BlueFire Ethanol Receives First Installment of DOE Grant Funds

BlueFire Ethanol Fuels Inc. has received the first installment of funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for the development of the BlueFire Mecca LLC plant in Southern California. Upon completion, the plant will produce approximately 17 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol per year from green waste, wood waste, and other cellulosic urban wastes.

Receipt of this funding comes after BlueFire’s selection last year as a recipient of a portion of US $40 million in DOE funding aimed at increasing the use of renewable and alternative fuels and commercializing cellulosic ethanol through the support of mid- to large-scale projects.

“This facility represents the future of alternative fuel production,” said Arnold Klann, CEO of BlueFire Ethanol. “It will serve as the effective meeting place of demand and supply, bringing cellulosic ethanol to market while simultaneously helping break dependence on foreign oil and reducing the waste management load on cities.”

According to BlueFire, the Southern California-based facility is a replicable model of a process that can be implemented at several sites across the country, serving the dual purposes of waste management and biofuel production.

BlueFire Ethanol also recently announced it was granted a conditional-use permit (“CUP”) from the County of Los Angeles, Department of Regional Planning, to construct the country’s first commercial facility to convert bio-waste into ethanol. This smaller plant will produce up to 3.2 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol annually from bio-waste materials such as wood chips, grass cuttings, and other organic waste.

In a related story, DOE also recently announced that it had finished its selection process for funding small scale cellulosic ethanol projects. The biorefinery projects selected will receive up to a total of US $240 million in DOE funding, subject to appropriations, over the next five fiscal years. Once federal funding is combined with industry cost share, more than US $735 million could be invested in the nine projects, over the next four to five years.

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