Case Study – Demonstration Plant: Rentech

July 19, 2007

Case Study - Demonstration Plant: Rentech

Rentech, Inc. possesses a patented and proprietary technology “the Rentech Process” that converts synthesis gas into hydrocarbon liquids that can be processed and upgraded into ultra clear synthetic jet and diesel fuels. When Rentech, Inc. needed vital sections of their demonstration plant in Colorado, they chose Zeton to design and build their Fischer-Tropsch reaction and hydroprocessing product upgrading sections.

Project: Product Demonstration Unit (PDU) for Rentech, Inc. (Colorado, USA)

The Design and Build Process: Demonstration Plant

Basic engineering on the product upgrading section began in late 2005, led by Zeton project manager Leisl Dukhedin-Lalla. Subsequent to approval to proceed into the phases of detailed design, procurement and fabrication the first of the 14 plant modules were completed by Zeton in 2006. The two largest process modules shipped and delivered by Zeton measured 12’ wide by 12’ deep by 65’ and 55’ tall respectively, for a combined height of 120’ upon reassembly on Rentech, Inc.’s plant site.

The Product Demonstration Unit was designed to produce approximately 420 gallons per day (10bbl/d) of synthetic jet and diesel fuels, production of which was later achieved and announced by Rentech, Inc. This project incorporates the successful design, construction and operation of a fully integrated synthetic fuels facility utilizing the Rentech Process and includes:

  • Conversion of synthesis gas in the Rentech reactor into clean hydrocarbons;
  • Processing and upgrading of the hydrocarbons into ultra-clean synthetic fuels using UOP hydrocracking and hydrotreating technologies;
  • A complete coal-to-clean liquid fuels process with a coal gasifier (built elsewhere) as the source of the synthesis gas feeds to the Product Demonstration Unit.

Major milestones were achieved following the efforts of Rentech, Inc. and the Zeton project teams: In 2010 a commercial flight flew on a blend of RenJet fuel from the facility and conventional Jet-A, and as of mid-2011 the Rentech, Inc. facility has produced more than 40,000 gallons of bio-based jet fuels.

“Rentech could not have accomplished its goal of being the only operating synthetic fuels facility in the US without [Zeton’s] efforts.”
– Julie Dawoodjee, Director of Investor Relations, Rentech, Inc.

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