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Southeast ethanol producers get USDA boost

• These loan guarantees will be instrumental in bringing advanced and cellulosic ethanol production to the commercial market.

The Renewable Fuels Association is welcoming an announcement from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that 3 cellulosic and advanced ethanol producers were receiving $405 million in loan guarantees from the agency.

“These loan guarantees will be absolutely instrumental in bringing advanced and cellulosic ethanol production to the commercial market,” said RFA President Bob Dinneen. “Secretary Vilsack and the team at USDA are providing a timely and much needed boost to help this nation realize its potential for domestically-produced renewable alternatives to imported oil. Together with existing ethanol technologies, advanced and cellulosic ethanol production promise to displace significant gasoline use, reducing our costly dependence on petroleum and improving the environment for generations to come. The RFA congratulates USDA and each recipient.”

The loan guarantees are part of the USDA’s 9003 Biorefinery Loan Guarantee Program. Capital concerns brought on by the recession and the failure of some federal loan guarantees to be accessible for renewable liquid fuel technologies have slowed the deployment of advanced and cellulosic ethanol production.

“Access to capital is the chief hindrance to the rapid commercialization of advanced and cellulosic ethanol production,” said Dinneen. “President Obama has been clear about his vision for the continued evolution of American ethanol production. Today’s announcement helps bring that vision into greater focus.”

Among those receiving a USDA loan guarantee is RFA Board Member Coskata Inc. Coskata has been notified by USDA of its intent to provide the company a $250 million loan guarantee, the largest ever given to a biofuel producer, for construction of a facility in Greene County, Ala., that will utilize Coskata’s proprietary technology to turn woody biomass into ethanol. More on Coskata can be found here.

Another RFA member, INEOS New Planet Energy, will receive a $75 million loan guarantee to construct and operate a biorefinery that will produce 8 million gallons of cellulosic-based ethanol and 6 MW of electricity. The facility will utilize vegetative waste (citrus and agricultural wastes), yard wastes, wood waste, and municipal solid waste. The facility will be built in Vero Beach, Fla. More on INEOS New Planet Energy is available here.

The final recipient is Enerkem Corporation. The company will receive an $80 million loan guarantee to build a 10 million gallon per year advanced ethanol facility in Pontotoc, Miss. The facility will used dried, post-sorted municipal solid waste as the feedstock. More on Enerkem can be found here. 

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