SGP BioEnergy Lands $250M to Develop Panama Biorefinery

an ariel view of an ethanol biorefinery in action.

(Credit: Canva)

by | Oct 9, 2023

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SGP BioEnergy, a bioenergy development company based in New York, has received a $250 million commitment from Global Emerging Markets (GEM) for the development of its Golden City Biorefinery in Colon, Panama.

The biorefinery will produce up to 180,000 barrels daily and generate up to 405,000 metric tons of green hydrogen annually. According to SGP BioEnergy, it will be one of the largest advanced biorefineries in the world. The project also aims to meet the 17 sustainable development goals of the United Nations. GEM is an alternative investment group that manages a diverse set of investment vehicles focused on emerging markets across the world.

Hydrogen Market

The funding for the biorefinery comes as green hydrogen is gaining traction as an alternative to fossil fuels. Recently, the United Kingdom and Germany penned an agreement to accelerate the development of the international hydrogen industry. Both countries also are targeting to increase the role of low-carbon hydrogen in their nations’ energy mix. Plus, powering oil rigs with hydrogen is being floated as one potential solution to reduce the carbon impact of the oil industry.

According to SGP BioEnergy, the project will have a big economic impact on the industry’s growth.

“This project will have a resounding impact, not just in Panama, but globally,” Mariano Rivera, equity investor and Hall of Fame New York Yankees pitcher, said in a statement.

Funding Agreement

With the funding commitment in place, development of the facility is scheduled to begin its first phase in early 2027. Once operational, the facility will produce advanced biofuel, mostly sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and green hydrogen. SAF is a biofuel used to power aircraft with a smaller carbon footprint.

“Securing this commitment of equity of this scale is one of many financing milestones necessary to accelerate our journey towards meeting the policy pledges of the United Nations by delivering on the implementation necessary to meet these mandates,” Randy Delbert Letang, CEO of SGP BioEnergy, said in a statement.

Beyond the $250 million equity commitment, GEM is also focused on identifying and funding potential synergistic partners to support the development of the biorefinery.

The funding announcement also comes after SGP signed a definitive agreement with the Latino Farmers and Ranchers International organization (LFRI) during the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly. LFRI represents Latino farmers, ranchers, and producers throughout the United States and manages over 32 million acres of production. The agreement commits to developing a minimum of 10 million acres of industrial hemp for SGP’s biorefinery and biomanufacturing efforts.


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