SK Inc., the strategic investment arm of the South Korean group SK, announced on December 16 that it had invested US $ 50 million in Fulcrum BioEnergy Inc., a US waste recovery company, together with a private equity fund. Korean investment. .
Fulcrum is the first company in the United States to produce biofuel on a commercial scale by chemically converting municipal solid waste (MSW) into transportation fuels. SK Inc. plans to enhance its environmental, social and governance (ESG) portfolio with its investment in Fulcrum.
Building on Fulcrum’s proprietary process, SK Inc. aims to enter the Korean bioenergy market with SK Ecoplant, another SK Group company, as a potential partner.
Founded in Pleasanton, Calif., In 2007, Fulcrum has developed a proprietary process to convert organics in MSDs into low carbon fuels, which can be distributed through the same pipelines as traditional petroleum products. Fulcrum biofuel has been approved and certified as an alternative fuel for the aviation industry. Fulcrum completed construction of the first commercial-scale MSW-based biofuel refinery in Nevada in July 2021.
Starting in 2022, the Fulcrum Nevada plant is expected to begin producing around 11 million gallons of synthetic crude per year, which will then be turned into transportation fuels such as sustainable aviation fuel. Fulcrum expects production to increase as the company has ensured a constant supply of MSW raw materials through long-term agreements with major waste management service companies in the United States and has taken off-take agreements with many large energy companies and airlines.
Fulcrum’s business model helps address environmental challenges by reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and landfill waste. Fulcrum’s technology diverts large volumes of DSM from local landfills, helping to reduce the methane generated by decomposing waste.
The main shareholders of Fulcrum are US Renewables Group and Rustic Canyon Partners, the two founding investment firms of the company, BP, United Airlines and Waste Management.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates global biofuel production to be 38 billion gallons in 2020, with the United States accounting for 45 percent of global biofuel production. Even with the proliferation of electric vehicles (EVs), biofuels are expected to continue to grow strongly, driven by strong demand for international conventional combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs) and jet fuel.
“Fulcrum’s new biofuel production process can make a significant contribution to solving environmental challenges by dramatically reducing GHG emissions and addressing landfill capacity shortages,” said Kim Moo-hwan, vice -executive chairman of SK Inc.