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    Kinder Morgan Energy Partners has announced plans to invest up to €76/US$100 million to expand its terminal facilities to help serve the growing biodiesel market. KMP has entered into long-term agreements with Green Earth Fuels, LLC to build up to 1.3 million barrels of tankage that will handle approximately 8 million barrels of biodiesel production at KMP's terminals on the Houston Ship Channel, the Port of New Orleans and in New York Harbor. PRNewswire - March 1, 2007.

    A project to build a 130 million euro ($172 million) plant to produce 200,000 cubic metres of bioethanol annually was announced by three German groups on Tuesday. The plant will consume about 600,000 tonnes of wheat annually and when operational in the first half of 2009 should provide about a third of Germany's estimated bioethanol requirements. Reuters - Feb. 27, 2007.

    Taiwan's Ministry of Economic Affairs has announced that government vehicles in Taipei City will begin using E3 fuel, composed of 97% gasoline and 3% ethanol, on a trial basis in 2007. Automotive World - Feb. 27, 2007.

    Spanish company Ferry Group is to invest €42/US$55.2 million in a project for the production of biomass fuel pellets in Bulgaria. The 3-year project consists of establishing plantations of paulownia trees near the city of Tran. Paulownia is a fast-growing tree used for the commercial production of fuel pellets. Dnevnik - Feb. 20, 2007.

    Hungary's BHD Hõerõmû Zrt. is to build a 35 billion Forint (€138/US$182 million) commercial biomass-fired power plant with a maximum output of 49.9 MW in Szerencs (northeast Hungary). Portfolio.hu - Feb. 20, 2007.

    Tonight at 9pm, BBC Two will be showing a program on geo-engineering techniques to 'save' the planet from global warming. Five of the world's top scientists propose five radical scientific inventions which could stop climate change dead in its tracks. The ideas include: a giant sunshade in space to filter out the sun's rays and help cool us down; forests of artificial trees that would breath in carbon dioxide and stop the green house effect and a fleet futuristic yachts that will shoot salt water into the clouds thickening them and cooling the planet. BBC News - Feb. 19, 2007.

    Archer Daniels Midland, the largest U.S. ethanol producer, is planning to open a biodiesel plant in Indonesia with Wilmar International Ltd. this year and a wholly owned biodiesel plant in Brazil before July, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday. The Brazil plant is expected to be the nation's largest, the paper said. Worldwide, the company projects a fourfold rise in biodiesel production over the next five years. ADM was not immediately available to comment. Reuters - Feb. 16, 2007.

    Finnish engineering firm Pöyry Oyj has been awarded contracts by San Carlos Bioenergy Inc. to provide services for the first bioethanol plant in the Philippines. The aggregate contract value is EUR 10 million. The plant is to be build in the Province of San Carlos on the north-eastern tip of Negros Island. The plant is expected to deliver 120,000 liters/day of bioethanol and 4 MW of excess power to the grid. Kauppalehti Online - Feb. 15, 2007.

    In order to reduce fuel costs, a Mukono-based flower farm which exports to Europe, is building its own biodiesel plant, based on using Jatropha curcas seeds. It estimates the fuel will cut production costs by up to 20%. New Vision (Kampala, Uganda) - Feb. 12, 2007.

    The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has decided to use 10% biodiesel in its fleet of public buses. The world's largest city is served by the Toei Bus System, which is used by some 570,000 people daily. Digital World Tokyo - Feb. 12, 2007.

    Fearing lack of electricity supply in South Africa and a price tag on CO2, WSP Group SA is investing in a biomass power plant that will replace coal in the Letaba Citrus juicing plant which is located in Tzaneen. Mining Weekly - Feb. 8, 2007.

    In what it calls an important addition to its global R&D capabilities, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) is to build a new bioenergy research center in Hamburg, Germany. World Grain - Feb. 5, 2007.

    EthaBlog's Henrique Oliveira interviews leading Brazilian biofuels consultant Marcelo Coelho who offers insights into the (foreign) investment dynamics in the sector, the history of Brazilian ethanol and the relationship between oil price trends and biofuels. EthaBlog - Feb. 2, 2007.

    The government of Taiwan has announced its renewable energy target: 12% of all energy should come from renewables by 2020. The plan is expected to revitalise Taiwan's agricultural sector and to boost its nascent biomass industry. China Post - Feb. 2, 2007.

    Production at Cantarell, the world's second biggest oil field, declined by 500,000 barrels or 25% last year. This virtual collapse is unfolding much faster than projections from Mexico's state-run oil giant Petroleos Mexicanos. Wall Street Journal - Jan. 30, 2007.

    Dubai-based and AIM listed Teejori Ltd. has entered into an agreement to invest €6 million to acquire a 16.7% interest in Bekon, which developed two proprietary technologies enabling dry-fermentation of biomass. Both technologies allow it to design, establish and operate biogas plants in a highly efficient way. Dry-Fermentation offers significant advantages to the existing widely used wet fermentation process of converting biomass to biogas. Ame Info - Jan. 22, 2007.

    Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited is to build a biofuel production plant in the tribal belt of Banswara, Rajasthan, India. The petroleum company has acquired 20,000 hectares of low value land in the district, which it plans to commit to growing jatropha and other biofuel crops. The company's chairman said HPCL was also looking for similar wasteland in the state of Chhattisgarh. Zee News - Jan. 15, 2007.

    The Zimbabwean national police begins planting jatropha for a pilot project that must result in a daily production of 1000 liters of biodiesel. The Herald (Harare), Via AllAfrica - Jan. 12, 2007.

    In order to meet its Kyoto obligations and to cut dependence on oil, Japan has started importing biofuels from Brazil and elsewhere. And even though the country has limited local bioenergy potential, its Agriculture Ministry will begin a search for natural resources, including farm products and their residues, that can be used to make biofuels in Japan. To this end, studies will be conducted at 900 locations nationwide over a three-year period. The Japan Times - Jan. 12, 2007.

    Chrysler's chief economist Van Jolissaint has launched an arrogant attack on "quasi-hysterical Europeans" and their attitudes to global warming, calling the Stern Review 'dubious'. The remarks illustrate the yawning gap between opinions on climate change among Europeans and Americans, but they also strengthen the view that announcements by US car makers and legislators about the development of green vehicles are nothing more than window dressing. Today, the EU announced its comprehensive energy policy for the 21st century, with climate change at the center of it. BBC News - Jan. 10, 2007.

    The new Canadian government is investing $840,000 into BioMatera Inc. a biotech company that develops industrial biopolymers (such as PHA) that have wide-scale applications in the plastics, farmaceutical and cosmetics industries. Plant-based biopolymers such as PHA are biodegradable and renewable. Government of Canada - Jan. 9, 2007.

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

A note from the World Sustainable Energy Days: biomass pellets

The World Sustainable Energy Days - one of the largest gatherings of its kind - are currently underway in Wels, Austria. Energy experts from 61 countries convene to take part in three conferences (European Pellets Conference: 28 February - 1 March; the European Energy Efficiency Conference: 1 March; the Conference on the "Energy Future, 2030": 2 March) and a seminar on "Rural Development & Sustainable Energy" (1 March). The Energiesparmesse, running from 1 - 4 March, looks at the latest developments in energy conservation and efficiency.

Some notes [*German] on the European Pellets Conference [*.pdf, overview] as it relates to Austria have meanwhile been published. Biomass fuel pellets are a clean, CO2-neutral and conventient fuel with rapidly growing market shares in many European countries (statistical overview: earlier post) and showing a growing global trade (earlier post on a large Swedish-owned pellet plant based in the U.S. aiming to supply Europe, on pelletiser in the Republic of Congo that will be producing 500,000 tons for exports on a large South African plant with similar goals, and on the Port of Antwerp's activities of building infrastructures to accomodate this trade). Biomass pellets are most often made from wood chips and forestry residues or from woody energy crops grown on dedicated plantations, even though dedicated herbaceous feedstocks (fast growing grass species) are receiving more and more attention as well (earlier post and here).

The fact that biomass has become directly competitive with fossil fuels (earlier post), has sparked a real investment boom in Austria: over 28,000 small biomass burning installations have been built, 12,000 of which utilise pellets; 528 medium-scale, highly efficient combined heat-and-power (CHP) biomass plants have been established (235 of those being district-heating systems) and 9 large biomass cogeneration plants, which are considerably more efficient than traditional utility-scale power plants (earlier post), replace an increasing amount of coal and oil in the country.

Researchers are currently working on developing ultra-efficient micro-CHP systems suitable for home use. With such a system, the household would buy a stock of pellets once a year, and draw both electricity and heating needs from the micro power plant. An interesting concept is emerging around this technology: with a micro-CHP plant, the household not only becomes its own utility, it would also be enabled to strategize around selling green electricity to the grid, which currently relies on large, far less efficient fossil fuel powered plants (earlier post):
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Last year, Austria used more than 1 million tons of biomass pellets for the first time, saving over a million tons of CO2. This places the country second after Sweden.

At the opening of the European Pellet Conference, a quick ranking of pellet producing countries was presented:

1. Sweden leads with an annual production of 1.4 million tons
2. Canada, 1.2 million tons/year
3. United States, 1.1 million tons/year
4. Austria, 600,000 tons/year

Austria's production doubled between 2004 and 2006. When it comes to utilising the pellets, Austria ranks fifth after Sweden, the U.S., Denmark and Germany.

It was noted that since December last year, pellet prices have shown a downward trend, after highs of €199 per ton in November. A relatively stable price is seen as a crucial aspect for creating consumer acceptance of the biofuel.

For this reason, the Austrian state of Oberösterreich has taken a series of initiatives to prevent pellet prices to become too volatile. The most important of these are:

1. stronger price controls: there has been suspicion that a biomass pellet cartel was operating that kept prices artificially high and the matter was investigated, but there were no clear indications of the existence of such a cartel. The matter has prompted the state government to create more stringent price controls, executed by the 'Bundeswettbewerbsbehörde' (the institution that investigates the fairness of competition.)

2. incentives for production increases: during a round-table, the Agrar-Landesrat (regional minister of agriculture) and the pellet industry have agreed to quadruple pellet production provided the government works out tax incentives for the companies involved.

3. the establishment of a pellet reserve: in order to strengthen continuous supplies and to offset sudden shortages, the state has studied the possibility of creating pellet reserves; a proposal is on the table to force pellet producers to stock 30% of the quantity they're projecting to sell during the winter season. Under the scheme, stock building will be initiated from September onwards and reach their maximum at the end of November, after which the build-down follows until the end of January.

We will be reporting on other aspects of the conferences hosted by the World Sustainable Energy Days, as soon as more information becomes available.

More information:
OEJournal: OberÖsterreich ist neben Schweden das Biomasseland Europas - Feb. 28, 2007
Biopact: Swedish group to build 550,000 ton biomass pellet plant in Florida for exports to Europe - Feb. 4, 2007
Biopact: South African company to produce biomass pellets for exports to Europe - Feb. 2, 2007

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Harvesting algae blooms from the open ocean

Quicknote bioenergy technology
AlgoDyne Ethanol Energy, announces that it has developed a new process to harvest significant amounts of biomass from marine algal blooms. Massive marine algal blooms occur in almost all oceans of the world, often caused by man-made nutrient pollution, and are known to be harmful to the aquatic ecosystem. AlgoDyne believes that its harvesting technology could yield huge amounts of biomass usable for ethanol production at virtually no cost, and this harvesting of harmful algal blooms will ultimately protect the ocean’s marine ecosystem.

Mr. Richard Ritter Von Raffay, President of AlgoDyne states "To be able to use our harvesting technology to improve the quality of our oceans and remove harmful algal blooms is a significant accomplishment for the company and the environment."

AlgoDyne is a company that develops micro-algae technologies it thinks will provide a means to produce clean, renewable energy from the continual harvest of biomass from photo-bioreactors. The end result is the production of ethanol, methanol, biodiesel, electricity, coal and animal feed – all in a carbon dioxide neutral way.

Earlier, we had an in-depth look at biofuels from algae, and found that, despite the publicity, no company has ever achieved large-scale, efficient and affordable production. Photobioreactors are relatively expensive and require a large amount of materials, the production of which is energy intensive, whereas algae production in open ponds yields low and unnstable amounts of biomass. Large scale trials that took place in the 1980s yielded interesting results (earlier post).

From these trials, several insights into algae harvesting technologies have surfaced. Two basic techniques can be distinguished:
  • mechanical harvesting by means of strong membranes (in the late 1970s, at the height of the oil crisis when prices hit records that still stand, such membranes were deemed too costly; see the "Membrane Harvesting Project")
  • chemical and/or biological harvesting by means of flocculants; the technique works by introducing a chemical agent in the algae culture, after which the micro-organisms gather in a high concentration. Flocculation techniques only work on specific algae species; some of these species could be engineered to 'auto-flocculate'
AlgoDyne's concept of harvesting algae from the wild is not exactly new. Many similar ideas have been proposed in the past, most notably those of harvesting sea-weeds such as kelp on a large scale to utilize the biomass for energy. Several small companies have also been harvesting wild algae from lakes, with specially designed harvesting machines, for years. The process is energy intensive and cumbersome. It remains to be seen whether AlgoDyne's idea to actually collect phytoplankton from the open oceans is practicable. It basically remains an activity that can not be planned, scaled or rationalised, as algae blooms have the tendency to grow and disappear suddenly. The company gave no details on the innovation it claims it has made, nor in which way it differs from the many harvesting technologies that have been tried. We will be following up on this story when more information emerges [entry ends here].
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International Biofuels Forum to be launched by Brazil, EU, US, South Africa, India and China

On Friday, Brazil, the European Union, the United States, South Africa, China and India will formally establish the 'International Biofuels Forum'. The idea is to create common norms and standards for bioenergy products, especially ethanol, to consolidate and facilitate world trade in the rapidly growing sector. The initiative behind the new international organisation, the offices of which will be based at the United Nations (UN) in New York, was taken by Brazil, the world's largest biofuels producer.

Information supplied by the Brazilian Foreign Office and obtained by the ANBA shows that Brazil is ahead of this project, sponsoring the idea of making the main producers and consumers of biofuels join forces and create common technical norms for the sector as well as production, transport and storage standards, among other topics. With this, the countries participating hope to transform products like ethanol and biodiesel into 'energy products', instead of 'agricultural commodities', as they are currently labeled under WTO classifications. The Brazilian government has been analysing the consequences of this transformation for a while (earlier post).

To achieve this aim, the Forum, which will last one year, is going to establish two working groups: (1) a task force turned to the exchange of information about scientific and technological advances, and (2) a group to discuss standards and norms for the sector, including infrastructure, logistics and foreign trade. The groups, according to the Ministry, are going to operate in the organization of the International Biofuels Conference, scheduled to take place in Brazil in 2008:
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In the evaluation of the government of Brazil, the expansion of the use of biofuels is going to cause partial replacement of oil derivatives, reduce emissions of polluting gas, as well as attract investment to the productive chain.

According to the Ministry, clearer international norms, are going to provide incentives to the private sector in Brazil and in other countries. Apart from that, the diffusion and increase of production is going to generate clear economy of scale and, consequently, a reduction of cost.

To the government of Brazil, the production of biofuels is an important vector for development. In Brazil, the sugar and alcohol sector has a turnover of around 40 billion Reais (€14.2/US$18.8 billion) a year and generates 1 million direct jobs, according to the Ministry of Agriculture. Production of biodiesel in commercial scale is only beginning in the country and the government has crafted policies that ensure the biodiesel program will benefit more and more small producers of oleaginous plants, like castor seeds, for example (earlier post).

Brazil and the United States, which are the two main international producers of ethanol, have been mouthing their intention of transforming alcohol into a great international commodity. This will be the main theme of the meeting that presidents Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and George W. Bush are going to have on March 09, in São Paulo. The Brazilian Ministry evaluates that the Forum and dialogue about the sector between Brazil and the US are not mutually excluding, but complementary initiatives.

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U.S. universities teaming up to build 90% biodegradable car

Earlier we reported that advances in biotech, materials sciences and biofuels may soon make it possible to manufacture cars entirely made out of bio-based products: durable bioplastic fuel lines, car seat foams, body panels, structural components, interior parts and tires have already been developed that consist almost exclusively of bio-degradable, renewable, plant-based materials and no longer of petroleum (earlier post, and here, here and here). Fill such a car up with biofuels and bio-lubricants (earlier post), and we have a genuinely environmentally friendly vehicle.

Even though the vision is ambitious, Ohio State University’s Ohio Agricultural Research and Development (OARDC) and the University of Akron’s Goodyear Polymer Center are teaming up to explore a potential research partnership for the development of such an "Agri-Car".

The concept was initially conceived by Seeds of Opportunity, a Wooster-area group of business and other community leaders concerned about economic development prospects for the region. "Agriculture and polymers represent Ohio’s two largest business sectors," OARDC Director Steve Slack said. "It makes sense for us to explore initiatives that leverage these strengths. Agri-Car is an exciting concept that has this capability." Other groups that have expressed interest in exploring this concept are Ohio State’s Center for Automotive Research (CAR), Tsinghua University in Beijing, and China’s Geely Automotive Group.

The idea is to create a diverse working group to leverage resources, knowledge and ongoing research projects that could help assemble the pieces required to turn the Agri-Car concept into a circulating reality. Such interaction, Slack said, is crucial to see beyond research and industry boundaries and realize that agriculture, biotechnology, polymers and the automotive world indeed have much to offer to each other.

The concept would broadly have the following characteristics:
  • a mid-size, lighter, safe, efficient, inexpensive car that would be 90 percent biodegradable
  • be approximately 1,000 pounds lighter that a vehicle its size
  • a fuel efficiency of at least 70-80 mpg
Plant-based components would include:
  • malleable carbon or bio-polymer for the body
  • bio-polymers, advanced sensors and displays for the dash
  • new carbon materials for the drive train
  • polymers and fabrics derived from renewable feedstocks for the interior and trim
  • alternative natural sources of rubber for the tires
  • crops and other biomass for lubricants and fuel, including ethanol and methane
OARDC currently has research programs and projects that could provide some of the feedstocks and energy sources the Agri-Car would need. Among them:
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—The Ohio BioProducts Innovation Center (OBIC): Established through an $11.5 million Third Frontier award, OBIC is linking agricultural technologies with chemical-conversion and advanced-materials technologies to create specialty industrial compounds like plastics, paints, lubricants and solvents from crops such as soybeans and corn.

—The Biomass-to-Energy Project: Also the recipient of a Third Frontier award, this project involves taking animal manure, food-processing leftovers, crops and other biomass resources and converting them to clean, renewable energy. This research brings together two different technologies — biodigesters, which turn waste into biogas, and fuel cells, which can use biogas and even vegetable oils to generate energy.

—Natural Rubber Research: This study aims to develop a species of dandelion from Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan as an American-grown source of natural rubber.

Additional resources OARDC brings to the table include the Food and Agricultural Technology Commercialization and Economic Development Program (ATECH) and the proposed BioHio Research Park, which is expected to host startup companies partnering university research and entrepreneurial efforts.

Seeds of Opportunity chairman Harry Featherstone, retired CEO of worldwide pneumatic telescoping masts and lighting manufacturer Will-Burt Co., and former operations manager and head of materials for top U.S. automakers Ford and GM. says that "the development of this vehicle would not only be significant for the value of the car itself, and what it would mean to our societies and the world, but also for the progress and innovation sure to be realized in the development of products and processes necessary to produce the car."

Picture: Mercedez-Benz RECY concept, largely made of bio-degradable parts and fueled by biodiesel - presented at the Los Angeles Auto Show's Design Challenge.

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U.S. Dept. of Energy awards $385 million to 6 cellulosic ethanol plants, out of $1.2 billion

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced that it will invest up to €291.2/US$385 million in six biorefinery projects over the next four years. When fully operational, the biorefineries are expected to produce more than 130 million gallons (492 million liters) of cellulosic ethanol per year. This production will help further President Bush’s goal of making cellulosic ethanol cost-competitive with gasoline by 2012 and, along with increased automobile fuel efficiency, reduce America’s gasoline consumption by 20 percent in ten years. The funds are the government's share out of a total estimated investment in the biorefineries of more than €907million/US$1.2 billion.

Cellulosic ethanol is an alternative fuel made from a wide variety of (non-food) biomass feedstocks, including agricultural wastes such as corn stover and cereal straws, industrial plant waste like saw dust and paper pulp, and energy crops grown specifically for fuel production like switchgrass. By using a variety of regional feedstocks for refining cellulosic ethanol, the fuel can be produced in nearly every region of the U.S. Though it requires a more complex refining process, cellulosic ethanol contains more net energy and results in lower greenhouse emissions than traditional corn-based ethanol.
“These biorefineries will play a critical role in helping to bring cellulosic ethanol to market, and teaching us how we can produce it in a more cost effective manner,” Secretary Bodman said. “Ultimately, success in producing inexpensive cellulosic ethanol could be a key to eliminating our nation’s addiction to oil. By relying on American ingenuity and on American farmers for fuel, we will enhance our nation’s energy and economic security.” - U.S. Energy Sectretary Samuel Bodman
The announcement is one part of the Bush Administration’s comprehensive plan to support commercialization of scientific breakthroughs on biofuels. Specifically, these projects directly support the goals of President Bush’s Twenty in Ten Initiative, which aims to increase the use of renewable and alternative fuels in the transportation sector to the equivalent of 35 billion gallons of ethanol a year by 2017 (earlier post).

The following six projects were selected:
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  • Abengoa Bioenergy Biomass [*.pdf - project file]of Kansas, LLC of Chesterfield, Missouri, up to $76 million. The proposed plant will be located in the state of Kansas. The plant will produce 11.4 million gallons of ethanol annually and enough energy to power the facility, with any excess energy being used to power the adjacent corn dry grind mill. The plant will use 700 tons per day of corn stover, wheat straw, milo stubble, switchgrass, and other feedstocks. Abengoa Bioenergy Biomass investors/participants include: Abengoa Bioenergy R&D, Inc.; Abengoa Engineering and Construction, LLC; Antares Corp.; and Taylor Engineering.
  • ALICO, Inc. [*.pdf] of LaBelle, Florida, up to $33 million. The proposed plant will be in LaBelle (Hendry County), Florida. The plant will produce 13.9 million gallons of ethanol a year and 6,255 kilowatts of electric power, as well as 8.8 tons of hydrogen and 50 tons of ammonia per day. For feedstock, the plant will use 770 tons per day of yard, wood, and vegetative wastes and eventually energycane. ALICO, Inc. investors/participants include: Bioengineering Resources, Inc. of Fayetteville, Arkansas; Washington Group International of Boise, Idaho; GeoSyntec Consultants of Boca Raton, Florida; BG Katz Companies/JAKS, LLC of Parkland, Florida; and Emmaus Foundation, Inc.
  • BlueFire Ethanol, Inc. [*.pdf] of Irvine, California, up to $40 million. The proposed plant will be in Southern California. The plant will be sited on an existing landfill and produce about 19 million gallons of ethanol a year. As feedstock, the plant would use 700 tons per day of sorted green waste and wood waste from landfills. BlueFire Ethanol, Inc. investors/participants include: Waste Management, Inc.; JGC Corporation; MECS Inc.; NAES; and PetroDiamond.
  • Broin Companies [*.pdf] of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, up to $80 million. The plant is in Emmetsburg (Palo Alto County), Iowa, and after expansion, it will produce 125 million gallons of ethanol per year, of which roughly 25percent will be cellulosic ethanol. For feedstock in the production of cellulosic ethanol, the plant expects to use 842 tons per day of corn fiber, cobs, and stalks. Broin Companies participants include: E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company; Novozymes North America, Inc.; and DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
  • Iogen Biorefinery Partners [*.pdf] LLC, of Arlington, Virginia, up to $80 million. The proposed plant will be built in Shelley, Idaho, near Idaho Falls, and will produce 18 million gallons of ethanol annually. The plant will use 700 tons per day of agricultural residues including wheat straw, barley straw, corn stover, switchgrass, and rice straw as feedstocks. Iogen Biorefinery Partners, LLC investors/partners include: Iogen Energy Corporation; Iogen Corporation; Goldman Sachs; and The Royal Dutch/Shell Group.
  • Range Fuels [*.pdf] (formerly Kergy Inc.) of Broomfield, Colorado, up to $76 million. The proposed plant will be constructed in Soperton (Treutlen County), Georgia. The plant will produce about 40 million gallons of ethanol per year and 9 million gallons per year of methanol. As feedstock, the plant will use 1,200 tons per day of wood residues and wood based energy crops. Range Fuels investors/participants include: Merrick and Company; PRAJ Industries Ltd.; Western Research Institute; Georgia Forestry Commission; Yeomans Wood and Timber; Truetlen County Development Authority; BioConversion Technology; Khosla Ventures; CH2MHill; Gillis Ag and Timber (earlier post)
Combined with the industry cost share, more than €907million/US$1.2 billion will be invested in the six biorefineries. Negotiations between the selected companies and DOE will begin immediately to determine final project plans and funding levels. Funding will begin this fiscal year and run through FY 2010. EPAct authorized DOE to solicit and fund proposals for the commercial demonstration of advanced biorefineries that use cellulosic feedstocks to produce ethanol and co-produce bioproducts and electricity.

Funding for these projects is an integral part of the President’s Biofuels Initiative that will lead to the wide-scale use of non-food based biomass, such as agricultural waste, trees, forest residues, and perennial grasses in the production of transportation fuels, electricity, and other products. The solicitation, announced a year ago, was initially for three biorefineries and $160 million. However, in an effort to expedite the goals of President Bush’s Advanced Energy Initiative and help achieve the goals of his Twenty in Ten Initiative, within authority of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct 2005), Section 932, Secretary Bodman raised the funding ceiling.

“We had a number of very good proposals, but these six were considered ‘meritorious’ by a merit review panel made up of bioenergy experts. So I thought it would be best to front-end some more funding now, so that we could all reap the benefits of the President’s vision sooner,” Secretary Bodman said.

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