Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Busy Signal

The January 19, 2010 post “Syngas to Diesel” mentioned Clearfuels Technology, Inc. (private) one of the recipients of the Department of Energy renewable fuels and chemicals grants awarded in December 2009. Clearfuels is getting $23.0 million from the EPA to produce renewable diesel and jet fuel from woody biomass at the company’s facility near Commerce City, Colorado. Clearfuels must come up with another $13.4 million in matching funds. The company plans on commercializing a proprietary process based in part on technology licensed from Rentech, Inc. (RTK: NYSE AMEX).

Six months later we tried to contact the Clearfuels and its partner Rentech to find out how things are progressing. We got a “busy signal” so to speak as we got not word back from other company. In our view, Company’s on the corporate welfare rolls - those DOE grants were as much a part of the stimulus program as the bank bailouts - should make any attempt to respond to the public in some fashion.

The lack of response does not mean that nothing is happening at Clearfuels. Indeed, maybe they are simply elbows deep in turning wood chips to diesel fuel that answering the phone is just not possible.

ClearFuel’s issued a press release in April 2010 indicated they have taken the first $7.7 million of the DOE grant. It is not likely that the DOE would cut a check without at least some tangible progress on plant and process design. Clearfuels is also moving forward with a plant in Tennessee that is also expected to use sawmill waste as feedstock.

Besides finding out if the Rentech technology is proving out at least as far as Clearfuels' plans go, I want to know if Clearfuels was able to add jobs with the DOE money. I will let you know when the phone rings.

Neither the author of the Small Cap Strategist web log, Crystal Equity Research nor its affiliates have a beneficial interest in the companies mentioned herein.

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