Pennsylvania’s first ethanol production facility will locate in Clearfield County, according to Governor Ed Rendell.
Bioenergy International will build and operate the 108-million-gallon corn-based ethanol plant, and Lukoil Americas—the US arm of Russian oil major Lukoil—will be the exclusive distributor of the finished product. In addition to the corn-ethanol plant, BioEnergy is building a smaller pilot-scale cellulosic ethanol plant using Bioenergy’s technology to produce the fuel from organic wastes such as wood and agricultural residue.
At the announcement, the Governor presented BioEnergy with $17.4 million in state investments to support the $250 million project. The majority of these funds, $180 million, will support the building of the primary plant, with the remaining $70 million going towards the development of the pilot-scale cellulose demonstration plant.
The primary plant will employ conventional corn-based technology and will be among the largest east of the Mississippi River, and one of the nation’s top 10, based on output. BioEnergy will use process design from Delta-T.
The growth potential for cellulosic ethanol is substantial. The commonwealth contains enough plant matter to produce in excess of 500 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol per year. In addition, Pennsylvania very well could be the nation’s leading producer of soy biodiesel within the year, going from practically zero last year to a projected 40 million gallons of annual production as more than 20 proposed biodiesel projects are in various stages of development throughout the state.
The return on this investment will be beyond measure. Ethanol production will provide a significant contribution to Pennsylvania's economy, impacting everyone from the farmers who grow the corn, the plant employees who manufacture the fuel, and the motorists who use it in their automobiles.—Governor Rendell
Bioenergy International is focused on the early commercialization of products produced by microbial fermentations of sugars derived from biomass. It is currently working on improving its process technology for cellulosic ethanol production, especially including the fermentation of sugars generated from the processing of the cellulose components of agricultural wastes to extend and cost improve its corn-based process technology. Its goal is to have this technology ready for commercial deployment by 2008.
The company’s second priority is the development of technologies for the production of specialty chemicals via the microbial fermentation of biomass sugars, including the cellulosic pentose and hexose sugar components. To that end, BioEnergy has obtained an exclusive, worldwide license from the University of Florida to technology developed by Dr. Lonnie Ingram and the University that includes organisms modified to ferment all sugars derived from biomass to produce selected specialty chemicals; the process technology for genetically engineering the organisms; and the development of the organisms for commercialization, excluding ethanol.
Celunol (formerly BC International), another cellulosic ethanol provider, has an exclusive license to the University of Florida/Ingram technology for the microbial production of ethanol from biomass. The process uses genetically engineered E. coli bacteria. (Earlier post.)
Celunol is currently building a cellulosic ethanol commercial demonstration facility in Jennings, Louisiana. (Earlier post.)