To seek new ways to make energy, more efficiently and economically, in order to make the world measurably better.
To be the global leader in “Waste-to-Energy” technology, providing systems and manufacturing solutions of the highest quality and value for clean and renewable energy including fuels and products from carbonaceous waste and other opportunity feedstocks.
It was in Long Beach California in the spring of 2006, at the National Hydrogen Association’s annual meeting that John first saw Albin presenting a paper on the extraction of hydrogen from Ethanol. This was, after all, the Hydrogen Association’s meeting. A plethora of hydrogen feedstock methodologies were being presented by a number of professors, entrepreneurs, government scientists and students. All of the processes being presented seemed to be, at least to John’s engineer-level mind, highly sophisticated, leading-edge, expensive and complicated.
Then there was Dr. Albin Czernichowski who grabbed the attention of many by saying “and you can obtain most of this from your Home Depot store”. Many of the learned attendees seem to be aghast that such a suggestion would even have been offered.
Perched on the edge of his seat and leaning forward now, John listened intently to the balance of Dr. Czernichowski’s presentation. Sessa sought out this professor to make introductions and open a dialog on applications of this simple, yet Brute Force Physics method of reforming carbonaceous compounds.
After several months of correspondence and study into alternative feedstocks, it became apparent to both Albin and John that Glycerol was at the beginning of an exponential rise in production due to the ramp up in the Biodiesel marketplace.
Brevard Research Inc funded ECP to perform several feasibility studies that used Glycerol as a feedstock to create a synthesis gas (Syngas). Each experiment’s success built the basis for the next, until on August 29th 2007, BRI and ECP formed Florida Syngas LLC to move this form of energy forward.
Biodiesel and the waste Glycerol Project
The new company had some real and viable technology and set about the task to do the necessary development and testing in order to ultimately create a system that would be accepted and embraced by the Biodiesel industry; a System that would in effect, efficiently and economically reform waste Glycerol from Biodiesel production into Synthesis Gas. Patents were filed, people were called and John’s friends and family came together to fund and work on this project.
A Gen-1/Type3 GlidArc Reactor was built in the Florida Syngas Lab. Mass Flow and calibration devices were procured and set up. A barrel of Glycerin was purchased along with many samples of waste Glycerol from several Biodiesel producers; new producers were springing up almost daily. All of these Biodiesel producers had the same problem…”what are we going to do with all the waste Glycerol?” Glycerol can’t be burned because it produces too many toxic gases and by-products – acrolein and aldehydes. It can’t be dumped on the ground or in the ground water because it contains methanol. Where was the solution?
It was estimated that in 2009, there would be 173 companies producing some 2.7 billion gallons of Biodiesel each year, the number of plants and production was growing exponentially. More than 200 million gallons of waste Glycerol was forecast; far too much for the soap, cosmetic and pharmaceutical industry to use – the price of Glycerol as a commodity tumbled due to the expected glut. Florida Syngas was poised to make a splash and bring a system to the Biodiesel industry that would be disruptive and cause a paradigm shift.
What actually occurred was unexpected. The price for Biodiesel feedstocks such a tallow, lard, waste vegetable oil, palm oil and other bio-oil feedstocks surged; no longer consider a waste, they had a price now and that price was steep. To make matters worse, it was determined that Transportation Grade Biodiesel (B100) had to be made from virgin soy oil. Coupled with the import tax placed on Biodiesel by the European Union (a chief importer of US Biodiesel), the industry crumbled.
Florida Syngas began an intensive search for new applications of the Type 3/GlidArc technology; also for a company that had the capabilities to manufacture and commercialize and take the system to the next level. That company was found in TopLine Energy.
The Next Generation
There it was – a brand new, 300,000 square foot, state of the art manufacturing facility located on a 90 acre campus with all the right stuff; the right equipment, the right people, the right attitude and aptitude and certainly the best of the best in infrastructure and logistics. TopLine seemed to be ready and waiting for just this moment in time and was already permitted for manufacturing and hi-tech development, had three rail spurs and material handling equipment to accommodate large incoming and outgoing freight and products. Highway 41 ran in front, a mere 40 miles from Tampa and then there was the regional airport, only a mile away. Perfectly poured concrete, full electrical and natural gas services, and excellent water supply on premises, 30-miles of polypropylene tubing in the floor to maintain precise temperatures for the ultra-modern machining and tooling, excellent laboratory space and even product development and testing areas; nothing had been overlooked. TopLine Energy had been built to work on, develop and build new energy products and processes and the plasma technology brought forward by Florida Syngas was a perfect fit with TopLine’s objectives.
A chemical engineer working at Florida Syngas, Whitney Rieks, had discovered that many things could be made from the Synthesis Gas produced by the plasma reactor. Many things indeed – certainly it could be combusted to produce clean, smokeless heat – but its best use was as a precursor feedstock for a process called Fischer-Tropsch.
The Fischer-Tropsch process was originally discovered by two French physicists in 1902, Paul Sabatier and Jean-Baptiste Senderens, later perfected by the two German scientists in 1929 giving the process its name; Franz Fischer and Hans Tropsch.
TopLine Energy has embraced the continued development of the Gliding-Arc cold-plasma assisted reformation technology as well as forming a joint-venture with the largest gasification company in Asia – Radhe Renewable Energy Development Pvt. Ltd (www.radheenergy.com) – for the purpose of developing and commercializing a comprehensive ‘gasification to liquid synthetic fuels’ system; or GTL as it is known.
Besides work on reforming gasified or vaporized carbonaceous matter into ultra-clean, real Syngas, TopLine initiated development on gas clean up and emission control system for the automotive industry. It was found that if a small amount of Syngas were introduced to the induction system of an internal combustion engine, the lean-burn phase of combustion would be vastly improved; the hydrogen contained in the Syngas lowered the combustion temperature and increased the speed at which combustion occurred, thus improving overall engine efficiency to combust more of the fuel. The end result has been an increase in power and a substantial decrease in emissions, primarily Nitrous Oxides (NOx).
A new era is soon at hand…