U.S. Sustainable Energy Corp. (USSEC) (OTC:USSE.PK) announced that they have completed the assembly of their new reactor system located at the USSEC Bioenergy plant and fuel production facility in Natchez, Mississippi. The new reactor includes a number of component upgrades, and process improvements made since introducing the prototype last year. The patent pending process is claimed to be a major advancement for green energy that creates a quality 7-3-7 organic-based fertilizer, while also producing unique biofuel and biogas byproducts at very low cost.
The Rivera Process, named after the inventor, John H. Rivera, CEO of USSEC, is a modified pyrolytic process with hydrolysis. The new reactor is capable of producing 6000 gallons of biofuel daily, producing five gallons of fuel from each bushel of soybean stock -- a conversion ratio three times higher than the ratio for traditional biodiesel. The biofuel has a thermal value similar to petroleum diesel, displays no corrosive behavior, and is resistant to temperatures as low as -70 degrees Fahrenheit. The technology is also claimed to be also to run on cow manure and wood chips. Further announcements of additional site locations for operation in 2008 are expected by March.
The reactor is the first of more than 200 planned reactor tubes scheduled for installation over the next 12 months at the Natchez facility, which will have a capacity of 1.5 mgd when completed.
In the Rivera Process natural feed stocks and a proprietary catalyst are heated in a reactor to a relatively high temperature. This heating is typically performed below atmospheric pressure for a time sufficient to vaporize all oils and water from the feedstock and to allow the resultant chemical/mass transfer reactions to occur. The remaining solid is a substantially dry ash, wherein the vapor is extracted to form two biofuels via condensation while recovering lighter gases that are non-condensable at atmospheric pressure. The process is a “volume gain” process similar to catalytic cracking.
USSEC claims that it is able produce biofuel at a cost of less than $1 per gallon, compared with about $2.50 for most biodiesels on the market (prices assume soybeans cost $6 per bushel). And the USSEC cost includes production of biogas and carbon ash.
The heating value of the USSEC biofuel is 128,000 BTU/gal, while the heating value of biodiesel is typically about 117,000 BTU/gal and petroleum diesel is about 130,000 BTU/gal. For comparison, the heating value of typical regular unleaded gasoline is 114,200 BTU/gal, premium gasoline is 116,200 BTU/gal and jet fuel is 122,200 BTU/gal.
The pour point, an indication of the lowest temperature at which the fuel can be pumped, is typically less than or equal to -90°F. For comparison, the pour point for petroleum based diesel is around -16°F; the typical pour point for soy bean based biodiesel is 30°F.
Like pour point, the cloud point is lower than that of a typical biodiesel. At low temperatures, paraffin constituents in a fuel oil may precipitate as a wax forming a cloud. As a practical matter, cloud point is important since the wax formation can clog many fuel filters and render the engine useless. The cloud point is determined as the temperature at which a cloud of wax crystals first appears in the oil when it is cooled. The biofuel has a cloud point less than or equal to -70°F. For comparison, cloud point for petroleum based diesel is about 15°F (without winter fuel conditioners), the typical cloud point for animal fat based biodiesel is 68°F while the cloud point for soy bean based biodiesel is around 35°F.
Thus in addition to being a valuable fuel in its own right, the biofuel can be used as a supplement or blended with other biofuels and diesels to improve their cold weather performance.
The biofuel has a flash point between that of regular gasoline and petroleum diesel, ranging from 90°F to 95°F.
The biofuel also has a viscosity (cSt at 50°C) ranging from 0.8 to 1.1. This range is lower than that of traditional bio-diesels, which range from 1.9 to 6.0 cSt. The higher viscosity of traditional biodiesel has been known to result in gum formation on injectors, cylinder liners, etc. For this reason, it has been required to blend biodiesel with petro-diesels in blends of up to 20% of petro-diesel. The lower viscosity associated with the U.S. Sustainable Energy biofuel is a significant difference and advantage over biodiesels that suffer from gum-formation problems.
Because of the combination of the above properties USSEC biofuel can be used at 100 percent in diesel engines and with a 50/50 blend for gasoline engines without retrofits or modifications. Initially USSEC is using the biofuel for power generation, however it shows great promise for use in cars and trucks. They have run a variety of engines and vehicles, 2 cycle and 4 cycle, diesel and gasoline on the biofuel, for short term testing, which demonstrated the capability of using the biofuel in vehicles. They are considering a variety of transportation markets and will pursue them when it makes sense to do so.
The gas product has a heating value of 1,811 BTU's per cubic foot, while the heating value of natural gas is approximately 1,000 BTU's per cubic foot.
The "Rivera Process" was featured on Channel 13, WHO TV, in Iowa, in a special news cast that presented how low cost energy production is being applied to the creation of ethanol. The video piece, located at www.ussec.us/vde1.html highlighted the impact and importance of USSEC's technology, along with an overview of how it will be applied to partnering company Diversified Ethanol.
USSEC and Turnkey Electric, the joint venture partner of Pratt & Whitney Power Systems, have a strategic alliance leading to a joint venture to build the world's largest 1,000 Megawatt green power utility in Vidalia, Louisiana, the first United States 100% green power public utility.
John Rivera, CEO of U.S. Sustainable Energy Corp. "USSEC," stated, "With the opening of USSEC's new 500,000 square-foot biofuel facility in Natchez, MS., we will be supplying 100% of the power and electricity consumed by the city of Vidalia, Louisiana through the Vidalia Power and Light Public Utility. Since the electricity will be produced from 100% bio-waste product derived from the production of USSEC's organic 737 fertilizer created from soybeans, the power generated is renewable, recycled and green."
USSEC and Diversified Ethanol, a division of Originally New York, Inc. (OTC BB:ONYI.OB), have a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) designed and intended to capture and dominate the multi billion dollar ethanol marketplace.
Diversified has built a 70,000 GPY pilot plant, in Eagle Grove, Iowa at the company headquarters, that is fitted to run on the biofuel from the Rivera reactor. Once the ethanol plant is running, a Rivera reactor will be installed so that it will be able to run on biomass. Their ethanol process uses inexpensive by utilizing a "cold microwave" to break down corn , which can result in ethanol plants using up to 30% less corn to get the same amount of sugars. The process "creates no waste water, and no waste solids, and their is no venting of bad waste gasses." As of Jan. 14, 2006 Diversified had powered up its pilot plant, one piece at a time, successfully completing sectional testing.
At he signing of the MOU Rivera stated, "Our immediate goal, is to construct a million gallon per day ethanol plant to be supported by the excess energy generated by USSEC and our subsidiary Sustainable Power Corp (SPC). Using Diversified Ethanol's technology we will obtain up to 30% more sugars from the corn we will process, according to independent university research. In addition, according to industry experts we will also save between 30-35% on our energy costs in producing ethanol, making our product the most cost competitive ethanol anywhere in the world."
Diversified intends to begin utilizing the low-cost fuel to power its own ethanol plants with nearly free steam. By combining Diversified Ethanol and USSEC's technology, the company believes it can produce 200 proof ASTM certified ethanol 60% cheaper than any other technology in the world.
In a separate announcement a Memorandum Of Understanding was signed detailing the creation in Western Massachusetts of what could be the largest green electrical energy consortium in the Northeast.
The MOU calls for the formation of a green consortium to be owned jointly by USSEC, Vegetable Energy Group, LLC d/b/a Vee-Go Energy; and E2M.org (www.e2m.org). This consortium will work with USSEC subsidiary Sustainable Power Corporation to provide wholesale green electrical energy and generation plants to public and municipal electricity buyers throughout the state. The green electricity will be generated by SPC using their biofuel.
USSEC and SPC have offered to provide the fuels and equipment that could enable the Mt. Tom Power Station to significantly reduce their current CO2 and other emissions and provide 150 megawatts of new green generation capacity. The consortium has also offered to install smaller turbine generators in municipal utilities located in Western Mass. and throughout the state. They have offered to provide buyers with green electricity at a guaranteed 10% discount below the lowest fossil fuel electricity prices for a term of ten to twenty years.
This "biofuel" and the process for making it seems to be one of those things that is to good to be true. Companies with a lot of press releases, low stock prices and a lot of MOUs and "strategic alliances" always make me wary of what is going on. However USSEC seems to be backing it up with a considerable investment in the facility and a logical development plan - it seems to me to be a big risk to have such a large facility with only one reactor ready to test, although they have tested a previous version. If they can produce a fuel with those properties, for the cost that they claim, they certainly will revolutionize the biofuel industry. Biodiesel never made that much sense to me for temperate climates with its problems with cold weather, but this fuel seems to have those problems fixed. And it even can use wood chips a feedstock! I will certainly be waiting and watching to see how this one turns out. Best of luck to them, we certainly could benefit from having a process like theirs.