DOE Invests $564M in Advanced Biorefinery Projects

Dec 7 2009 | 6:49am ET

The United States will invest $564 million in 19 integrated biorefinery projects to produce advanced biofuels, biopower and bioproducts from biomass feedstocks.

The projects will accelerate the construction and operation of pilot, demonstration and commercial-scale facilities in 15 states.

Steven ChuSteven Chu“Advanced biofuels are critical to building a cleaner, more sustainable transportation system in the U.S.” said Energy Secretary Steven Chu. “These projects will help establish a domestic industry that will create jobs here at home and open new markets across rural America.”

Of the nearly $564 million in Recovery Act funding announced today, up to $483 million will go to 14 pilot and four demonstration-scale biorefinery projects across the country. The remaining $81 million will focus on accelerating the construction of a biorefinery project previously awarded funding. Collectively, 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.

Projects include a loan guarantee of $54.5 million to San Diego, California based Sapphire Energy to demonstrate an integrated algal biorefinery process that will cultivate algae in ponds, and use dewatering and oil extraction technology to produce an intermediate that will then be processed into drop-in green fuels such as jet fuel and diesel. The actual project will be constructed in Columbus, New Mexico.

Texas-based Algenol Biofuels, Inc will receive $25 million to make ethanol directly from carbon dioxide and seawater using algae. The facility will have the capacity to produce 100,000 gallons of fuel-grade ethanol per year.

Clearfuels Technology, Inc will receive $23 million to produce renewable diesel and jet fuel from woody biomass in Commerce City, Colorado.

And ZeaChem, Inc will receive $25 million to use purpose-grown hybrid poplar trees to produce fuel-grade ethanol using hybrid technology. The pilot plant will also evaluate additional feedstocks such as agricultural residues and energy crops.

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