The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Thursday announced a total of more than $410 million in financing incentives for three large cellulosic ethanol projects and for small producers in 33 states.
In a separate announcement Thursday, the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) offered a loan guarantee of $241 million to finance a renewable diesel plant.
In rural western Alabama, Coskata, Inc. has received a letter of intent from the USDA for a $250 million loan guarantee to construct and operate a cellulosic ethanol biorefinery facility. This 55-million gallon-per-year renewable biofuel project will use woody biomass to produce ethanol.
It was the largest loan guarantee ever for a U.S. biofuels producer, said the Renewable Fuels Association, an industry group.
The facility is currently the largest planned cellulosic ethanol facility in the country and is expected to bring approximately 300 construction jobs and 700 direct and indirect jobs to Boligee, Greene County, Alabama.
Founded in 2006 by leading renewable energy investors and entrepreneurs including Khosla Ventures, Advanced Technology Ventures, and GreatPoint Ventures, Coskata has also received financing from the Blackstone Group, General Motors, Total Energy Ventures, Coghill Capital Management and Globespan Capital Partners.
In Pontotoc, Mississippi, Enerkem Corporation received an $80 million loan guarantee to build and operate a biorefinery that will be capable of producing 10 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol per year by refining some 100,000 metric tons of dried and post-sorted municipal solid waste through a thermo-chemical cellulosic process.
The company also received $50 million in funding from the U.S. DoE for this project.
Founded in 2000, Enerkem currently operates two plants in Canada: a pilot facility in Sherbrooke, Quebec, and a commercial demonstration plant in Westbury, Quebec. In August 2010, Enerkem started construction of its waste-to-biofuels plant in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, which was awarded CAD$23 million in funding from the Government of Alberta and the City of Edmonton.
Enerkem has received venture capital funding from Rho Ventures, Braemar Energy Ventures, Waste Management, Cycle Capital and BDR Capital.
In Vero Beach, Florida, INEOS New Planet BioEnergy, LLC. has been selected to receive a $75 million loan guarantee to construct and operate a biorefinery capable of producing eight million gallons-per-year of cellulosic ethanol and gross electricity production capacity of six megawatts. The feedstock for the process will include primarily vegetative waste (citrus and agricultural wastes), yard wastes, wood waste, and municipal solid waste.
INEOS New Planet BioEnergy is a joint venture between INEOS Bio and New Planet Energy. In December of 2009, the JV was given a $50 million grant from the U.S. DoE for this project.
INEOS Bio is a subsidiary of INEOS, the world’s fourth largest petrochemical company and a leading manufacturer of commodity chemicals, specialty chemicals, biofuels, and oil products.
The largest of the small producer payments are $1.43 million to Louis Dreyfus Agricultural Industries, LLC in Indiana and $1 million to White Energy, Inc. in Texas. Payments are based on the amount of advanced biofuels a recipient produces from renewable biomass, other than corn kernel starch. Eligible examples include biofuels derived from cellulose, crop residue, animal, food and yard waste material, biogas (landfill and sewage waste treatment gas), vegetable oil and animal fat.
Photo credit: Coskata, Inc.
DISCLOSURE: The writer has no positions in, or professional connections with, these companies.
Any opinion contained in this article is solely that of the writers, and does not necessarily shape or reflect the editorial opinions of Energy Boom. Energy Boom content is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be advice regarding the investment merits of, or a recommendation regarding the purchase or sale of, any security identified on, or linked through, this site.