Circular Fuels, LLC (CFL) is a limited liability company registered in Rhode Island, USA with a mission of facilitating the paradigm shift from fossil fuels to clean energy based on circular economy principles to locations worldwide.
Circular Fuels was founded by Rick Sellers, a renewable energy expert with over 35 years in the sector who has been the Head of Clean and Renewable Energy at the International Energy Agency and developed numerous renewable projects in Europe, Africa and the Americas.
Joining the CFL team is Nikolai Holder, a PhD research biochemist working at UWI in biochemistry with a specialty of microbial biochemistry and the utilization of biochemical processes to produce fuel. Joining him is Brian-Lee Chandler, a project management specialist with experience in agriculture, logistics and maritime affairs.
CFL is supported by John Forcier of Forcier Engineering, an accomplished AD engineer with decades of experience, Tim Kelley, a financial advisor with decades of experience in the renewables field and Jonathan Estes, an expert experiential learning and strategy for circular economy.
The Spring Garden Anaerobic Digester Project is the result of a cooperative undertaking between the West Indies Rum Distillery Ltd, the premiere producer of Barbados rum spirits and Circular Fuels LLC.
The owner of the Distillery, Alexandre Gabriel, requested Rick Sellers to assess his options and propose a solution for converting the distilling process waste material (vinasse) into usable heat and electricity. In addition to the waste from the distillery, other problematic waste sources that can be used as feedstock for the AD process include fish and animal processing waste, bagasse and grasses from the island’s fields, manure and other farm waste, and sargassum seaweed that washes up on beaches.
In making its rum for export, the Distillery produces about 550 cubic meters of distillation waste per day, totaling about 190,000 metric tons per year. The current disposal of this waste is by electrical pump through a pipe into the ocean. While the waste is organic, and this practice is accepted by officials, Mr. Gabriel wondered if it was a lost opportunity.
Meanwhile, the distillery is importing millions of dollars of heavy fuel oil to feed its approximately 7MWE of heat required to run its boilers, thus producing a substantial amount of CO2. Therefore, the challenge was to find an energy solution that would reduce the distillery’s energy costs, stop the practice of buying and burning fossil fuels, eliminate the current practice of pumping the waste to sea, and create other benefits for the company and the island.
Circular Fuels quickly determined that an anaerobic digester project could provide a beneficial solution for the distillery and the island, which requires locating a suitable site, finding necessary feedstocks, and finding product off-takers.