario has become the location of choice for many companies that are expanding globally. The Ontario government works continually to increase the province's competitive advantages in attracting investment. We are delighted to welcome Rentech’s expansion to Northern Ontario and commend the spirit of partnership and inclusiveness through which they have already built foundations for strong relationships with northerners and First Nations peoples.”
Mr. Ramsbottom added, “Having our project selected in the Provincial Wood Supply Competitive Process for a proposed large, sustainable feedstock supply from the Ontario government is a significant achievement and step forward for our renewable energy project. We will be working closely with SDTC, First Nations, and other partners to secure project financing. SDTC’s funding opportunity played a key role in Rentech’s decision to pursue a large-scale renewable energy facility in Northern Ontario. We’re encouraged by the Government of Canada’s commitment to commercializing renewable energy projects.”
“Rentech’s renewable fuels project proposal is an example of how the SDTC NextGen Biofuels Fund can provide real support to the commercialization of new and advanced biofuel technologies,” said Vicky Sharpe, President and CEO of Sustainable Development Technology Canada. “We look forward to working closely with Rentech as its application advances to the next stage of consideration.”
Working with the Province of Ontario and White River, Rentech has forged a significant partnership with the Pic River First Nation for up to an 18 per cent equity interest in the project. The Pic River partnership is expected to create significant opportunities for the Aboriginal community through job creation and advanced skills training. Other Aboriginal communities, such as the Pic Mobert First Nation, will benefit from regional opportunities as well.
Mike Brown, MPP for Algoma-Manitoulin, said, “I’m delighted that Rentech has chosen this hard-working and progressive community as the location for the first project of this kind anywhere in the world. I look forward to further opportunities for the forest sector that may arise from having such a leading-edge facility in our region.”
Chief Roy Michano of Pic River First Nation commented, “Communities such as Pic River and White River that have withstood the industry shift from traditional pulp, paper and sawmills to new uses for Ontario’s forests now have a renewed sense of hope. We are pleased with our partnership with Rentech, a very forward thinking company that has embraced First Nations as an integral part of such an ambitious project. Finally, to the Minister of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry, we are truly thankful for Ontario’s continued support of our energy and forestry programs in Pic River. Much of our success has been built on this continued support.”
The project would bring much needed employment to a region that has suffered significant job losses in recent years and revitalize a struggling forestry sector, while contributing to Ontario’s growing high-tech bio-energy economy. The project would leverage local sustainable forestry expertise, employ an estimated 83 full-time employees and create over 300 indirect and induced positions. During peak construction, Rentech expects the project to employ up to 1,000 workers.
Mayor Angelo Bazzoni of White River commented, “I am very pleased to bring Rentech's new technology to the Superior East Region of Northern Ontario. More specifically, I am excited to welcome Rentech to White River, Ontario, and Canada. This project will put the region’s wood fibre to work. This will create much needed employment and be an excellent opportunity for our Community and First Nation neighbours and Rentech. Our commitment is to continue to work with our provincial and federal governments and Rentech to introduce this technology to White River and the province to produce renewable jet fuel.”
Renewable RenJet and naphtha to be produced at the Olympiad Project are estimated to reduce approximately 600,000 metric tonnes per year of CO2-equivalent from the atmosphere compared to the same products produced from petroleum. This equates to removing more than 100,000 passenger cars from the road. Production of RenJet from forest waste and unmerchantable species at the Olympiad Project has the dual benefit of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and providing Canada with a domestic supply of certified low-carbon jet fuel.
RenJet is virtually free of sulfur and aromatics. When compared to traditional jet fuel, tailpipe emissions from RenJet generate lower amounts of particulate matter, nitrogen oxides (NOX), and sulfur oxides (SOX). Life-cycle emissions of carbon dioxide are significantly below those of petroleum-based jet fuel. The lower density of RenJet fuel could enable aircraft to have a lower take-off weight, which conserves fuel and lowers operating costs.
Rentech operates a demonstration facility in Commerce City, Colorado, deploying its synthetic fuels technology that has produced over 150,000 litres (40,000 gallons) of certified synthetic fuels. In 2010, a commercial flight flew on a blend of Rentech’s synthetic jet fuel and conventional Jet-A with no difference in performance when compared to conventional jet fuel.