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By Robert Rapier on Dec 14, 2009 with 2 responses

The DOE Funding Recipients

I am so far behind on the things that I have been intending to write. It is hard to believe that it has already been over a week since the most recent US DOE biorefinery grants were announced. I have been meaning to list them and comment, but I have finally decided just to list them without too much comment. Let’s just say that some of these names have been around for a while and have issued a lot of press releases, but they haven’t produced any biofuel.

The reason for keeping my comments to a minimum is that I have potential conflicts of one sort or another with several of these companies or projects. Sometimes it is just that I know some of the people involved; in other cases it is more complicated than that. But I don’t want to be accused of possible conflicts of interest by getting into some of the names/technologies that I am surprised to see listed. I know that there were also a number of high profile companies (i.e., they issue a lot of press releases) who did not make the cut.

It is probably worth a future post to check into the six prospective cellulosic ethanol plants funded by the DOE in February 2007 (see the list at the bottom of my post here). As far as I know only one – Broin/POET – has completed a project from those funds that is producing cellulosic ethanol.

Below is the list of recent award recipients, from A(lgenol) to Z(eachem), as compiled by Biofuels Digest (the list/description is verbatim from the DOE announcement, but the original DOE link is offline right now). I embedded links to all of the companies. There were nineteen projects awarded, for a grant total of up to $564 million.

And if you ever wondered how the DOE determines the winners and losers, the New York Times did an interesting story on that a few days ago:

How DOE Dealt With a ‘Tsunami’ of Clean-Tech Applicants

The outpouring of grants — and the preponderance of unsuccessful applicants — has stirred curiosity and some complaints over the DOE rating process.

The review involved a series of screening steps that included technology capability, job creation, likelihood of success, and ability to generate matching funds, DOE says.

Rogers was asked whether DOE would make public the winners’ applications and the review teams’ analysis, to shed more light on the decision-making.

“Our plan is not to make that public. First off, all of the [private-sector] reviewers are doing this as a matter of public service, and we don’t need to draw them into getting interviewed about every application.”

The Winners

Bluefire Ethanol
DOE Grant: $81,134,686
Non-fed funding: $223,227,314

Fulton, MS: This project will construct a facility that produces ethanol fuel from woody biomass, mill residue, and sorted municipal solid waste. The facility will have the capacity to produce 19 million gallons of ethanol per year.

Demonstration Scale

BioEnergy International
DOE Grant: $50,000,000
Non-fed funding: $89,589,188

Lake Providence, LA: This project will biologically produce succinic acid from sorghum. The process being developed displaces petroleum based feedstocks and uses less energy per ton of succinic acid produced than its petroleum counterpart.

Enerkem
DOE Grant: $50,000,000
Non-fed funding: $90,470,217

Pontotoc, MS: This project will be sited at an existing landfill and use feedstocks such as woody biomass and biomass removed from municipal solid waste to produce ethanol and other green chemicals through gasification and catalytic processes.

INEOS New Planet BioEnergy
DOE Grant: $50,000,000
Non-fed funding: $50,000,000

Vero Beach, FL: This project will produce ethanol and electricity from wood and vegetative residues and construction and demolition materials. The facility will combine biomass gasification and fermentation, and will have the capacity to produce 8 million gallons of ethanol and 2 megawatts of electricity per year by the end of 2011.

Sapphire Energy
DOE Grant: $50,000,000
Non-fed funding: $85,064,206

Columbus, NM: This project will cultivate algae in ponds that will ultimately be converted into green fuels, such as jet fuel and diesel, using the Dynamic Fuels refining process.

Pilot and Demonstration Scale FOA – Pilot Scale

Algenol Biofuels
DOE grant: $25,000,000
Other funding: $33,915,478

Freeport, TX: This project will make ethanol directly from carbon dioxide and seawater using algae. The facility will have the capacity to produce 100,000 gallons of fuel grade ethanol per year.

American Process
DOE grant: $17,944,902
Other funding: $10,148,508

Alpena, MI: This project will produce fuel and potassium acetate, a compound with many industrial applications, using processed wood generated by Decorative Panels International, an existing hardboard manufacturing facility in Alpena. The pilot plant will have the capacity to produce up to 890,000 gallons of ethanol and 690,000 gallons of potassium acetate per year starting in 2011.

Amyris Biotechnologies
DOE grant: $25,000,000
Other funding: $10,489,763

Emeryville, CA: This project will produce a diesel substitute through the fermentation of sweet sorghum. The pilot plant will also have the capacity to co-produce lubricants, polymers, and other petro-chemical substitutes.

Archer Daniels Midland
DOE funding: $24,834,592
Other funding: $10,946,609

Decatur, IL: This project will use acid to break down biomass which can be converted to liquid fuels or energy. The ADM facility will produce ethanol and ethyl acrylate, a compound used to make a variety of materials, and will also recover minerals and salts from the biomass that can then be returned to the soil.

Clearfuels Technology
DOE funding: $23,000,000
Other funding: $13,433,926

Commerce City, CO: This project will produce renewable diesel and jet fuel from woody biomass by integrating ClearFuels’ and Rentech’s conversion technologies. The facility will also evaluate the conversion of bagasse and biomass mixtures to fuels.

Elevance Renewable Sciences
DOE funding: $2,500,000
Non-Fed funding: $625,000

Newton IA: This project was selected to complete preliminary engineering design for a future facility producing jet fuel, renewable diesel substitutes, and high value chemicals from plant oils and poultry fat.

Gas Technology Institute
DOE funding: $2,500,000
Non-Fed funding: $625,000

Des Plaines, IL. This project was selected to complete preliminary engineering design for a novel process to produce green gasoline and diesel from woody biomass, agricultural residues, and algae.

Haldor Topsoe
DOE funding: $25,000,000
Non-Fed funding: $9,701,468

Des Plaines, IL. This project will convert wood to green gasoline by fully integrating and optimizing a multi?step gasification process. The pilot plant will have the capacity to process 21 metric tons of feedstock per day.

ICM
DOE funding: $25,000,000
Non-Fed funding: $6,268,136

St. Joseph, MO. This project will modify an existing corn ethanol facility to produce cellulosic ethanol from switchgrass and energy sorghum using biochemical conversion processes.

Logos Technologies
DOE funding: $20,445,849
Non-Fed funding: $5,113,962

Visalia, CA. This project will convert switchgrass and woody biomass into ethanol using a biochemical conversion processes.

Renewable Energy Institute International
DOE funding: $19,980,930

Non-Fed funding: $5,116,072

Toledo, OH. This project will produce high quality green diesel from agriculture and forest residues using advanced pyrolysis and steam reforming. The pilot plant will have the capacity to process 25 dry tons of feedstock per day.

Solazyme
DOE funding: $21,765,738
Non-Fed funding: $3,857,111

Riverside PA. This project will validate the projected economics of a commercial scale biorefinery producing multiple advanced biofuels. This project will produce algae oil that can be converted to oil based fuels.

Honeywell’s UOP
DOE funding: $25,000,000
Non-Fed funding: $6,685,340

Kapolei, HI. This project will integrate existing technology from Ensyn and UOP to produce green gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel from agricultural residue, woody biomass, dedicated energy crops, and algae.

ZeaChem
DOE funding: $25,000,000
Non-Fed funding: $625,000

Boardman, OR: This project will use purpose grown hybrid poplar trees to produce fuel-grade ethanol using hybrid technology. Additional feedstocks such as agricultural residues and energy crops will also be evaluated in the pilot plant.

  1. By Tesla_X on December 4, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    “It is probably worth a future post to check into the six prospective cellulosic ethanol plants funded by the DOE in February 2007 (see the list at the bottom of my post here).”

    Have you posted an update to this?

    [link]      
  2. By Robert Rapier on December 4, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    Have you posted an update to this?

    No, but of those listed nobody built a plant per the description provided when the funding was released. To my knowledge, of the six only Range is even building a plant, and it isn’t remotely like what they had said it would be. So nobody on that list delivered.

    RR

    [link]      
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