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First gas at ABSL Swindon plant proves RadGas process

16th January 2024

Advanced Biofuel Solutions Ltd (ABSL), a proven developer and producer of advanced waste-derived biofuels, announces successful first production from the 22 GWh waste-to-syngas line at its demonstration plant in Swindon, using its patented RadGas technology.

RadGas combines a gasifier, electric arc furnace and waste heat boiler in a highly efficient, reliable process that converts household waste and biomass residues into a synthesis gas or “syngas” which is free of tars and particulates. Crucially, that syngas is clean enough to be used as a direct feedstock for catalytic conversion into a range of biofuels and a pure stream of carbon dioxide. The biofuels can then be used as an alternative for fossil fuels in hard-to-abate sectors where electrification is a challenge, such as industrial heating or the production of sustainable air fuel (SAF).  When the carbon dioxide is transferred and stored in sequestration infrastructure, the process generates negative emissions essential for reaching Net Zero.

Nathan Burkey, Executive Chairman of ABSL, said: “Achieving the first ash-free, tar-free syngas at our Swindon plant is a key technology milestone; firmly establishing RadGas as one of the few integrated process technologies in the world that can reliably produce clean syngas from mixed household waste or biomass. Unlike incineration, RadGas emits nothing to atmosphere making it a considerably more environmentally friendly solution for managing waste.”

ABSL’s Swindon plant is configured to convert the clean syngas first into biohydrogen and then into biomethane, with the flexibility to vary the proportions over time. The final stage is low-cost carbon dioxide capture, resulting in an overall process that is carbon negative. Commercial offtake agreements are in place for all the inputs and outputs in the plant at Swindon, with the biomethane exported directly to the gas grid.

ABSL is the grateful recipient of funding from multiple UK government initiatives, including: the Department for Transport’s Advanced Biofuels Demonstration and Green Fuels, Green Skies competitions; and the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero – under the Net Zero Innovation Portfolio (phase 2) of the direct air capture and Greenhouse Gas Removal innovation programme.

Transport decarbonisation minister Anthony Browne added: “This Government is committed to reducing emissions in a sustainable way, and biofuels are an essential part of making cleaner air travel a reality. “Thanks to support from the Government’s Advanced Biofuel Development Competition, ABSL’s state-of-the-art technology is helping build a strong, sustainable aviation fuel industry in the UK.”

Data from the Swindon demonstrator is already helping to shape the results of a front-end engineering design (FEED) study for ABSL’s next plant in the north of England where ABSL, Petrofac, Sumitomo, Hatch and Wood are partnering in a 120,000 tonnes per annum waste-to-biofuels project with carbon capture and sequestration.

Burkey concluded: “First gas at our Swindon demonstrator is so much more than just a technical milestone. As well as generating important revenue in its own right our Swindon plant will give us, and others seeking a clean syngas solution, further confidence in our scale-up and roll-out plans. I’d like to thank all those who have helped us on the journey so far: our own team of nearly 50 dedicated professionals, our commercial partners, our loyal investors and the UK government. I look forward to continued cooperation as we accelerate the deployment of our unique RadGas technology in large-scale production of carbon negative fuels for the Net Zero economy.”

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