An unlikely green energy story: Garbage to Jet Fuel


TAHOE RENO INDUSTRIAL CENTER, Nev. (KOLO) -Taking out the garbage. It’s something we do every week.

Even the most environmentally committed households has garbage the recyclers don’t want. It goes into the green bins, left on the curb for pick up, destined for the landfill.

The last end result any of us would expect from this common act would be fuel in the tanks of an airliner, perhaps whisking us off on our next getaway. But in fact, that’s the aim of an impressive looking plant off USA parkway in the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center east of town.

Fifty trucks a day carrying common household garbage will arrive here. And, through a complicated tangle of pipe and tanks using an appropriately complicated sounding process called “high-temperature, low-oxygen gasification” is produced a substance which, like crude oil, can be refined into aircraft jet fuel.

Actually not your standard jet fuel, but something better,

“This is clean burning fuel,” notes Senator Catherine Cortez Masto. “There is no or low carbon coming from this clean burning fuel. That’s what it’s about. How do we lower that carbon footprint? And this is one of the companies that shows how it can be done.”)

The senator toured the plant today with officials of Fulcrum BioEnergy who credit her with helping clear the way in federal bureaucracy for their fuel and the process that produces it.

“We needed that rule making so that we could have this biofuel company here that is actually taking landfill and turning it into fuel, which makes sense,” says the senator. “But we had to get the EPA on board and change the rules so this could happen,”

The result is this plant which will employ 120, more when the refinery is built next door.

Green energy from the unlikeliest of sources and produced at what is reportedly the first plant of its kind on the planet.

“It helps our economy. It’s good for the environment and it’s good to have this cutting edge technology right here in northern Nevada. “

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