A Planet on Fire: The Digest’s 2019 Multi-Slide Guide to Red Rock Biofuels’ Call to Action for Aviation Industry

November 20, 2019 |

IATA SAFS Notes 15 Nov 2019 Thank you Steve, for your tireless efforts to grow this industry, and for organizing the panel. I appreciate and take fortitude from the optimism you bring. Like others here that live in the Western US and have woken up to a red sun rising, though, I’m a little more four horsemen of the apocalypse. For any Credence fans out there, there’s a bad moon rising and trouble’s on the way. Let’s start today with the why. Why are we here today? It’s easy to forget the broader mission with all the daily fire fighting. We are here today to tackle climate change.

We are here today because we must be. In an era of eroding public trust in our own public institutions, NASA still holds up. NASA has been at the forefront of climate science for decades, and is still a trusted institution. NASA says quite simply that the “Earth’s climate is warming” Let’s look at just one thread in the Gordian Knot of climate change. Anyone ever been snorkeling, scuba diving? Ever eaten fish, swim in the ocean? Coral reefs are under assault. This issue is near and dear for our colleagues down under. Losing 80% vs. 99% of our coral reefs matters a great deal. Let’s come back on land. “I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees. I speak for the trees for the trees have no tongues.” Theodore Seuss Geisel, 1971.

The trees are crying for help. This is Oregon last summer. This is California last month. This is a decade by decade look at the increase in wildfire (both in acreage and cost) in the US. We’re now at 8.6 million acres per year. This is a global industry, and we welcome our colleagues from Europe. Imagine for a moment losing Belgium every year, or losing Great Brittain every six years. The cost of wildfires now runs ~$2.5 billion a year for suppression only, half the US Forest Service’s annual budget. As we all know, the true cost of these fires in California alone runs in the tens of billions every year. California’s largest utility is bankrupt, with no end in sight. It is not just the US West. Bush fires in Australia are raging across 2.4 million acres as of last week. Facing catastrophic problems with the immediacy of wildfire and the sinister creeping of climate change is depressing. It is depressing enough to throw in the towel, to say I can’t make a difference, the problem is just too big for me to solve. In 1962 President John F. Kennedy called us to action “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win.” Less than seven years later, the Eagle landed and Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked the surface of the moon.

Fast forward 50 years and just last week, Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern, led almost unanimous passage of a zero-carbon bill. She and others like her, are my heroes – not just for passing an ambitious and historic bill to reduce climate change, but for rallying everyone around her banner. She said emphatically: “New Zealand will not be a slow follower.” A tip of the hat to you Prime Minister Ardern, and a pledge from Red Rock: we will not be slow followers. We join you as leaders. At Red Rock, we believe the lynch pin in climate change is heavy transport fiuels. While gasoline use will decline with electrification of the passenger vehicle fleet, diesel and jet use will continue to grow, and if we want to arrest global climate change, we need renewable, low carbon heavy transport fuels. At Red Rock, we are building the first plant in a platform of plants that will both help alleviate catastrophic wildfires and tackle climate change. Each year we will convert 166,000 dry tons waste woody biomass into 15 MGY of renewable, low carbon jet and diesel fuels. We’ll proudly supply that jet fuel to Southwest Airlines and FedEx in California. Our parent company, IR1 Group, is the EPC construction contractor.

And we use the traditional gasification, FT, and hydroprocessing pathway. Here are some photos from a few days ago of our construction site in Lakeview, OR: – In the foreground, our final product storage tanks, and in the background, our biomass handling and storage system in the background. And you can just make out our rail and truck loadouts. – Hog tower for biomass size reduction – playground size chips to chainsaw size chips – Drilling auger cast piles for the process foundations Lakeview OR is a remote site, so most of the main process equipment is modular, and will start shipping to Lakeview later this year. We are targeting 2nd quarter next year for mechanical completion and a six month ramp up of operations. We have planted Red Rock’s crimson banner. Join us at Lakeview. Join us in our generation’s moonshot. Join us, not because it is easy, but because it is hard, because we will not be slow followers, we are leaders.

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Category: 8-Slide Guide

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