Palo Alto, California & Broomfield, Colorado [RenewableEnergyAccess.com] Range Fuels announced that the company was awarded a construction permit from the state of Georgia to build the first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant in the U.S. Ground breaking will take place this summer in Treutlen County, Georgia, for a 100-million-gallon-per-year cellulosic ethanol plant that will use wood waste from Georgia’s forests as its feedstock.
Phase 1 of the plant is scheduled to complete construction in 2008 with a production capacity of 20 million gallons a year.
“We are thrilled to receive this permit and anticipate the construction of many plants throughout Georgia and the Southeast using wood waste to make ethanol,” said Mitch Mandich, CEO of Range Fuels. “With Independence Day on July 4, we are excited to begin the march toward independence from our country’s reliance on fossil fuel.”
The company selected Georgia for its first plant based upon the abundance of forest refuse and the renewable and sustainable forest industry. According to Range Fuels, the state has demonstrated great stewardship of its forest lands and environmental sensitivity – and the forests of Georgia can support up to 2 billion gallons a year of cellulosic ethanol production.
“The Department is pleased that the country is one step closer to making the widespread use of cellulosic ethanol a reality,” U.S. Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman said. “This furthers the President’s goal of deploying clean, renewable energy into the marketplace, and we are eager for the results of Range Fuels’ work, and the work of the other biorefinery grant recipients, to help increase energy security and enhance economic growth.”
Range Fuels’ technology can transforms biomass, including wood chips, agricultural wastes, grasses, and cornstalks as well as hog manure, municipal garbage, sawdust and paper pulp into ethanol through it’s thermo-chemical conversion process, the K2 system. Using a two step process to convert the biomass to synthesis gas, and then converts the gas to ethanol, the company has already successfully tested close to 30 types of biomass for producing ethanol.
Range Fuels, with Governor Perdue, announced plans to build the plant in February. The company was subsequently selected to negotiate for up to $76M in a grant from the Department of Energy on February 28. These negotiations are still underway.