INEOS New Planet BioEnergy (INPB), a joint venture between INEOS Bio and New Planet Energy, broke ground in February on the first U.S. facility to produce advanced biofuels from waste on a commercial scale. The $130 million Indian River BioEnergy Center in Vero Beach, Fla., will convert yard, vegetative and household wastes into cellulosic ethanol and renewable power for the local community.
The technology was developed by INEOS Bio, which will license the BioEnergy technology globally. The center will be the first commercial scale project in the world to feature this technology. Using naturally occurring bacteria, the process converts gases derived directly from biomass into bioethanol. Unlike other technologies that rely on one primary source of feedstock, the INEOS Bio process can produce ethanol and renewable energy from numerous non-food feedstocks, including construction and municipal solid waste, forestry and agricultural waste. This flexibility also allows facilities like the Indian River site to be built anywhere in the world, wherever there is waste.
“We are excited to celebrate this important milestone, which moves advanced biofuels a step closer to achieving significant scale, enabling the U.S. to achieve a leading position in the bioenergy sector,” said Peter Williams, chairman of INPB and CEO of INEOS Bio. “As part of our goal of advancing the biofuels industry, educating people about the benefits of this technology and creating demand for advanced biofuels, we will continue to license this world-changing technology to partners across the U.S. and beyond, bringing secure, renewable fuel and power to communities worldwide.”
When production starts in mid-2012, the Indian River BioEnergy Center will produce 8 million gal of bioethanol and 6 MW (gross) of renewable power, of which approximately 2 MW will be exported to the local community. This renewable electricity will be able to power 1400 homes. Located at a former citrus processing plant site, the center will provide 380 direct and indirect jobs (including 175 construction jobs) over the next two years and 50 full-time jobs in Indian River County, where current unemployment is at 13.6%.
“We have received strong support from the Federal and State Government and are pleased that this BioEnergy Center will bring significant economic and environmental benefits to the region,” said INPB President David King. “Our goal is to not only create a local source for advanced biofuels and renewable energy, but also to enable people world-wide to learn about this exciting, new clean energy technology.”
In addition to support from the State of Florida in the form of a $2.5 million grant, the center has received support from the U.S. government as part of its ongoing effort to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil, spur the creation of the domestic biorefining industry and provide new cleantech jobs throughout the country. In late 2009, the project received a $50 million Grant from the U.S. Department of Energy as part of its Section 932 Integrated Biorefinery program and it will be the first large-scale commercial project awarded under this program to begin construction. More recently, the project received a conditional commitment for a $75 million loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Agriculture as part of its Biorefinery Assistance Program.
Filed Under: Energy management + harvesting, Green engineering