September 21, 2010

TMO signs 20 year, multi-site bio-ethanol contract with Fiberight

TMO Renewables Ltd, a leading developer of a new process for converting biomass into fuel ethanol, is pleased to announce that it has entered into an exclusive contract with Fiberight LLC (“Fiberight”), a leading edge clean technology company, to design and build waste to bioethanol plants in the US. The contract, which lasts for 20 years, is potentially worth in excess of $25 million per annum. The plants will combine the TMO Process, which optimises waste feedstock conversion using a specialty bio-organism, and Fiberight’s fractionation and digestion technology, to improve the conversion of municipal solid waste (MSW) and associated cellulosic waste into ethanol.

Under the terms of the agreement, it is anticipated that 15 plants will be designed and constructed across the US within the next five years. For each plant, TMO will receive an initial, one-off design fee plus recurring annual revenue. The site and funding for the first plant has already been secured and construction is expected to begin in 2011. The next five sites have also been identified and Fiberight has agreed to commission a number of plants throughout the US each year.

Fiberight uses a highly cost effective process involving digestion and fractionation to sort non-recyclable MSW, 102 million tonnes of which is generated each year in the US, into a ‘clean fibre’ stream. This material feeds directly into TMO’s process which uses a unique bacterium to efficiently convert the biomass into ethanol. Fiberight’s process recovers potentially over 80% of residential waste into valuable biofuels and recyclables with no external energy or water inputs. Most importantly the collaboration between TMO and Fiberight now enables a process to convert MSW to valuable biofuel with the minimum of air and water emissions.

TMO has already achieved project yields in excess of 90 US gallons per ton (dry weight) at pilot scale by processing MSW feedstock from Fiberight at its own demonstration facility in the UK. The metrics support the scalability and economics to achieve attractive conversion of waste biomass into cellulosic ethanol.

In addition to the revenue from 5 million gallons of ethanol produced from the first plant, Fiberight also receives tipping fees for the municipal and commercial waste that it treats. Of that, approximately 50% is used to produce the ethanol, with the remainder sold as recoverables, such as plastics and metals.

Hamish Curran, CEO of TMO commented: “This contract is a landmark in the development of TMO’s technology on a commercial scale to produce an economically sustainable source of renewable biofuel. In adopting the TMO Process Fiberight has proven the ability to use waste stream feedstock, net of all recyclables, for the effective conversion to cellulosic ethanol via a novel, low cost and fully integrated bio-process. Replication of similar waste to ethanol bio-refineries, across all regions of the US and globally, can drive significant green job creation and community economic development. We look forward to working with Fiberight’s pioneering team to drive forward our joint plant development programme.”

Craig Stuart-Paul, CEO of Fiberight, commented: “Fiberight has advanced its technology and development processes both with its operations in Blairstown, Iowa and by leveraging the scientific resources available at TMO’s industrial scale process demonstration unit in the United Kingdom. Integrating TMO’s Process with our own will give Fiberight the edge compared with other ethanol producing technologies, allowing us to be more efficient with waste than our competitors. Together, the companies are on track to become one of the largest producers of cellulosic ethanol in the US during 2011, helping to divert millions of tons of waste away from landfill every year.“

Source : Press Release

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