Engineering News

BlueFire, Archer Daniels to Benefit from Federal Biorefinery Millions
December 13, 2009

Federal funding intended to advance 19 biorefinery projects is flowing again from the U.S. Departments of Energy and Agriculture. Together, the two agencies will spend $564 million to accelerate the construction and operation of pilot, demonstration, and commercial scale facilities, according to the government. Private companies in 15 states will get the funds, which are meant to help validate refining technologies and help lay the foundation for full commercial-scale development of a biomass industry in the United States.

Says DOE secretary Steven Chu:

Advanced biofuels are critical to building a cleaner, more sustainable transportation system in the U.S. These projects will help establish a domestic industry that will create jobs here at home and open new markets across rural America.

Among the top grantees are California's BlueFire Ethanol Fuels and Sapphire Energy. BlueFire will receive increased funding of $81 million to aid construction of its Fulton, Mississippi ethanol facility. The plant produces ethanol fuel from woody biomass, mill residue, and assorted municipal solid waste. Once complete, the facility will have the capacity to produce 19 million gallons of ethanol per year.

Sapphire Energy won a $50 million grant to support its work in Columbus, New Mexico, where it will cultivate algae in ponds that will ultimately be converted into green fuels, such as jet fuel and diesel. Ineos New Planet BioEnergy and Montréal's Enerkem will also receive $50 million each.

The Ineos New Planet BioEnergy project will produce ethanol and electricity from wood, vegetative residues, and construction and demolition materials. Its Vero Beach, Florida facility will combine biomass gasification and fermentation and is slated to have the capacity to produce 8 million gallons of ethanol and 2 megawatts of electricity per year by the end of 2011.

Enerkem's project in Pontotoc, Mississippi will use existing landfill and feedstocks to produce ethanol and other green chemicals through gasification and catalytic processes.

With these new investments, the government will have spent nearly $1.3 billion for 19 biorefinery projects nationwide, according to the USDA.

Source: Seeking Alpha

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