Ensyn is not a new company – in fact, it has been around for more than two decades with extensive operations in producing flavors & ingredients, upgrading heavy oils from fossil fuel drilling operations, and renewable fuel oil for power generation. Overall, the company has produced more than 125 million litres of renewable fuels and chemicals from wood residues.
Starting in the mid-2000s the company began its move into renewable transport fuels – with a signature establishment in 2007 of a 75 ton per day plant in Renfrew, Ontario in 2007, and establishment in 2008 of the Envergent joint venture with Honeywell’s UOP, aimed at stand-alone upgrading of the Ensyn liquid product to drop-in transportation fuels.
UOP was selected by the US Department of Energy to demonstrate this technology, and has been awarded a grant of US$25 million for a demonstration project in Hawaii. This facility, which will upgrade RTP fuels into drop-in gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, is currently under construction and is expected to be commissioned shortly.
Though a complex technology, this class of technologies is based in a simple concept. Rapidly heat up biomass under the right conditions, you gasify the materials into a stream of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen that, when rapidly cooled, densifies into a trio of carbon-based soup, a solid bio-char, and a remainder of flammable, renewable gas.
The key to making a commercial technology is an affordable supply of biomass, a technology for efficiently heating and cooling the material, as well as optimizing the mix of carbon-rich liquid, char and gas.
The general process has been aptly described as a time machine, since it accomplishes in around two seconds what Nature would accomplish with the same biomass in a couple of million years using geologic heat and pressures.
50 Hottest Companies in Bioenergy: 2012/13, #44
Biofuels Digest Awards:
Biofuels Digest’s 2012 Best Technology Extension Award: Envergent—Kapolei, HI
Drop in fuels and chemicals production
Owner-operator and systems licensor. Partner with UOP in the Envergent JV.
In April 2012, Ensyn and Honeywell announced two breakthrough claims at the Advanced Biofuels Leadership Conference. First, that their pyrolysis process is capable of producing RTP fuel at scale, a crude oil competitor for a price of $45 per barrel (of oil equivalent). RTP fuel can be upgraded at the refinery – using modified but standard refinery equipment.
In June 2010, Ensyn Technologies and Tolko Industries announced a partnership to build the world’s largest commercial fast pyrolysis plant in High Level, Alberta. The partnership, High North BioResources Limited Partnership, has been formed to build and operate a plant capable of processing 400 bone dry tonnes of biomass per day into 85,000,000 litres (22.5 Mgy) of pyrolysis oil annually. This pyrolysis oil will be used to produce renewable energy in the form of electricity and heat that will be used in Tolko’s sawmill at High Level. The facility will also be capable of producing a renewable resin ingredient that can be used in the manufacture of wood panel products. Ensyn formed Envergent Technologies a joint venture in 2008 with UOP a Honeywell company to deploy Ensyn’s RTP technology globally as well as to develop a complementary technology to convert pyrolysis oil into transportation fuels.
In October 2012, Ensyn Corporation and Fibria Celulose announced the creation of a strategic alliance between the two companies. This alliance includes the establishment of an equally-owned joint venture for the production of cellulosic liquid fuels and chemicals in Brazil, as well as a US$ 20 million equity investment in Ensyn Corporation by Fibria.
Ensyn’s key renewable liquid fuel, Renewable Fuel Oil, is a multi-purpose petroleum replacement fuel with uses including heating, conversion to transportation fuels and power generation in diesel engines, and is made via the company’s Rapid Thermal Processing technology, which converts wood and other non-food biomass into renewable liquid fuels and chemicals.
The $20 million equity investment by FIBRIA in Ensyn capital provides FIBRIA with ownership of approximately 6% of Ensyn voting shares and the right to nominate one member to Ensyn’s Board of Directors. It also provides FIBRIA certain rights which, if exercised, would allow FIBRIA to invest an additional $10 million and increase its holdings to as much as 9% of Ensyn’s equity capital.
In March 2014, Ensyn Fuels signed a contract with Memorial Hospital of North Conway for the supply of RFO™, Ensyn’s advanced cellulosic biofuel. Ensyn’s RFO, produced from forest residues, will be used by Memorial as a heating fuel, replacing petroleum-based fuels. This initiative will lower Memorial’s environmental footprint and will provide Memorial with net cost savings. Under the contract signed with Memorial, Ensyn Fuels will provide Memorial with approximately 300,000 gallons/year of RFO for a renewable term of five years, commencing deliveries as early as April, 2014.
Adoption of Ensyn’s RFO will allow Memorial to convert its entire heating requirements from petroleum fuels to Ensyn’s renewable fuel. This will reduce Memorial’s greenhouse gases from heating fuels by approximately 85% and total air emissions by approximately 75%. In addition, adoption of Ensyn’s RFO will provide Memorial with substantial cost savings.
Other projects in development
Expansion to Italy – wood and sawmill residues
The Coll’Energia Project is being developed by Industria e Innovazione, an Italian power developer with a particular focus on renewable energy. The project is located near Siena in Tuscany. The project will process approximately 150 tons per days of a mix of pine forest residues and clean by-product from local wood industries into RTP Renewable Fuel Oil (RFO). The RFO will be used as a fuel for a stationary diesel engine to generate electricity. Industria e Innovazione has signed a contract with Envergent Technologies for preliminary engineering and design.
Expansion to Malaysia – palm waste
Ensyn has established a joint venture with Premium Renewable Energy (Malaysia), a Malaysian renewable energy development company, regarding renewable energy projects in Malaysia and Indonesia, and has a strategic relationship with Felda Palm Industries, the world’s leading producer of palm oil.
The joint venture involves the conversion of palm and bagasse residues to RTP Renewable Fuel Oil (RFO). The RFO will then be used for power generation, heating and for upgrading to transport fuels. The first project is to be located in Felda Sahabat, Sabah.
The goal? Nine fast pyrolysis plants by 2015, using Ensyn and UOP technology, that will convert palm waste into 316 Mgy of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel. Ensyn and UOP’s joint venture, Envergent, will provide technical assistance to the project.