Photo: Alex McKnight
Economic Backbone - Energy
Group from USF finds cheaper way to turn landfill gas into diesel fuel
Tampa company T2C-Energy is designing a facility it hopes to bring online next year that may revolutionize the production of diesel fuel from landfill gases.
The company has won a $2.3-million federal Energy Department grant to further develop its patented process for turning methane and carbon dioxide from garbage and animal waste into syngas that's then modified to make diesel or jet fuel. It recently completed a seven-month demonstration project in Pasco County.
CEO Devin Walker says T2C’s process is more efficient and cost effective than rival technology at “converting an environmentally harmful waste gas into a high value/ demand renewable transportation fuel.” It also can be done in small-scale, less expensive plants. What’s more, the diesel is sulfur-free, and the fuels require no modifications to existing engines.
The plants can be sited at wastewater treatment facilities, farms and other generators of biodegradable material. USF owns the patent and licenses it to T2C. The company was founded in 2012 by University of South Florida professor Babu Joseph, associate professor John Kuhn and three former chemical engineering grad students — Walker, Tim Roberge and Syed Gardezi. A grant from the Hinkley Center for Solid and Hazardous Waste Management funded by the state launched it.
“This went from a research grant and a couple of masters’ theses and a Ph.D. dissertation that really translated all the way up to something that’s approaching commercial scale production,” Kuhn says.
It qualifies for government subsidies but doesn’t need them to be profitable, Walker says. “We look at environmental subsidies as an extra bonus that allows us achieve payback periods of one to two years for commercial plants,” he says.
Read more in Florida Trend's September issue.
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