Johnson Matthey, BP Technology Chosen for US Biofuels Plant

22.02.2023 - Johnson Matthey and BP have won a contract to license their co-developed Fischer Tropsch CANS technology to Strategic Biofuels for that company’s Louisiana Green Fuels (LGF) project in the US state’s Caldwell Parish.

CANS technology converts synthesis gas generated from sources such as industrial emissions, direct air capture, municipal solid waste or other biomass, into long-chain hydrocarbons suitable for the production of renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuels.

Strategic Biofuels CEO Paul Schubert described the venerable Fischer Tropsch technology as “a critical and enabling component” for the project.

Groundbreaking on the project at the Louisiana Port of Columbia took place last December. The LGF plant is expected to convert 1 million t/y of forestry waste feedstock, producing nearly 32 million gallons per year of biofuels, with output ramping up to more than 165 million gallons per year of renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuels over 10 to 12 years.

Plans are for the facility to start operating by early 2027, with a production split of about 87% renewable diesel and 13% bionaphtha, which Strategic Biofuels said are chemically identical to fossil-derived diesel and naphtha. The renewable diesel can be used as a blend component in conventional diesel or as a 100% paraffinic diesel finished fuel, and the bionaphtha can be blended into the gasoline pool.

Strategic Biofuels is also planning to utilize carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology at the LGF plant to drive down CO2 emissions further.

Fulcrum’s fuels success

Last month, Johnson Matthey and BP announced that their CANS technology has enabled Fulcrum BioEnergy’s Sierra biofuels plant to successfully produce synthetic crude oil for clean transportation fuels. Alberto Giovanzana, Johnson Matthey’s chief commercial officer of catalyst technologies, described the success as a “significant milestone” and “a crucial step in decarbonizing transport”.

Fulcrum BioEnergy said the US facility, located outside of Reno, Nevada, is the world’s first commercial-scale plant to be fed by household rubbish that would otherwise be destined for landfill. The synthetic crude oil will be refined to approximately 11 million gallons per year of renewable transportation fuels from roughly 175,000 t/y of landfill waste.

Johnson Matthey and BP joined forces in 1996 to further develop Fischer Tropsch technology. The project for Fulcrum was the first license for their CANS waste-to-fuels process.  

Last year, Johnson Matthey announced a refreshed strategy, which includes its ambition of becoming the number one player across the synthesis gas value chain, targeting an addressable market of up to £12 billion by 2030.

Author: Elaine Burridge, Freelance Journalist