[Gasification] Range Fuels Closing Plant

Mark Ludlow mark at ludlow.com
Wed Jan 26 13:57:13 CST 2011

Hi Jim,

It is a nasty claim. But we shouldn't be shocked or in disbelief. In recent
history we have the Iraq war as a paradigm, where the Blackwaters and
Halliburtons hauled money by the C-5-load out of taxpayer's pockets. How
many deals had side channels? A little experience in D.C. politics would
erase any remnant of flag-waving innocence.

When our President started talking about massive infrastructure investments
last night and put the feel-good marketing phrase "Clean Energy" high on his
list of infrastructure investments that the government would make.I cringed!
Saying that the "US is open for business" sounds a lot like saying that
Washington's K-Street is open for business. Most of the seminal advances in
technological and industrial America have not been spurred by government
largess. Without the catalyst of the "sink-or-swim" requirement that private
investment implies, all of these government initiatives are bound to fail or
at best, provide scant value for the money invested.

In the 19th Century, sociologist Max Weber had it figured out: Once in
place, a bureaucracy's main function is to maintain and grow its power and
structure. The same goes for congressional committee chairman and staffers
and the lobbyists who feed them and golf with them. (Our new Speaker of the
House played golf 113-times last year; not with his parish priest, you may
be assured.)

Let the EXXONs of the world pay for "clean energy" development. They will be
the ultimate benefactors in any case. I still remember the energy crunch of
the 1970s and how rapidly the Energy Giants moved in to stamp-out the sparks
of innovation.

Reality is often depressing.



From: Jim Leach [mailto:jleach at danatech.net] 
Sent: Wednesday, January 26, 2011 9:19 AM
To: 'Discussion of biomass pyrolysis and gasification'; mark at ludlow.com
Subject: RE: [Gasification] Range Fuels Closing Plant


That is a pretty nasty and bold claim, do you have any facts to back that






32242 Paseo Adelanto, Suite D

San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675

Ph 949-496-6516

Fx 949-496-8133

Mobile 949-933-6518




From: gasification-bounces at lists.bioenergylists.org
[mailto:gasification-bounces at lists.bioenergylists.org] On Behalf Of GF
Sent: Tuesday, January 25, 2011 10:41 AM
To: mark at ludlow.com; gasification at lists.bioenergylists.org
Subject: Re: [Gasification] Range Fuels Closing Plant

                               Government Grants and Ethanol.



I think we all agree on: THE GREAT ETHANOL SWINDLE.

This is where our tax dollars are diverted into non economic production 

of a fuel additive which supposedly saves us from climate change.

The primary players in this scam have made sure their methods together with
the cash cow they have created "REMAINS INTACT"

The last thing they desire is a new and more efficient system to be
discovered or adopted.

So how do they protect their interests?

Quite simply, take control of any new committees  responsible for the
selection of grants which might produce an alternative to their scam.

How could such a wasteful and useless system be chosen for Federal
Investment unless the people on the committee had an agenda which also
included the grant seekers.

The naivety of those who believe that poor judgment on the part of the
perpetrators is the primary cause of such "losses" should have their voting
rights revoked.

There are no accidents or poor judgment in politics. That is the excuse
generated by a stupid and trusting electorate.

It will not matter how merit worthy your claim is for grant money, it will
not be considered worthy if it challenges an established "funded" system. 

It might be chosen if it has "floors", in which case, be prepared to share
it with at least one member of the committee.





-----Original Message-----
From: Mark Ludlow <mark at ludlow.com>
To: 'Discussion of biomass pyrolysis and gasification'
<gasification at lists.bioenergylists.org>
Sent: Tue, Jan 25, 2011 11:20 am
Subject: Re: [Gasification] Range Fuels Closing Plant

Tom writes: Wonder why anyone stays in this field?


Reply: It pays well.


From:  <mailto:gasification-bounces at lists.bioenergylists.org>
gasification-bounces at lists.bioenergylists.org [
<mailto:gasification-bounces at lists.bioenergylists.org?>
mailto:gasification-bounces at lists.bioenergylists.org] On Behalf Of
<mailto:LINVENT at aol.com> LINVENT at aol.com
Sent: Tuesday, January 25, 2011 6:27 AM
To:  <mailto:tmiles at trmiles.com> tmiles at trmiles.com;
<mailto:gasification at lists.bioenergylists.org>
gasification at lists.bioenergylists.org
Subject: Re: [Gasification] Range Fuels Closing Plant


Dear Technologists,
     The failure or whatever it is spun by Mr. Klepper in the article
announcing the closure of the plant, is by itself devastating to the
industry. Without a successfully operating plant, the industry has no
positive markers for the investment community. Do you think that the
financing group would do another bio-refinery after putting up the money for
this plant? 
     What is more difficult is that nowhere in the technical review
community used to fund this plant was the critical eye which said "It won't
work". Of course, the developers may have shopped the technical review until
they got what they wanted to hear. The DOE is quite apparently not able to
make the distinction as they approved the funding. This also means that a
successful technology would not be known by them. It takes a winner to know
a winner. 
      I had early meetings with parts of the Klepper movement. A small
private group which had put $1+mm into the project and were basically
abandoneed when the technology was sold to another group for development.
Their concerns were the reactor design which apparently relied upon a
mechanical system which they didn't think would scale well. Not knowing what
the issues with the plant not operating, this may have been a contributing
factor. They also said that they were sticking with it and just picking my
brains which I suspected and didn't contribute anything of significance. 
      There were also issues with the catalyst. Reports that it produced
only ethanol using the proprietary catalyst were suspect as most of the
catalysts for ethanol production produce methanol also. The press statement
that they ran a methanol batch first and then an ethanol batch, are
interesting in this regard. 
      DOE is doing a lot of soul searching at the behest of the White House
because of the dearth of bio-energy project successes. Political pressure
will not make it happen, money will not make it happen, but a serious well
developed , innovative, simple process and technology will. 
     Below are some of the massive failures:
Occidental's flash pyrolysis unit in Sad Diego: $100mm
Britestar/EDL pyrolysis unit in Australia: $200mm
Range Fuels: $300mm
Molten Metals: $90mm(mostly DOE earmarked funds)
Hawaii IGT/EPRI/Westinghouse/HPL/ gasification unit: $30-50mm?
Battelle's dual fluidized bed gasification system: $60mm? 
Thermoselect's two stage combustion system: $125mm/plant 4-5 plants except
for the one in Japan which I think is still operating. 
PRM's Philadelphia sewage sludge gasification system: $2-3mm (blew up and
was shut down very shortly after installation, I was called to see if wanted
the plant for scrap).
Italian sawdust gasification plant near Venice, 1 Mwe couldn't get an engine
to run more than 40 hours between valve jobs due to tar fouling of intake
Farmland's acquisition of the Daggett, California Texaco coal gasification
144 Mwe power plant and reconstituting it in Coffeville, Kansas to run on
pet coke for ammonia production. Texaco was thrown out of the project,
Farmland finished the plant got it running on petcoke, had to file
bankruptcy and sell the 1100 ton/day ammonia production unit using it to a
separate entity. 
     The list goes on and on. 
     Wonder why anyone stays in this field? 

Leland T. "Tom" Taylor
Thermogenics Inc.
 <http://www.thermogenics.com/> www.thermogenics.com

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