The "TCC" in Rubedo's name stands for "Thermo" (heat) "Chemical" (at the molecular and atomic levels) "Conversion" (converting matter from one form to another as in solids to gases or liquids). The thermo-chemical conversion method Rubedo uses most frequently in its mobile and fixed systems is fast pyrolysis, although depending on the application sometimes other pyrolysis methods and even gasification is utilized.
Pyrolysis is the thermal decomposition of a feedstock in a chamber in which the only oxygen is that which is inherent in the feedstock, such as water (H2O). Because there is no combustion (and thus no incineration), the feedstock is reduced to condensible and non-condensible vapors and char. While condensible vapors can be converted to pyrolysis oil, Rubedo optimizes for the conversion of these vapors to a high Btu content “producer gas,” often generically referred to as “syngas.” This gaseous fuel is then cooled and scrubbed of contaminants before being piped internally to generators, where it is then, and only then, combusted to produce electricity. One of many advantages of Rubedo’s system is its “dry scrubber.” Wet scrubbing results in water contaminated with the pollutants it has scrubbed from the producer gas, and this water must be disposed of as a hazardous material. This adds cost and complexity. Rubedo’s dry scrubbing system results in almost no condensate.
Fast pyrolysis differs from other kinds of pyrolysis by its relatively high temperature and short “residence time;” the amount of time the feedstock is resident in the reactor. Fast pyrolysis allows for greater throughput of feedstock, increased volume of gas from the feedstock, and a cleaner gas as well.
Although the pyrolysis process converts approximately 90% of the feedstock into a gas, pyrolysis is often confused with gasification, but they are two different processes. Gasification adds controlled amounts of oxygen into its process, resulting in more rapid oxidation and different outcomes. For this reason it is often considered incineration. While that is not true, gasification is more closely related to combustion and incineration than pyrolysis. Gasification systems produce a different kind of gaseous fuel, the original “synthesis gas” or “syngas” to which most people refer. This gas is higher in carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and hydrogen than pyrolysis producer gas. Gasification systems often secondarily combust their syngas to produce heat, which then drives a steam turbine to produce power, or else the heat and potential steam produced are the commercial products. Gasification produces more useless char and ash than pyrolysis, and requires more, and more expensive, air pollution control equipment.
Because it utilizes a lower heat than gasification or incineration, and is a more efficient process, fast pyrolysis can produce valuable co-products like biochar, a powerful soil amendment, and activated carbon, used worldwide in water filtration, depending the feedstocks processed. Rubedo’s research and development team is discovering new products this amazing and versatile process can create, like “drop-in” bio-diesel from certain types of plastic and industrial carbon.
The benefits of the technologies Rubedo deploys are:
When the wind is not blowing or the sun not shining, Rubedo's systems are still operational. This is essential for returning base load integrity to legacy wind and solar investments. When rivers dry up or re-route, Rubedo can put the electric back in hydro-electric.
Mobile systems process 24 tons of feedstock per day and can be provided serially. Larger fixed installations are capable of processing from 100 to more than 1000 tons of feedstock per day and providing between 30 and 50 MWe of clean and green energy.
Two 53 foot trailers can configure side-by-side, as an "L," "V" or straight line, conforming to site requirements. If twice as much power is needed, the next pair of trailers can shape in any direction, or even be off-site if proximate.
A fifty-three foot trailer is twenty feet shorter than a tennis court. With the minimum two trailers, fuel storage and ancillary equipment, one-quarter acre is sufficient space for a 1 MWh operation if laid out efficiently.
The technology is completely energy self-reliant. System initiation can be via generator, and once it commences operations, it powers itself. Add a micro- grid directly to one or more end users and you can power a village in Mozambique or a manufacturing plant in Michigan.
Through its EPC technology partner, Rubedo can offer world-class micro-grid capability, providing "blinkless" interface, connecting end users directly to the power source. Whether it's an industrial park on undeveloped land, a Forward Operating Base in a high-threat environment, a remote village in the Andes ora U.S. Forest Service outpost deep in the woods, Rubedo can provide the power and fuels necessary for continuing operations.
Because the systems can run on so many different types of fuels, called "feedstocks," they offer tremendous versatility. Better yet, hydrogen, liquid fuels, gas fuels, industrial gases and products such as paraffins can all be produced using the same core technology. The process can be modulated to produce the desired end result.
Rubedo's mobile pyrolytic gasifiers are agile enough to travel deep into forests on U.S. Forest Service or other logging roads. They can drive out into the desert. They can park for operations in the middle of cities and can even be mounted on barges for maritime operations. Virtually anywhere an 18 wheeler truck can drive, Rubedo can deliver power, waste reduction and other products and services. Systems can be deployed within twelve hours of arrival and de-couple within eight hours of end of operations. They can even be rail mounted, travel cross-country, and be trailer hitched to a cab at the destination for final phase mobility.
COUPLING TO AND FROM THE GRID
Customers stay coupled to the Grid (requisite for net metering) or can de-couple at their discretion. Customers can couple or de- couple from Rubedo easily. Customers now have Energy Autonomy, able to design their own power plan and manage the economics more efficiently and cost-effectively.
For Rubedo, every landfill is a natural gas field lying on the surface. Every sewage treatment plant is an endless supply of fuel. Every mountain of tires is a liquid fuels depot. And because we are mobile, we can go to them, eliminating the costs of moving the feedstocks to the processing center. Rubedo may truly be the world's first entirely green energy company.