IN FEBRUARY, The Department of Energy (DOE) announced it will invest up to $385 million for six biorefinery projects over the next four years. When fully operational, the biorefineries are expected to produce more than 130 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol per year. The department selected the following projects:

Abengoa Bioenergy Biomass of Kansas LLC, Chesterfield, MO, up to $76 million. The proposed plant will be located in Kansas and will produce 11.4 million gallons of ethanol annually and enough energy to power the facility. Any excess energy will be used to power an adjacent corn dry grind mill. The plant will use 700 tons/day of corn stover, wheat straw, milo stubble, switchgrass and other feedstocks.

ALICO Inc., LaBelle, FL, up to $33 million. The proposed plant will be in LaBelle, FL, and will produce 13.9 million gallons of ethanol a year and 6,255 kW of electric power, as well as 8.8 tons of hydrogen and 50 tons of ammonia per day. The plant will use 770 tons/day of yard, wood and vegetative wastes, and eventually energycane.

BlueFire Ethanol Inc., Irvine, CA, up to $40 million. The proposed plant will be in southern California on an existing landfill and will produce about 19 million gallons of ethanol a year. The plant will use 700 tons/day of sorted green waste and wood waste from landfills.

Poet (formerly Broin Companies), Sioux Falls, SD, up to $80 million. After expansion, the Emmetsburg, IA, plant will produce 125 million gallons of ethanol a year. The plant expects to use 842 tons/day of corn fiber and cobs.

Iogen Biorefinery Partners LLC, Arlington, VA, up to $80 million. The proposed plant will be built in Shelley, ID, and will produce 18 million gallons of ethanol annually. The plant will use 700 tons/day of agricultural residues, including wheat straw, barley straw, corn stover, switchgrass and rice straw.

Range Fuels (formerly Kergy Inc.), Broomfield, CO, up to $76 million. The proposed plant will be constructed in Soperton, GA, and will produce about 40 million gallons of ethanol per year and 9 million gallons per year of methanol. The plant will use 1,200 tons/day of wood residues and wood-based energy crops.

In March, the DOE announced more than $23 million in federal funding will be available, subject to negotiation of final project plans and funding, for five projects focused on developing highly efficient fermentative organisms to convert biomass material to ethanol. The projects and the amounts they may receive are as follows:

  • Cargill Inc., up to $4.4 million
  • Celunol Corporation, up to $5.3 million
  • E.I. Dupont de Nemours & Company, up to $3.7 million
  • Mascoma Corporation, up to $4.9 million
  • Purdue University, up to $5.0 million