U.S. Energy Dept. to Award Up to $564 Million for 19 Integrated Biorefinery Projects

By Scott Doggett December 8, 2009

Biofuel-plant-in-Iowa.jpg

U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the selection of 19 integrated biorefinery projects to receive up to $564 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to accelerate the construction and operation of pilot, demonstration and commercial-scale facilities.

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Right, a biofuels plant in Iowa.
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The projects - spread across 15 states - will validate refining technologies and help lay the foundation for full commercial-scale development of a biomass industry in the United States.

The projects selected will produce advanced biofuels, biopower and bioproducts using biomass feedstocks at the pilot, demonstration and full-commercial scale. The projects are part of an ongoing effort by the Obama administration to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil, to spur the creation of the domestic bio-industry and to provide new jobs in rural areas of the country.

The Biorefinery Assistance Program, authorized through the 2008 Farm Bill, promotes the development of new and emerging technologies for the production of fuels that are produced from non-corn kernel starch biomass sources. The program provides loan guarantees to develop, construct and retrofit viable commercial-scale biorefineries producing advanced biofuels.

Of the nearly $564 million in Recovery Act funding just announced, up to $483 million will go to 14 pilot-scale and 4 demonstration-scale biorefinery projects across the country. The remaining $81 million will focus on accelerating the construction of a biorefinery project previously awarded funding.

Collectively, these projects will be matched with more than $700 million in private and non-Federal cost-share funds, for total project investments of almost $1.3 billion.

The biofuels and bioproducts produced through these projects will displace petroleum and accelerate the industry's ability to achieve production targets mandated by the federal Renewable Fuel Standard. These investments will help close the gap between the production from the small number of biorefineries currently in operation and the aggressive Renewable Fuel Standard goals for cellulosic and advanced biofuels.

Click on "Continue reading," below, to see a list of the 19 projects as well as a description of each of them.

Increased Funding to Existing Biorefinery Projects

Bluefire Ethanol
DOE Grant: $81,134,686
Non-fed funding: $223,227,314

Fulton, MS: This project will construct a facility that produces ethanol fuel from woody biomass, mill residue, and sorted municipal solid waste. The facility will have the capacity to produce 19 million gallons of ethanol per year.

Demonstration Scale

BioEnergy International
DOE Grant: $50,000,000
Non-fed funding: $89,589,188

Lake Providence, LA: This project will biologically produce succinic acid from sorghum. The process being developed displaces petroleum based feedstocks and uses less energy per ton of succinic acid produced than its petroleum counterpart.

Enerkem
DOE Grant: $50,000,000
Non-fed funding: $90,470,217

Pontotoc, MS: This project will be sited at an existing landfill and use feedstocks such as woody biomass and biomass removed from municipal solid waste to produce ethanol and other green chemicals through gasification and catalytic processes.

INEOS New Planet BioEnergy
DOE Grant: $50,000,000
Non-fed funding: $50,000,000

Vero Beach, FL: This project will produce ethanol and electricity from wood and vegetative residues and construction and demolition materials. The facility will combine biomass gasification and fermentation, and will have the capacity to produce 8 million gallons of ethanol and 2 megawatts of electricity per year by the end of 2011.

Sapphire Energy
DOE Grant: $50,000,000
Non-fed funding: $85,064,206

Columbus, NM: This project will cultivate algae in ponds that will ultimately be converted into green fuels, such as jet fuel and diesel, using the Dynamic Fuels refining process.

Pilot and Demonstration Scale FOA - Pilot Scale

Algenol Biofuels
DOE grant: $25,000,000
Other funding: $33,915,478

Freeport, TX: This project will make ethanol directly from carbon dioxide and seawater using algae. The facility will have the capacity to produce 100,000 gallons of fuel grade ethanol per year.

American Process
DOE grant: $17,944,902
Other funding: $10,148,508

Alpena, MI: This project will produce fuel and potassium acetate, a compound with many industrial applications, using processed wood generated by Decorative Panels International, an existing hardboard manufacturing facility in Alpena. The pilot plant will have the capacity to produce up to 890,000 gallons of ethanol and 690,000 gallons of potassium acetate per year starting in 2011.

Amyris Biotechnologies
DOE grant: $25,000,000
Other funding: $10,489,763

Emeryville, CA: This project will produce a diesel substitute through the fermentation of sweet sorghum. The pilot plant will also have the capacity to co?produce lubricants, polymers, and other petro-chemical substitutes.

Archer Daniels Midland
DOE funding: $24,834,592
Other funding: $10,946,609

Decatur, IL: This project will use acid to break down biomass which can be converted to liquid fuels or energy. The ADM facility will produce ethanol and ethyl acrylate, a compound used to make a variety of materials, and will also recover minerals and salts from the biomass that can then be returned to the soil.

Clearfuels Technology
DOE funding: $23,000,000
Other funding: $13,433,926

Commerce City, CO: This project will produce renewable diesel and jet fuel from woody biomass by integrating ClearFuels' and Rentech's conversion technologies. The facility will also evaluate the conversion of bagasse and biomass mixtures to fuels.

Elevance Renewable Sciences
DOE funding: $2,500,000
Non-Fed funding: $625,000

Newton IA: This project was selected to complete preliminary engineering design for a future facility producing jet fuel, renewable diesel substitutes, and high?value chemicals from plant oils and poultry fat.

Gas Technology Institute
DOE funding: $2,500,000
Non-Fed funding: $625,000

Des Plaines, IL. This project was selected to complete preliminary engineering design for a novel process to produce green gasoline and diesel from woody biomass, agricultural residues, and algae.

Haldor Topsoe
DOE funding: $25,000,000
Non-Fed funding: $9,701,468

Des Plaines, IL. This project will convert wood to green gasoline by fully integrating and optimizing a multi?step gasification process. The pilot plant will have the capacity to process 21 metric tons of feedstock per day.

ICM
DOE funding: $25,000,000
Non-Fed funding: $6,268,136

St. Joseph, MO. This project will modify an existing corn?ethanol facility to produce cellulosic ethanol from switchgrass and energy sorghum using biochemical conversion processes.

Logos Technologies
DOE funding: $20,445,849
Non-Fed funding: $5,113,962

Visalia, CA. This project will convert switchgrass and woody biomass into ethanol using a biochemical conversion processes.

Renewable Energy Institute International
DOE funding: $19,980,930

Non-Fed funding: $5,116,072

Toledo, OH. This project will produce high quality green diesel from agriculture and forest residues using advanced pyrolysis and steam reforming. The pilot plant will have the capacity to process 25 dry tons of feedstock per day.

Solazyme
DOE funding: $21,765,738
Non-Fed funding: $3,857,111

Riverside PA. This project will validate the projected economics of a commercial scale biorefinery producing multiple advanced biofuels. This project will produce algae oil that can be converted to oil-based fuels.

Honeywell's UOP
DOE funding: $25,000,000
Non-Fed funding: $6,685,340

Kapolei, HI. This project will integrate existing technology from Ensyn and UOP to produce green gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel from agricultural residue, woody biomass, dedicated energy crops, and algae.

ZeaChem
DOE funding: $25,000,000
Non-Fed funding: $625,000

Boardman, OR: This project will use purpose-grown hybrid poplar trees to produce fuel-grade ethanol using hybrid technology. Additional feedstocks such as agricultural residues and energy crops will also be evaluated in the pilot plant.

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