Florida Ineos Bio Produces Nation’s First Cellulosic Ethanol at Commercial-Scale
August 01, 2013
The Energy Department recognized the nation’s first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol production at INEOS Bio’s Indian River BioEnergy Center in Vero Beach, Florida. Developed through a joint venture between INEOS Bio and New Planet Energy, the project uses a unique hybrid of gasification and fermentation technology—originally developed with Energy Department support starting in the 1990s—to convert wood scraps, grass clippings, and other waste materials into transportation fuels as well as energy for heat and power.
First facility in the world using new advanced bioenergy technology to convert waste to renewable fuel and electricity
INEOS Bio today announced that its Indian River BioEnergy Center (Center) is now producing cellulosic ethanol at commercial scale. First ethanol shipments will be released in August. This is the first commercial-scale production in the world using INEOS Bio’s breakthrough gasification and fermentation technology for conversion of biomass waste into bioethanol and renewable power.
“We are delighted with the progress made by our team at Vero Beach”, said Peter Williams, CEO of INEOS Bio and Chairman of INEOS New Planet BioEnergy. “They have successfully addressed the challenges of moving a new technology to large production scale for the very first time. Consequently, we are now pleased to announce that we are producing commercial quantities of bioethanol from vegetative and wood waste, and at the same time exporting power to the local community – a world first. We expect to spend the remainder of 2013 putting the plant through its paces, and demonstrating full nameplate capacity.”
The BioEnergy Center is a joint venture project between INEOS Bio and New Planet Energy. The facility has already converted several types of waste biomass material into bioethanol, including vegetative and yard waste, and citrus, oak, pine, and pallet wood waste. It will have an annual output of eight million gallons (24kta) of cellulosic ethanol and six megawatts (gross) of renewable power. The Center is also permitted to utilize municipal solid waste (MSW), quantities of which will be used for bioethanol production at the Center during 2014.
The biofuels produced in Florida will anchor the new production of cellulosic ethanol under the U.S. Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS). INEOS Bio is working with other companies and cities globally to use this technology as a new direction for waste disposal and the production of advanced biofuels and renewable power.
The Center cost more than $130 million and created more than 400 direct construction, engineering and manufacturing jobs during its development. The project sourced more than 90% of the equipment from U.S. manufacturers, creating or retaining jobs in more than 10 states. The Center has 65 full-time employees and provides $4 million annually in payroll to the local community.
The Center will serve as a reference plant for future INEOS Bio facilities and for companies and cities interested in licensing the technology for similar facilities. As a major licensor of chemical process technology in the world, INEOS will leverage its extensive expertise to bring this technology forward as an exciting new alternative for sustainable waste disposal.
“Unlocking the potential for the responsible development of all of America’s rich energy resources is a critical part of our all-of-the-above energy strategy,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. “Today’s announcement of commercial-scale cellulosic production represents an important benchmark for American leadership in this growing global industry. It also demonstrates the need for early-stage investment in innovative technologies that will help diversify our energy portfolio, reduce carbon pollution, and lead to tomorrow’s energy breakthroughs.”
As the President’s Climate Action Plan made clear, biofuels have an important role to play in increasing our energy security, fostering rural economic development, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector. The Energy Department’s research and development efforts are helping to bring innovative, cost-cutting biofuel technologies on line, test the latest engineering advancements, and accelerate commercial production.
The Indian River County BioEnergy Center will have an annual output of eight million gallons of cellulosic ethanol per year from vegetative, yard, and municipal solid waste as well as six megawatts of clean, renewable power annually—enough to run the entire facility and provide excess power to the local community.
The project’s gasification-fermentation technology—which produces fuel, heat and power—has its roots in a University of Arkansas research project, supported by a $5 million Energy Department investment over fifteen years. The Department’s early support helped this technology obtain a number of patents, with the core intellectual property purchased by INEOS Bio in 2008. In 2009, the INEOS Bio-New Planet Energy joint venture was awarded a $50 million Energy Department grant to design, construct, commission, and operate the Indian River BioEnergy Center. With a $130 million total project cost, the Center created more than 400 direct construction, engineering, and manufacturing jobs during its development and has 65 current full-time employees. More than 90% of its equipment was sourced by U.S. manufacturers across 10 states. The Vero Beach project will serve as a test bed for producing commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol with this innovative conversion technology—helping to inform future INEOS Bio facilities as well as other advanced biofuel projects across the country.
Find more information on the Energy Department’s broader efforts to grow America’s biofuels industry at www.bioenergy.energy.gov.