Fulcrum Sierra Biorefinery Groundbreaking

On May 16, 2018, I was privileged to personally witness the Fulcrum Sierra Biorefinery Groundbreaking in Storey County, NV. For over six years, the tri-agency team from the Departments of Navy, Energy, and Agriculture has been working through the detailed steps of the Defense Production Act process to get to this stage. It has been a long road for my counterparts and myself, but it was well worth the effort. I could not have been prouder to see those shovels in the ground!

More than 200 guests and stakeholders from up and down the supply chain witnessed the groundbreaking event of this first-in-the-U.S. commercial scale biorefinery utilizing municipal solid waste as a feedstock. The State of Nevada Governor, Brian Sandoval, was the keynote speaker and enthusiastically welcomed this milestone project to the state.

The Sierra Project is in the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center east of Reno and will utilize Fulcrum's proprietary thermochemical process to convert waste into low-carbon transportation fuels. Fulcrum's process can extend the life of landfills and reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions compared to the use of traditional petroleum transportation fuel and traditional landfilling practices.

When the plant begins commercial operations in the first quarter of 2020, Sierra will convert approximately 175,000 tons of household garbage into more than 10.5 million gallons of fuel each year (their commercial-reference-size facility).

Fulcrum is developing future projects that follow a similar approach as Sierra with fixed feedstock costs, fuel offtake prices hedged against oil, plant performance guarantees and a low anticipated cost of production, with subsequent facilities sized at integer multiples of the reference size facility, to match local feedstock availability. As construction proceeds on Sierra, engineering, siting and permitting activities are underway for the company's next several projects. Fulcrum is looking at the Chicago area for its second commercial facility, and at the west coast for its third. Collectively, the Sierra facility and the next several plants are expected to deliver on Fulcrum’s current offtake agreements of more than 300 million gallons of jet fuel annually. For more information on the Fulcrum groundbreaking event, see Fulcrum’s website.

- Chris Tindal, Assistant Director of CAAFI

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