That’s A Lot Of Green: DOE Invests $385 Million In Biorefineries

Planned projects will have a capacity of more than 130 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol annually.

U.S. Dept of Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman announced Wednesday that the DOE will invest $385 million in six biorefinery projects in the next four years.

The projects will have the capacity to produce over 130 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol annually, inline with the Bush Administration’s targeted 20 percent gasoline consumption reduction within 10 years.

“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.”

“Skeptics have been saying that commercialization of cellulosic technologies for ethanol production is years away, but the technology for production of ethanol from cellulosic crop residues is ready now,” said Jim Greenwood, Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) president and CEO. “The grants announced today by Secretary Bodman will help bring more ethanol motor fuel to the pump within the next few years, helping to reduce both our reliance on imported oil and our emissions of greenhouse gases.”

“The construction of large-scale biorefineries to convert cellulosic biomass to ethanol and other useful consumer products is a critical step toward bringing recent industrial biotech breakthroughs to the market,” added Brent Erickson, executive vice president of BIO’s Industrial & Environmental Section. “The demonstration biorefineries built with today’s announced grants will help rapidly advance the learning curve, reduce the costs, and increase the efficiency of producing ethanol from cellulose.”

Funding will begin this fiscal year, continuing through FY 2010, divided as follows: Up to $76 million for Abengoa Bioenergy Biomass of Kansas, LLC of Chesterfield, Mo.; up to $33 million for ALICO, Inc of LaBelle, Fla.; up to $40 million for BlueFire Ethanol, Inc. of Irvine, Calif.; up to $80 million for Broin Companies of Sioux Falls, S.D.; up to $80 million for Iogen Biorefinery Partners, LLC of Arlington, Va; and up to $76 million for Range Fuels (formerly Kergy Inc.) of Broomfield, Colo.

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