On June 26, 2012, Edeniq, Inc., officially launched its first-of-a-kind Corn to Cellulosic Migration (CCM) pilot-scale biorefinery in California that will be able to produce 50,000 gallons per year of cellulosic ethanol. The new plant utilizes its patented Cellunator™ technology to process non-food feedstocks, such as corn stover, switchgrass, and other non-starch biomass. Representing a breakthrough in cellulosic biofuels production, the Cellunator™ technology will enable migration of first generation corn-based biofuel plants to second generation cellulosic feedstocks. The launch of the Edeniq CCM biorefinery project has created 31 jobs and represents an early success made possible by a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) investment of $20.5 million in funding provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act).
The DOE Bioenergy Technologies Office has been able to fund more than 35 projects with the $718 million provided by the Recovery Act—projects that will advance biofuels research and speed commercialization of advanced biofuels and bioproducts. These projects will create at least 2,600 new jobs during the 2009–2014 timespan.
Recovery Act awards have also spurred the creation of a competitive, sustainable, green marketplace, advancing exciting projects, such as the following:
American Process Inc. – Pilot-Scale
Partnering with Cobalt Technologies, a world-wide leader in commercial biobutanol production, American Process Inc. was the recipient of an $18 million grant from the Recovery Act, which was applied to the construction of their new Alpena Prototype Biorefinery
that has recently commenced startup and commissioning operations. The Alpena, Michigan, biorefinery will begin producing biobutanol mid-2012 and will have a production capacity of 470,000 gallons annually. Biobutanol has all the benefits of ethanol and offers significant additional benefits: it can be blended with gasoline at up to 16% in standard engines— a mix that can potentially reduce greenhouse gas emissions twice as much as the current 10% ethanol blend. Utilizing its patented Green+ technology for extracting hemicellulose sugars from woody biomass, American Process Inc.’s Alpena Prototype Biorefinery has already created 21 jobs.
ClearFuels Technology Inc. – Demonstration-Scale
In Commerce City, Colorado, ClearFuels Technology Inc. and Rentech, Inc. have partnered for a joint effort to produce renewable diesel, jet, and naphtha fuels from wood chips and bagasse. Through $22.6 million in Recovery Act funds
awarded by the Bioenergy Technologies Office, the integrated biorefinery project is utilizing ClearFuels’ High Efficiency Hydrothermal Reformer technology integrated with Rentech’s Fischer-Tropsch technology. In March 2012, the project had completed final commissioning of all major plant systems and proceeded to begin the startup and operations phase. The plant, which created more than 36 jobs, will have an operational capacity of 20 tons per day.
ZeaChem Inc. – Pilot-Scale
ZeaChem Inc. was awarded $25 million in Recovery Act funds to construct its biorefinery located in Boardman, Oregon
. The facility, once completed, will produce 250,000 gallons per year of cellulosic ethanol, highlighting its “grow where you go” strategy with a system that can process herbaceous crops, agricultural residues, and other renewable biomass sources. ZeaChem has also contracted with GreenWood Resources to supply sustainably harvested hybrid popular as the biorefinery’s main feedstock. The project is expected to create 292 direct and indirect jobs.
Myriant – Demonstration-Scale
Myriant Technologies, Inc., producer of biobased and renewable chemicals, received $50 million from the Recovery Act toward the completion of their Succinic Acid Biorefinery Project
. Utilizing 50 dry tons per day of sorghum and other cellulosic materials, Myriant aims to produce 30 million pounds of succinic acid annually, creating over 250 construction jobs during plant construction, as well as 50 full-time operational jobs once the plant is finished. Projects such as Myriant’s directly support the Bioenergy Technologies Office's efforts to “replace the whole barrel” and further reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil.
National Advanced Biofuels Consortium (NABC) and the National Alliance for Advanced Biofuels and Bioproducts (NAABB)
The NABC and the NAABB were the recipients of $33.8 million and $44 million grants, respectively
, from the Recovery Act. The two biofuel consortia are working to remove barriers to commercialization and investing in research of advanced fuels that are compatible with current liquid fuel infrastructure systems such as pipelines and pumps. The NABC, with help from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, will focus on cutting-edge research to develop production of hydrocarbon fuels from biomass, whereas the NAABB, assisted by the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, will be looking to develop a systems-level understanding for the production of algal biofuels and bioproducts on a commercial scale.
Advanced Biofuels Process Demonstration Unit (ABPDU)
Located at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) in Emeryville, California, ABPDU
was constructed and is operated by funds received from the Recovery Act. The 15,000 sq. ft. installation serves as a cutting-edge testing facility for the development of advanced biofuels and is made available to Bioenergy Research Centers, DOE-supported researchers, and academic institutions. It is also available to nonprofit research organizations, and biofuels research and development companies to test technological feasibility of their processes. With major capabilities in the areas of thermochemical pretreatment, enzymatic biomass saccharification, biofuel fermentation, enzyme fermentation, downstream processing and analytical technologies, the ABPDU at LBNL will serve a key role in the testing and analysis of future biofuel production processes.
For more information about how the Energy Department's Bioenergy Technologies Office has used Recovery Act funding to promote successful research and development efforts, read our factsheet