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Abengoa Bioenergy to Build Major Fourth Ethanol Plant in US

Abengoa Bioenergy has obtained financing to build its fourth ethanol plant in the US, a 330 million liter (87 million gallon) per year facility in Ravenna, Nebraska. The plant will almost double Abengoa’s current US capacity of 365 million liters (96 million gallons) per year.

The US$90-million plant will be the largest such in Nebraska. Due to come online in 2007, the plant will consume around 800,000 tons of corn per year as the feedstock.

Abengoa Bioenergy is Europe’s leading ethanol producer, and number two in the world, with two plants in Spain—Ecocarburantes Españoles and Bioetanol Galicia—offering a total capacity of 150 and 170 million liters per year, respectively.

The company is developing a third plant in Salamanca, Biocarburantes de Castilla y León, with a capacity of 200 million liters per year, of which five million will be obtained from the conversion of cereal biomass by means of a new technology being developed by Abengoa Bioenergy R&D. (Earlier post.)


Lance Funston

Could we get a plant a bit closer to California, please?
There is a big gap in biofuels for California.

Ethanol production in the midwest is dominated by big ag and industrialized corn production leading to serious questions about its sustainability. A plant that makes cellulocic ethanol from ag waste (rice hulls) would bring more ethanol to CA and make it more sustainable.


>> A plant that makes cellulocic ethanol from ag waste (rice hulls) would bring more ethanol to CA and make it more sustainable. <<

The issue here is that the cellulose --> ethanol technology has only been perfected by 1 company (Iogen I think) that I know of (other companies are working on it too) and it has run it in a small experimental facility. Iogen is only now planning and constructing a true production volume facility for a "first run" in a year or two I believe. After that, then it can really be sold and used.

My guess is that that technology is about 4-5 years away from real production use (and that'll be for a few first adopters). In the mean time Corn is going to be the main way here in the U.S. despite the resources it takes to produce it. The fact that the cellulose --> ethanol technology is going to take so long to get out (build plants to use it) is very frustrating.


If there are any nitrate plants in California, perhaps you could start a joint venture with Rentech to produce fixed nitrogen, Fischer-Tropsch fuels and electricity from crop wastes such as rice straw and hulls.  Here's my take on doing it with corn stover.

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