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AE Biofuels secures $4.5M for retrofit and restart of ethanol facility; introduction of cellulosic ethanol technology

AE Biofuels, Inc.’s wholly-owned advanced ethanol subsidiary AE Advanced Fuels Keyes, Inc. (AE Keyes), closed a $4.5 million financing with Third Eye Capital Corporation. The funds will be used for the repair, restart and operation of an existing 55 million gallon per year ethanol plant located in Keyes, California.

AE Biofuels integrated starch and cellulose process plant. Source: AE Biofuels. Click to enlarge.

AE Biofuels intends to introduce its patent-pending enzyme-based cellulosic ethanol technology at the Keyes facility and other California ethanol plants in 2011.

AE Keyes plans to retrofit the Keyes plant and be fully operational by the first quarter of 2011. The original $130-million construction and commissioning of the plant was completed in November 2008 by Cilion, Inc. In early 2009 the plant was closed due to technical and market issues. AE Keyes took possession of the facility under a project agreement with Cilion in March 2010, and has signed a facility lease for up to three years.

In January 2010, the permissible per gallon ethanol blend in California increased from 5.7% to 10%, expanding the state’s ethanol market to approximately 1.5 billion gallons annually. As the State of California seeks to promote renewable, low-carbon intensity fuels, AE Keyes has been notified by the California Energy Commission (CEC) that the Keyes Plant’s application has been approved to participate in the California Ethanol Producer Incentive Program (CEPIP). The CEPIP is designed to provide price assurance for low-carbon intensity California ethanol producers.

AE Biofuels, Inc. is a global vertically integrated biofuels company based in Cupertino, California. Its wholly-owned Universal Biofuels subsidiary built and operates a nameplate 50 million gallon per year biodiesel production facility on the east coast of India.



I figured that they would do cellulose "front ends" for existing ethanol plants. Since speculators increased the price of corn and put the plants in a bind, they needed a Plan B.

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