The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a conditional commitment for a $70-million loan guarantee to help build a cellulosic biorefinery in central Georgia. USDA is providing the loan guarantee conditional commitment through its Biorefinery Assistance Program.
Ensyn Georgia Biorefinery I, LLC (Ensyn) will construct and operate a cellulosic biofuel refinery in Dooly County, Georgia. The company will produce 20 million gallons of renewable fuel per year employing its Rapid Thermal Processing (RTP) technology. RTP uses a fast thermal process to convert non-food-based feedstocks into biobased fuels.
Ensyn will convert 440 dry tons of woody biomass into a renewable fuel oil (RFO) product. There is an abundant supply of woody biomass near the plant due to excess forest materials in the region. However, Ensyn can use a variety of other non-food cellulosic feedstocks as well.
RFO can be used as a renewable heating fuel and also as a renewable feedstock for petroleum refineries. As a renewable heating fuel, RFO directly displaces fossil fuels in institutional and industrial boilers. RFO heating fuel is presently in commercial use, and its markets are expanding.
As a renewable cellulosic feedstock for refineries, RFO is coprocessed with traditional refinery feedstocks leading to the production of ASTM-specification gasoline and diesel fuels in an application known as Refinery Coprocessing. Refinery Coprocessing has been successfully demonstrated in numerous test, pilot and demonstration facilities, including demonstrations in operating commercial refineries. Ensyn has established a strategic alliance with Honeywell UOP for a broad commercialization of Refinery Coprocessing.
Ensyn has designed and commissioned 14 plants employing its proprietary RTP technology, six of which are currently in commercial operation. These include five plants producing specialty chemicals and heating fuels that are owned by third parties and supported by Ensyn, including one RTP plant that has been in operation for over 20 years.
In addition, Ensyn owns and operates a three million gallon/year RTP facility in Renfrew, Ontario, using the same core RTP technology for the production of RFO. RFO from this facility is being sold to heating clients in the US Northeast under long-term contracts and spare capacity is being maintained to seed the market in advance of larger production units being developed in Canada, Brazil and the US.
Ensyn’s Ontario facility has been qualified by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the US Renewable Fuel Standard program and RFO sales to US heating fuel clients are generating D7 cellulosic Renewable Identification Numbers under this program.
The US$70-million conditional loan guarantee, with Citi as lender of record, is a key step in advancing the establishment of Ensyn’s first dedicated RFO fuels facility in the US. Additional information on the project will be disclosed once certain commercial arrangements have been finalized.
Ensyn Georgia Biorefinery I, LLC is wholly owned by Ensyn Development Partners, LLC (EDP), a joint venture of Ensyn and Renova Capital Partners LLC (Renova). The role of EDP is to develop and finance certain projects in the United States, deploying Ensyn’s RTP technology to produce renewable fuels and refinery feedstocks from cellulosic biomass. The first such project is the Project in Georgia.
The Lender of Record under the loan guarantee is Citi.
Congress extended the Biorefinery Assistance Program in the 2014 Farm Bill and expanded it to include renewable chemicals and biobased product manufacturing. The program provides guarantees for loans made by commercial lenders to fund the development of biorefineries for the production of advanced biofuels and renewable chemicals and biobased product manufacturing facilities.