US refiner Valero takes stake in biofuels firm Terrabon

10 April 2009 19:44  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS news)--US refining major Valero has taken a stake in Terrabon, a privately held Houston-based renewable fuels firm that aims to convert landfill garbage into fuel, Terrabon said on Friday.

Terrabon would use the money to speed up the commercial development of its acid formation technology, it said. The fuel it was developing was not ethanol but had a higher energy value than ethanol and could be blended directly with regular gasoline, it said.

Chief financial officer Malcolm McNeill said that Terrabon could not currently disclose how much money Valero invested, but expected to issue a press release on that later.

McNeill said Terrabon was planning a project in Port Arthur, Texas, to convert some 55 tonnes/day of landfill garbage into gasoline, with likely start-up in late 2010.

The project would cost about $30m (€23m), with about $12m-15m coming from a government grant Terrabon was applying for, he said. 

The company already had a test facility in Bryan, Texas, which was currently in its start-up phase, he added.

In a separate statement, Terrabon CEO Gary Luce commented: "Our strategic partnership with Valero is a big step in helping our country meet President Obama's goal of producing 36bn gallons [136 litres] of renewable fuels by 2022."

Valero last month entered the biofuels production market when it won a bid to buy ethanol plants with a combined capacity of 780m gal/year from VeraSun, a US producer that is under bankruptcy protection.

($1 = €0.76)

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