When Hart discusses Sierra´s FastOx gasifier technology, the first advantage he mentions is how relatively easy it is to implement. FastOx is based on traditional blast furnace technology. Not only are there plenty of well-trained personnel and resources already available, existing blast furnaces can be retrofitted.
“We replace where the blast of air comes into the furnace with proprietary nozzles that co-inject steam and oxygen,” said Hart. “We can turn an ordinary blast furnace into something that can take all of [Los Angeles´] waste in a single vessel.”
In a FastOx gasifier, waste goes into the top of the units, while oxygen and steam are injected at the bottom. The system recovers 100% of the waste. Synthesis gas rises to the top, while inorganic compounds collect at the bottom and exit the unit as inert stone and recyclables.
Perhaps the logistical feature Hart likes most is the full scalability of the technology. The initial commercial FastOx gasifiers have a 5-ton-per-day (TPD) capacity. But the company has already acquired land and building permits in Sacramento, Calif., to construct a [scaled-up] unit that will serve as a showpiece.
“We´ll bring in biomass, construction debris, medical waste and other material and turn it into syngas,” said Hart. “Then we´ll demo on-site all the things you can make with it.”
The 18-acre site, which Hart said is in view of the California state capitol building, has rail and barge access to accommodate massive amounts of feedstock. Hart said once the facility is built, companies with back-end processes are invited to be added to the site.
“The object is to be a universal gasifier,” he said. “People interested in the technology can come in and see any feedstock turned into any end product all on one site. It will be a one-stop shop.”
Hart said the company plans to break ground by the end of the year. In the meantime, he is continuing to gather support for FastOx. In November, Sierra added Bill Davis to its board of directors. Davis is a managing partner at Empirical Asset Management who also founded Ze-gen, a waste gasification and renewable energy company.
“The waste gasification industry has struggled to find a cost-effective and comprehensive gasifier,” said Davis. “Sierra Energy has the potential to fill that technology gap and provide a truly universal gasifier. I am looking forward to being a part of its progress.”
[...] The future, said Hart, looks promising. Business and civic leaders who have seen the technology have offered encouraging feedback.
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