Biorefineries get $564m funding

The US Department of Energy (DOE) selected today 19 biorefinery projects that will receive up to $564m funding under the agency’s Biorefinery Assistance Program, which promotes development of new and emerging technologies for advanced biofuels, biopower and bioproducts using biomass resources.

Up to $483m will go to 14 pilot scale projects and 4 demonstration-scale biorefinery projects while the remaining $81m will go to Bluefire LLC to accelerate the company’s construction of a cellulosic ethanol fuel facility in Fulton, Mississippi. The Bluefire project, which also got previous funding from the DOE, is expected to produce 19m gallons/year of fuel-grade ethanol using using wood wastes, mill residue and sorted municipal waste.

The DOE said all the biorefinery projects will be matched with more than $700m in private and non-government cost-share funds amounting to a total investments of almost $1.3bn.

Ineos, which was awarded $50m for its commercial-scale bioenergy facility project in Indian River County, Florida, said that it expects to begin their facility’s construction in the second quarter next year and to start operations by late 2011. The facility will produce 8m gallons/year of ethanol and 2 megawatts of electricity/year using wood and vegetative residues and construction and demolition materials. The project is a joint venture of Ineos and New Planet Energy.

Zeachem, meanwhile, sent me their press release (which alerted me to this news in the first place) stating that their $25m grant from the DOE will be used to support construction of the company’s first cellulosic biorefinery in Boardman, Oregon, which will have capacity of 250,000 gallons/year producing biobased chemical ethyl acetate and cellulosic ethanol.

Construction of the biorefinery is already underway and will be online by the end of 2010. ZeaChem said it intends to scale to a commercial biorefinery upon successful operation of the demo facility. The company will use for feedstock purpose-grown hybrid poplar trees and potentially agricultural residues and energy crops.

The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) said the almost $600m funding represents the largest single federal investment in advanced biorefineries to date.

“This unprecedented investment by DOE and USDA shows how important advanced biofuels and biobased chemicals are to the economic and energy security of the country,” said Jim Greenwood, President and CEO of BIO. “These are precisely the kind of projects the Recovery Act should be funding – creating jobs while helping the country move to a more sustainable industrial future.”

BIO also cited a recent report by Bio Economic Research Associates (bio-era™) that advanced biorefineries could create 29,000 new jobs and $5.5 billion in economic growth over the next three years, – and over 800,000 new jobs by 2022.

Here is the list of the companies who bagged the DOE funding:

Pilot and Demonstration Scale FOA – Pilot Scale

  • Algenol Biofuels – $25m for its algae-based 100,000 gal/year ethanol project in Freeport, Texas.
  • American Process- $17.9m for its project in Alpena, MI, which will produce 890,000gal/year ethanol fuel and 690,000 gal/year potassium acetate usingprocessed wood starting in 2011.
  • Amyris Biotechnologies- $25m for its green diesel project in Emeryville, CA. The pilot plantwill also have the capacity to co‐produce lubricants, polymers, andother petro‐chemical substitutes.

  • Clearfuels Technology – $23m for its Commerce City, CO, project that will produce renewable diesel and jet fuel from woody biomass.

  • Elevance Renewable Sciences- $2.5m for its Newton, IA, project for a future facility producing jetfuel, renewable diesel substitutes, and high‐value chemicals from plantoils and poultry fat.

  • Gas Technology Institute- $2.5m for its Des Plaines, IL, project that will produce greengasoline and diesel from woody biomass, agricultural residues, andalgae.
  • HALDOR TOPSOE – $25m for its wood-based green gasoline project in Des Plaines, IL, .
  • ICM- $25m for its St. Joseph, MO, project that will modify an existingcorn‐ethanol facility to produce cellulosic ethanol from switchgrassand energy sorghum.
  • Solazyme – $21.8m for its algae oil-based biofuel project in Riverside, PA.
  • UOP LLC- $25m for its green gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel project that usesagricultural residue, woody crops and algae in Kapolei, Hawaii.
  • ZeaChem – $25m for its cellulosic ethanol and biochemical project in Boardman, OR.

Pilot and Demonstration Scale FOA – Demonstration Scale

  • Enerkem- $50m for its Pontotoc, MS, bio-ethanol and green chemicals projectthat will use woody biomass and municipal solid waste as feedstock.
  • Sapphire Energy – $50m for its algae-based green fuels project in Columbus, NM.
  • Bluefire – $81m for its 19m gal/year Fulton, MS, bioethanol project using woody bionass and municipal solid waste.

[Photo of one of Zeachem's fermenters. Source: Zeachem]


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One Response to Biorefineries get $564m funding

  1. clive richardson 4 December, 2009 at 5:27 pm #

    It’s about time the UK & EU got with the programme….Great News!

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