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DOE to Provide up to $40 Million in Funding for Two Additional Small-Scale Biorefinery Projects

Locations of DOE major biofuels projects as of 14 July 2008. Click to enlarge.

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has selected two additional small-scale cellulosic biorefinery projects in Park Falls, Wis. and Jennings, La. for federal funding of up to $40 million over five years.

These two biorefinery projects are the final round of selections for DOE’s competitive small-scale biorefinery solicitation. Earlier this year, DOE selected seven other projects, comparable in size and scope, to receive up to a total of $200 million. (Earlier post.)

With the addition of the two new projects announced today, the selected biorefinery projects will receive up to a total of $240 million in DOE funding, subject to appropriations, over the next five fiscal years. Once federal funding is combined with industry cost share, more than $735 million will be invested in these nine projects, over the next four to five years.

On average, commercial-scale biorefineries process roughly 700 tons or more of non-food feedstock per day, with an output of approximately 15-30 million gallons a year (MMGY) of biofuels. These smaller-scale facilities will input approximately 70 tons of feedstock per day—with outputs ranging from 1.5 to 6 MMGY. The selected small-scale projects will produce liquid transportation fuels such as cellulosic ethanol from wood, energy crops and agricultural waste products.

These small-scale projects complement the DOE’s investment in commercial-scale biorefineries. The full-scale biorefineries focus on near-term commercial processes, while the small-scale facilities will verify integrated operations at a reduced size with diverse feedstocks using novel processing technologies.

The two projects are:

  • Flambeau River Biofuels (FRB), LLC of Park Falls, Wis. The proposed biorefinery will be installed in an existing pulp and paper mill in Park Falls, Wis., and will use thermochemical conversion of cellulosic biomass using advanced gasification technologies followed by F-T catalytic conversion to produce renewable liquid fuels and waxes.

    When completed, the facility will produce at least 1 trillion BTUs of renewable energy for the host mill and 6 million gallons of transportation (sulfur-free diesel) fuels per year.

    FRB participants/investors include: ANL Consultants, Auburn University, Brigham Young University, Citigroup Global Markets, CleanTech Partners, Emerging Fuels Technology, Flambeau River Papers, Johnson Timber, National Renewable Energy Lab, Michigan Technological University, NC State University, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, ThermoChem Recovery International, University of Wisconsin, and the USDA Forest Products Laboratory.

  • Verenium Biofuels Corporation of Jennings, La. Construction of Verenium’s 1.5 million gallon per year demonstration-scale cellulosic ethanol facility is underway and is scheduled to be complete in late 2008. (Earlier post.)

    The project is moving to commercialize its proprietary technology for the production of ethanol from a wide array of biomass feedstocks, including sugarcane bagasse, agricultural byproducts, waste wood products, and other non-food based energy crops. The Jennings, Louisiana demonstration plant is operated by Verenium Corporation, which was formed in 2007 through a merger of Celunol Corp, and Diversa Corporation.



One of the previous grant winners, Red Shield Environmental in Old Town, Maine, is currently shut down because the wood chips they use for fuel are too expensive, so who knows what's going to happen to their grant money...


Sounds great.... fire it up! Let's go!


Great. Two new cellulosic demo sites. DOE is doin good.




Demand for land to grow food, fuel crops and wood is set to outstrip supply, leading to the probable destruction of forests, a report warns.

The Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) says only half of the extra land needed by 2030 is available without eating into tropical forested areas.

"Arguably, we are on the verge of a last great global land grab," said RRI's Andy White, co-author of the major report, Seeing People through the Trees.
"It will mean more deforestation, more conflict, more carbon emissions, more climate change and less prosperity for everyone."
Rising demand for food, biofuels and wood for paper, building and industry means that 515 million hectares of extra land will be needed for growing crops and trees by 2030, RRI calculates.
But only 200 million hectares will be available without dipping into tropical forests.

Hold the grants!!!

Biofuel from CO2 sequestration/nuclear energy is the way to go.


The world will need some liquid fuel even after we've used all the remaining fossil sources.

Cellulosic agro-fuel can be sustainable depending on the feed stocks used. Using existing wastes and land areas unfit for food production could be beneficial to most living species.

The agro-fuel and bio-fuel industries must be regulated to avoid short, mid-term and long-term unacceptable applications.


My opinion is, our processes are going to become much more efficient then they are now. The market will demand it and carve it out of what we are doing now. Thus, we are going to use much less liquid fuel. PHEV, High mileage cars, heat pumps, nuclear(Gen IV), wind, EV, Solar and recylcing. All these things will help reduce demand. Aglae and cellulosic will be able to make a dent and allow us to transition to something better without stripping everything in sight.


We are going to need more than 1000 large scale biomass gasification sites in the next 10 years to even begin to make progress.


Biofuel is definitely the way to go, I drive a 10 year old mercedes diesel using the fuel from my facility in Ga. 2 neighbors have used it in their brand new trucks for approximately 2 years. We need a larger facility, that means more investors. Any ideas?

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