The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has approved a conditional commitment for a $25 million guaranteed loan to build a biorefinery plant with funding support from USDA’s Biorefinery Assistance Program. The plant will be constructed by Fiberight, LLC, based in Blairstown, Iowa.
USDA funding will be used to construct a 55,000 square foot facility that will produce cellulosic ethanol by converting municipal solid waste and other industrial pulps into advanced biofuels, as well as using conventional renewable biofuel derived from seed corn waste. When operational, the facility is expected to produce approximately 3.6 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol per year.
Fiberight’s Targeted Fuel Extraction (TFE) process recognizes that sold waste is neither homogeneous nor fully convertible to energy. Fiberight’s system bifurcates organic and inorganic wastes and converts them according to type. The TFE process separates, cleans and processes organic and hydrocarbon fractions then converts the organic fraction into cellulosic biofuel, the hydrocarbon fraction into plant energy and electricity, and the inert fraction into recyclables or beneficial products.
Novel technologies such as enzyme recycling and cellulosic sugar concentration have been developed to control costs and the company has tested these processes on a commercial scale. During 2009, Fiberight achieved high yield conversion factors at its Lawrenceville, VA pilot plant due to the evolution of the enzyme catalysts used in strategic partnership with technical partner, Novozymes.
The process will use a cellulosic microbe to produce up to 15% more ethanol than traditional fermentation technology, and reduce energy inputs in the fermentation and distillation process.
|Fiberight processes. Click to enlarge.|
Under the conditional commitment, Fiberight must meet specified conditions before the loan guarantee can be completed. Other funding comes from the State of Iowa. Fiberight also received a $2.5 million grant from the Iowa Power Fund in 2010. The company will work with the Benton County landfill to supply a portion of the feedstock for the project. The total project cost is estimated at $59.5 million. Fiberight, LLC was incorporated in 2007 for the purpose of converting an existing ethanol facility into a cellulosic ethanol facility in Blairstown.
In addition to the commercial-scale project in Blairstown, Fiberight will have a smaller-scale but fully integrated plant operating in Lawrenceville, Virginia in 2012.