INEOS Bio JV Closes $75M in private financing under USDA loan guarantee program for advanced BioEnergy Center in Florida
INEOS Bio announced that its joint-venture project, INEOS New Planet BioEnergy (INPB), has finalized $75 million in private financing utilizing the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) loan guarantee program for its new Indian River BioEnergy Center located in Florida. (Earlier post.) This is the first large-scale advanced bioenergy project in the United States to finalize its financing in the latest round under the USDA government program to commercialize biorefinery technology.
The financing concludes all necessary funding to complete the project and will be used for equipment, engineering and construction of the BioEnergy Center. The BioEnergy Center, located near Vero Beach, Florida, is a commercial-scale project that will produce eight million gallons (24kta) of advanced biofuels and six megawatts (gross) of renewable power annually from renewable biomass including local yard, vegetative and household wastes.
The project will use INEOS Bio’s feedstock-flexible BioEnergy technology, which uses a combination of gasification and fermentation technology to turn different types of waste materials—including municipal solid waste—into ethanol and renewable power. The INEOS Bio process has three main steps:
Gasification. The prepared organic carbon material is gasified using a controlled amount of oxygen to produce synthesis gas. The gasifier design and operating conditions have been carefully chosen to inhibit the formation of dioxins and furans and to suppress the carry-over of volatile metals. The hot synthesis gas is quenched and cleaned. Heat is recovered to generate renewable power for use in the process as well as export to the grid.
Fermentation. The cleaned, cooled synthesis gas is passed into a patented fermentation process, where it is converted selectively into ethanol by naturally occurring anaerobic bacteria (the biocatalyst). The fermentation environment, containing the right quantity and type of nutrients, is maintained at carefully controlled conditions. The bacteria achieve a high selectivity to ethanol and high yield of ethanol. The high selectivity and yield translate to process efficiencies. The off-gas from the fermenter is used to generate additional power for export to the local electricity grid.
Purification. The ethanol solution is purified and refined to make anhydrous ethanol (>99.7% ethanol). This can be blended into the gasoline pool for the renewable fuels market.
When completed, the project is slated to be one of the first projects in the US to produce advanced cellulosic biofuels under the new Renewable Fuel Standard and provide renewable power for 1400 homes in the area.
The financing for the project includes a $75-million privately financed loan backed by a guarantee from the USDA through its 9003 Biorefinery Assistance program. Construction is already approximately 20% complete at the BioEnergy Center, and will be completed by end April 2012.
As the first plant to use INEOS Bio’s advanced bioenergy technology, the BioEnergy Center will serve as a reference plant demonstrating the economic conversion of a variety of different biomass feedstocks into advanced biofuel and renewable power at full commercial scale. To meet the US Government’s goal of replicating the technology, INEOS Bio will enter into licensing agreements with third parties to build similar commercial bioenergy plants to supply advanced bioethanol and renewable electricity around the US and the world.
INEOS New Planet BioEnergy (INPB) is a joint venture between INEOS Bio and New Planet Energy. With strong support from the USDA, DOE and the State of Florida, INPB is building the Indian River Bioenergy Center and laying the foundation for full commercial-scale development of the biorefining industry in the United States. In 2009, the project was awarded a $50 million cost matching grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and a $2.5 million dollar cost matching grant from the State of Florida.