Colorado Economic Recovery and Accountability

Phillip Weathers

Phillip Weathers

Phillip Weathers

“We’re decreasing the dependence on foreign oil.”


The Recovery Act is helping the United States reduce its dependence on foreign oil by investing in a process that creates renewable jet fuel. A Los Angeles-based company called Rentech Inc. is working with other companies and research groups to develop a cleaner way to produce synthetic fuel at a production demonstration unit facility in Commerce City. This facility, which houses more than 60 scientists and administrative workers and technicians, can turn natural gas, petroleum coke and other materials into synthetic diesel or jet fuel. The plant is designed to produce over 400 gallons per day of ultra-clean synthetic jet fuel, aviation fuel, ultra-low sulfur diesel, and specialty waxes and chemicals that can be scaled for commercial scale production. Their refinery process creates a much smaller carbon footprint than fuel made from petroleum.

Now, Rentech and partner company Clearfuels Technology Inc. are taking the refinery process to another level. Using a $23 million Recovery Act grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, the companies will add a new section to the factory that will allow them to convert wood chips and bagasse (sugarcane by-product) into fuel.

The companies will construct a 20-ton-per-day biomass gassifier to be installed in Commerce City. Once installed and operating, the companies will refine the process and then move toward creating a commercial scale factory. The process is expected to be completed in late 2011. The Recovery Act grant pays for the construction and installation of the gassifier and six months of operation.

Philip W. Weathers, plant manager at the Commerce City facility, expects the grant to create between four and eight new jobs. The benefit of this grant is clearly long-term.

“If we want to lower the carbon footprint of petroleum-based fuels, this is the way to do it,” Weathers said.
With the help of the Recovery Act, Rentech and its partners are “lowering the carbon footprint and you’re lowering the cost and we’re decreasing the dependence on foreign oil.”

About Rentech, Inc.
Rentech, Inc. (, incorporated in 1981, provides clean energy solutions. The Company's Rentech-SilvaGas biomass gasification process can convert multiple biomass feedstocks into synthesis gas (syngas) for production of renewable fuels and power. Combining the gasification process with Rentech's unique application of syngas conditioning and clean-up technology and the patented Rentech Process based on Fischer-Tropsch chemistry, Rentech offers an integrated solution for production of synthetic fuels from biomass. The Rentech Process can also convert syngas from fossil resources into ultra-clean synthetic jet and diesel fuels, specialty waxes and chemicals. Final product upgrading is provided under an alliance with UOP, a Honeywell company. Rentech develops projects and licenses these technologies for application in synthetic fuels and power facilities worldwide. Rentech Energy Midwest Corporation, the Company's wholly-owned subsidiary, manufactures and sells nitrogen fertilizer products including ammonia, urea ammonia nitrate, urea granule, and urea solution in the corn-belt region of the central United States.

About ClearFuels Technology Inc.
ClearFuels ( and its partners are developing advanced sustainable biorefineries that convert multiple mixed cellulosic biomass feedstocks into sustainable, high-value energy products including renewable Fischer-Tropsch (FT) diesel and jet fuel, ethanol, hydrogen and power at industry-leading yields. The ClearFuels proprietary thermochemical conversion process is based on its advanced High Efficiency Hydrothermal Reformation (HEHTR) technology for biomass-to-syngas conversion (BTG). This modular flexible BTG technology platform, in combination with various synthetic gas-to-liquid (GTL) technologies and co-locating its biorefineries at sugar mills, and at wood processing and other biomass processing facilities, provides a reduced risk, lower overall cost commercial strategy in line with ClearFuels vision for production of clean clear biofuels.



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