Sustainability Energy

How to turn household trash into jet fuel

Want to see a cool magic trick? A company called Fulcrum BioEnergy will turn your garbage and waste into transportation fuel. The fuel, made from landfill garbage, has been approved for use in commercial vehicles as well as military aviation use. The carbon content of the Fulcrum fuel has a footprint that is less than 20 percent of fossil fuels.

The trash under your kitchen sink is filled with carbon and hydrogen, which are key ingredients in fuel. Fulcrum BioEnergy uses a proprietary thermochemical process that turns municipal solid waste into jet fuel or diesel. The process uses both gasification technology and a Fischer-Tropsch fuel process to convert the solid waste. The waste is first turned into a gas and then is introduced to a catalyst that converts it to a product that can be rendered into a fuel.

Along with fewer carbon emissions, Fulcrum has found a way to produce the fuel at a lower cost than its fossil fuel competitors. This has earned the attention of major investors like United Airlines, BP, Waste Management and the U.S. military, who have collectively invested more than $150 million into the company.

Their first facility, near Reno, Nevada, will be among the first commercial-scale waste-to-fuel production plants in the United States. They have several other plant locations under contract, and, at scale, hope to be producing more than 300 million gallons of fuel each year, curbing the country’s dependence on petroleum.

Some video imagery courtesy of Fulcrum BioEnergy