ODC to hear presentation on synthetic-fuel project

Posted: 06/06/2011
Author: Odessa American

The Odessa Development Corp. will hear a presentation at its Thursday meeting from a University of Texas of the Permian Basin professor about a project that would create alternative supply of synthetic fuel.

James Wright, who will give the presentation to ODC board members, is working with F. Jeffrey Martin from Los Alamos National Laboratory on the fuel. A pilot plant has been set up at a bay at the UTPB Center for Energy and Economic Diversification, Guy Andrews, Odessa Chamber of Commerce economic director, said.  CEED aims to provide assistance to the petroleum industry as it works with other agencies to diversify the economy in the Permian Basin.

The project is looking for $6 million in funding, Andrews said. The project is also looking for funding from the cities of Midland and Andrews.

“They want to talk to the board and see if there’s any interest,” he said.

UTPB and Los Alamos are working under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement to integrate the “Green Freedom” technology with Wright’s High Temperature Teaching and Test Reactor program.

The fuel is made by taking carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and hydrogen from water. These are converted into fuel through an emissions-free process, according to an overview letter of the project.

The project is a form of economic development, Andrews said. It is expected to bring in post-doctorate educated people into the area and help turn Odessa into an energy center.

It will also use a process similar to desalination and will need plenty of salty water, something Odessa has a lot of, Andrews said. ODC board members, Odessa city officials and Summit officials will travel to El Paso on June 16 to look at that city’s desalination process. Desalination is where salty, or brackish, water is treated to remove the salt.

In other business, new member Charles Carlson and returning member Frank Deaderick will be sworn into office. Carlson is replacing Tom McMinn. The board will also discuss on-going projects.