Feds Invest $564M in Advanced Biomass Projects

by | Dec 7, 2009

switchgrassTo help build the foundation of a biomass industry in the United States, the U.S. Departments of Energy and Agriculture have selected 19 biorefinery projects in 15 states to receive up to $564 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. These projects were chosen to speed up the construction and operation of pilot, demonstration, and commercial-scale facilities for advanced biofuels, biopower and bioproducts using biomass feedstocks.

Of the $564 million, 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. 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, according to the energy department.

Here’s a sampling of some of the projects.

In Ohio, a $25-million biorefinery pilot project on the Health Science Campus at the University of Toledo was awarded $19.9 million, according to a press release from Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur’s office. The Toledo pilot plant will refine biodiesel out of agricultural and forest product residue.

Alpena, Michigan-based American Process Inc. has been awarded nearly $18 million for biofuel production, reports Manufacturing & Technology eJournal. The new plant will be constructed on a 29-acre site adjacent to DPI’s Alpena facility and will use DPI’s waste material to make cellulosic ethanol and sodium acetate, a commercial de-icer, according to the article.

The USDA Rural Development has selected San Diego, California-based Sapphire Energy to receive a loan guarantee for up to $54.5 million through the Biorefinery Assistance Program to demonstrate an integrated algal biorefinery process that will cultivate algae in ponds to produce an intermediate that will used in green fuels such as jet fuel and diesel. The project will be constructed in Columbus, New Mexico.

Tim Zenk, vice president for corporate affairs for Sapphire Energy, told the LA Times that the company also received a $50-million grant from the Department of Energy.

ZeaChem Inc., based in Lakewood, Colo., is receiving $25 million in funding to speed construction and operation of a pilot scale cellulosic ethanol plant in Oregon, reports The East Oregonian. The company will use the grant in conjunction with its existing investment, according to the article.

The pilot plant will have capacity of 250,000 gallons per year, which will be scaled to produce 25 to 50 million gallons of ethanol annually after successful completion of the pilot program, reports the Oregon newspaper.

Clearfuels Technology Inc., based in Hawaii, has received $23 million in funding to work on a biorefinery project in Commerce City, reports the Denver Business Journal. The project will produce renewable diesel and jet fuel from woody biomass, and will bring 43 construction jobs to the city and 11 additional jobs at the facility, according to the article.

Click here (PDF) for a complete list of projects.

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