In Kansas, the US Department of Energy has offered Abengoa Bioenergy a conditional commitment for a $133.9 million federal loan guarantee for the construction of its “first of a kind” commercial scale biorefinery facility to produce renewable liquid fuel from earth’s most abundant organic feedstock source – plant fiber, or cellulosic biomass.
With the offer of a conditional commitment now received, Abengoa Bioenergy has announced that they intend to start construction on the site, which is located near Hugoton, in Stephens County, Kansas, in the very near future.
“Abengoa has been developing this technology for 10 years, and the project itself has been in the development stages for over 5 years,” said Manuel Sánchez, CEO of Abengoa. “In preparation for construction of the Hugoton project, the company has developed and perfected its proprietary technologies and produced cellulosic ethanol for thousands of hours from laboratory scale, to a biomass pilot plant facility in York, Nebraska, and ultimately from a demonstration scale facility in Salamanca, Spain.”
The Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Biomass Program originally supported the construction of the Abengoa pilot plant in York, Nebraska, with a $34 million cost matching award, then entered into a cooperative agreement with Abengoa Bioenergy in 2007 to provide up to $100 million towards the construction of the commercial facility in Hugoton, as one of six second generation biofuels facilities chosen for support in the DOE’s biofuels initiative.
The plant is designed to produce approximately 23 million gallons of advanced cellulosic ethanol each year, as well as the electric power needs of the plant. The project will add 300 new direct jobs including 65 full time jobs to the town of Hugoton.
“After we demonstrate the commercial viability of our proprietary enzymatic hydrolysis technology in Hugoton, we then plan to incorporate the technology into many of our other existing facilities by adding cellulosic production to the existing starch ethanol facilities that we currently operate,” said Javier Salgado, President and CEO of Abengoa Bioenergy. The new cellulosic ethanol plant will pave the way for the next generation of biofuels, which will be even more energy efficient and environmentally friendly, and will help lead the US to a cleaner, more secure energy future.”