Rentech to build $500m plant for bio-jet fuel

In Canada, renewable energy producer Rentech is looking to develop a biomass plant in White River, Ontario that will produce jet fuel and create 400 fulltime jobs.

'This will be the largest renewable clean jet fuel programme in the world,' says the CEO of RenTech Hunt Ramsbottom. 'This will be the first of its kind where the province, the federal government, local communities and a private company come together and this will be the first plant of its kind in the world.'

The company has been given the use of a 300km plot north of Sault Ste. Marie by the province's Ministry of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry, where it will produce 85 million litres a year of bio-jet fuel from an annual supply of 1.1 million m3 of Crown timber. It will use a mixture of stumps and treetops, in addition to newly cut timber. The facility will also produce 43 million litres a year of renewable naphtha.

RenTech is scheduled to break ground on the $500 million (€347 million) Olympiad Renewable Energy Centre in 2013, before operations begin in 2015. The construction phase will create jobs for around 1,000 workers, in addition to 83 fulltime jobs when commercial production starts.

White River was selected as the location for the facility due its access to water, power and rail facilities. Rentech is also using the infrastructure from an existing mill in the area.

'We've got airline partners both in North America and globally clamouring for these fuels, so as soon as we're up and operating we don't have any problem getting planes up in the air on this,' says Ramsbottom.

Rentech is now waiting for the approval of its application which it submitted to Sustainable Development Technology Canada, whose $500 million NextGen Biofuels Find can reserve up to $200 million in federal government funding. Rentech has been in contact with the government for 12 months now and is hopeful that its recently submitted application will be approved.

'We look forward to working closely with Rentech as its application advances to the next stage of consideration,' Vicky Sharpe, president and CEO of Sustainable Development Technology Canada, says.

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