INEOS Bio Breaks Ground on Waste-to-Fuel Commercial Biorefinery

The $130 million facility will produce ethanol and renewable power from waste; this is a major first step in the company's global licensing strategy.

INEOS New Planet BioEnergy, a joint venture between INEOS Bio and New Planet Energy, on Feb. 9 broke ground on the first U.S. facility to produce advanced biofuels from waste on a commercial scale. The $130 million Indian River BioEnergy Center in Vero Beach, Fla., will convert yard, vegetative and household wastes into cellulosic ethanol and renewable power for the local community.

The Bio Energy Center technology was developed by INEOS Bio, a part of INEOS, the world’s fourth largest petrochemicals company. INEOS Bio will license the BioEnergy technology globally.

When production starts in mid-2012, the Indian River BioEnergy Center will produce eight million gallons of bioethanol and six megawatts (gross) of renewable power, of which approximately two megawatts will be exported to the local community. This renewable electricity will be able to power approximately 1,400 homes. Located at a former citrus processing plant site in Vero Beach, the BioEnergy Center will provide 380 direct and indirect jobs (including 175 construction jobs) over the next two years, and 50 full-time jobs in Indian River County where, current unemployment is at 13.6 percent, the sixth highest in the state .

In addition to support from the state of Florida in the form of a $2.5 million grant, the BioEnergy Center has received significant support from the U.S. government as part of its ongoing effort to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil, spur the creation of the domestic biorefining industry, and provide new clean tech jobs throughout the country. In late 2009, the project received a $50 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy as part of its Section 932 Integrated Biorefinery program and it will be the first large-scale commercial project awarded under this program to begin construction. More recently, the project received a conditional commitment for a $75 million loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Agriculture as part of its Biorefinery Assistance Program.

The Indian River BioEnergy Center will be the first commercial scale project in the world using INEOS Bio’s patented technology. 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.

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