$150 million in state bonds for Tahoe Reno Industrial Center biofuels plant

A high-tech plant that will eventually convert Lockwood’s garbage into jet and diesel fuel won final approval Tuesday to use $150 million in bonds to build Phase II of the project at the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center.

Fulcrum Bioenergy already has a plant at the Lockwood landfill east of Reno turning municipal garbage into what it calls “feedstock.” When the new plant is built, it will convert that “feedstock” into a synthetic crude that can then be turned into jet fuel and diesel.

Business and Industry Director Bruce Breslow told the Board of Finance the process will convert 175,000 tons of garbage into 11 million gallons of fuel each year and do it without creating pollution.

The finance board headed by Gov. Brian Sandoval voted unanimously to authorize the company to use $150 million in economic development bonds authorized by the federal government this year to help build the plant. Breslow told the board the bonds are just part of the financing package, that Fulcrum and the company’s other backers will eventually put a total of $347 million into the project.

David Robertson, B&I’s financial adviser, said the project will provide about 130 permanent jobs along with some 500 jobs during construction. He said it will generate about $13 million in property taxes and $11 million in sales tax over 10 years.

The new plant should be up and operating by September 2019.

Sandoval praised the project as a state of the art plant to recycle municipal garbage.

“We are all old enough to remember seeing that trash go into a flying car,” he said referencing the movie Back to the Future. “This is close to that only into jets.”

The bonding capacity is doled out to the states by the federal government to use for purposes including industrial and other economic development projects. The benefit to the companies granted those bonds is they’re tax free.

From the state’s point of view, backers along with Breslow made it clear those bonds in no way obligate the state financially.

Company officials said they plan to break ground in September.


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