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Upstart company has patent to make fuel from trash

By Oliver Ludwig

NEW YORK, Jan 15 (Reuters) - A New York-based energy company, armed with rights to a patent on a gasoline substitute made mostly out of trash, is now laying the groundwork to launch the fuel commercially.

THE TOP BRASS of Pure Energy Corp. say the fuel, made from as much as 70 percent renewable resources - or garbage - could also help to reduce U.S. dependence on imported oil, which is at about 55 percent of total consumption and growing.

They said the fuel, called "P-Series," will find its way initially into alternative fuel vehicles, already required by federal and state government agencies. By the year 2002, all federal and state vehicle fleets will have to be able to run on alternative fuels.

"There is a market that, on an increasing basis, isn't buying an oil product," said Pure Energy's President, Rick Andlinger, noting that the company plans to choose a site for its first commercial plant by the end of the year. The U.S. Department of Energy is on the verge of approving P-Series as an official alternative fuel, which will ease its acceptability in government vehicle fleets, Andlinger said.

Andlinger and other Pure Energy executives acknowledged that gaining market share will be hard since oil prices are at their lowest inflation-adjusted levels in a generation. But they said the P-Series fuel, made mostly from urban garbage, is also likely to get a boost because of growing problems with trash disposal.

"The areas that would be most suited (for fuel plants) would have lots of trash, lots of people, lots of cars and bad air," Andlinger told Reuters, adding areas that fit this bill include much of the Northeast and West Coast, the Gulf Coast, and areas in and around Chicago and Denver. Plants are also likely to be built in states that offer tax incentives on production of alternative fuels, company officials said. An added benefit is that the production of the fuel is also likely to address the global warming problem by processing trash into P-Series before it emits carbon dioxide or methane - two so-called greenhouse gases.

The first plant would have annual capacity of at least 30 million gallons, or enough to power 30,000 to 40,000 cars, and will be located no more than 100 miles from where its users are.

Andlinger, a former Wall Street investment banker specializing in energy companies, said Pure Energy has to raise capital to realize its plans, and could end up issuing shares of stock to do so.

"We need to find a source of capital, and going public would be one of them," Andlinger said, adding the company is now privately held, 50 percent by its directors.

The fuel is a blend of natural gas liquids, renewable ethanol and another renewable additive, with the key difference being that the ethanol and other renewable additive would be made from trash rather than agricultural products like corn.
The fuel was developed and patented by researchers at Princeton University, which then licensed it to Pure Energy.©

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