US plant will commercially produce biofuels from waste

From 2012 a US plant will produce advanced biofuels from waste on a commercial scale with plans to licence the technology worldwide.

The $130m (£81m) Indian River BioEnergy Center — a joint venture between INEOS Bio and New Planet Energy — has just begun construction at a former citrus-processing plant site in Vero Beach, Florida.

Using naturally occurring bacteria, the technology is able to convert 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.

When production starts in mid-2012, the plant aims to produce eight million gallons of bioethanol and 6MW (gross) of renewable power, of which approximately two megawatts will be exported to the local community.

The centre has received significant support from the US government as part of its effort to reduce dependence on foreign oil, spur the creation of the domestic biorefining industry and provide new clean-tech jobs throughout the country.

Most recently, the project received a conditional commitment for a $75m (£47m) loan guarantee from the Department of Agriculture as part of its Biorefinery Assistance Program.

Peter Williams, chairman of INPB and chief executive officer of INEOS Bio, said: ‘We are excited to celebrate this important milestone, which moves advanced biofuels a step closer to achieving significant scale.

‘As part of our goal of advancing the biofuels industry, we will continue to license this technology to partners across the US and beyond, bringing secure, renewable fuel and power to communities worldwide.’