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DOE to Fund 3 More Small-Scale Cellulosic Biorefinery Projects With Up To $86M

The US Department of Energy (DOE) will invest up to $86 million in three additional small-scale cellulosic biorefinery projects over four years (FY ’08 - ’11). The selected biorefinery projects represent the second round of selections for DOE’s competitive small-scale biorefinery solicitation. (Earlier post.)

The three small-scale biorefinery projects—in Old Town, ME; Vonore, TN; and Washington County, KY—will use a wide variety of feedstocks and test novel conversion technologies to provide data necessary to commercialize full-scale biorefinery technologies. On average, commercial-scale biorefineries input 700 tons of non-food based feedstock per day, with an output of approximately 20-30 million gallons a year (MMGY). These small-scale facilities will input approximately 70 tons of feedstock per day, with an estimated 2.5 MMGY.

The selected small-scale biorefineries projects will produce liquid transportation fuels such as cellulosic ethanol, as well as bio-based chemicals and bio-based products used in industrial applications. Combined with varying industry cost share among the three selected projects, more than $300 million will be invested in these three projects.

The announcement is part of more than $1 billion in federal funding alone that DOE has announced since 2007 for multi-year biofuels research and development projects. These small-scale projects also complement the Department’s announcement, last year of six commercial scale biorefineries that aim to produce biofuels by using a variety of cellulosic materials as feedstock. (Earlier post.)

The full-scale biorefineries focus on near-term commercial processes, while the small-scale facilities will verify integrated operations at a reduced size with diverse feedstocks using novel processing technologies. These biorefineries will operate at a level equivalent to about 10% of a full-scale commercial plant.

Earlier this year, DOE selected four projects in St. Joseph, MO; Commerce City, CO; Boardman, OR; and, Wisconsin Rapids, WI comparable in size and scope of work, to receive up to $114 million in federal funding. (Earlier post.) Combined, the seven selected biorefinery projects are expected to receive up to $200 million in DOE funding. When federal funding is combined with the industry cost share, more than $634 million will be invested in these projects, over the next four years.
 

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What the DOE needs to do is stop funding "small-scale" and start funding BIG SCALE plants
 
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