SynTech's Clean Syngas Technology Comes to Oahu, Hawaii

SynTech Bioenergy is partnering with Waste Resource Technologies to help the company cut tip fees and create renewable energy.

Arlene Karidis | Jun 18, 2019

SynTech Bioenergy is partnering with Waste Resource Technologies (WRT) to help the hauler cut tip fees in Hawaii—now soaring at about $96 a ton—while enabling the company to make electricity and other renewable products.

WRT has purchased and will operate SynTech’s BioMax system and receive revenues from the electricity it produces from the island’s yard and fruit waste and agricultural processes.

BioMax leverages extremely high heat (900 degrees Celsius) in very low oxygen levels to make a clean syngas. The process also generates two useful byproducts: heat with industrial applications and biochar; the latter is primarily for agriculture applications, though biochar may have other uses down the road.   

“This is a behind-the-meter project, meaning we provide power and heat to customers who pay us opposed to us exporting that power for sale to the local utility,” says Wayne McFarland, founder and CEO of SynTech Bioenergy. It’s cheaper than utility rates, he and some of his customers say.

“This project is a kickoff with one of our customers [in Oahu] that we hope is the first of many,” says Robert Webber, chief financial officer and executive vice president of business development at WRT.

“We have residential and commercial customers who produce a lot of organic waste, which is common in Hawaii,” he says, adding if BioMax performs as it has in other places, the technology will offset WRT’s costs, while enabling diversion of 1,300 tons of waste per year and cutting up to 8,000 tons of carbon.  

Webber and colleague Clint Knox, WRT’s executive vice president of development and technology, believe they are in the right place to capitalize on this investment.

“We have worked on waste conversion in Hawaii for over 10 years, and they are pushing for this type of technology. [The state] has limited landfill space, high tip fees, high energy costs and renewable energy and diversion policies,” says Knox.

Waste is collected and processed either at a customer’s site or delivered to a central processing point. It’s ground, dried and densified into pellets of refuse-derived fuel or a higher-energy, more processed solid recovered fuel. The pellet is then converted in a reactor into clean syngas and biochar.   

SynTech currently owns and operates two projects in California and one in Japan. Five more projects are under contract in California for export to Pacific Gas and Electric Company and eight more are in early development in California, either behind the meter or for export. SynTech also has five projects in permitting stages in Japan and will commission a project in China this summer.

The above is excerpted from an article in; for the complete article, please go to

Kevin McFarland