Fiberight cellulosic ethanol project lands $25M USDA loan guarantee

January 23, 2012 |

In Washington, US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the USDA has approved a conditional commitment for a $25 million guaranteed loan for the proposed Fiberight biorefinery, based in Blairstown, Iowa.

USDA funding will be used to construct a 55,000 square foot facility that will produce cellulosic ethanol by converting municipal solid waste and other industrial pulps into advanced biofuels, as well as using conventional renewable biofuel derived from seed corn waste. When operational, the facility is expected to produce approximately 3.6 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol per year. The process will use a cellulosic microbe to produce up to 15 percent more ethanol than traditional fermentation technology, and reduce energy inputs in the fermentation and distillation process.

Other funding comes from the State of Iowa.Fiberight also received a $2.5 million grant from the Iowa Power Fund in 2010. The company will work with the Benton County landfill to supply a portion of the feedstock for the project. The total project cost is estimated at $59.5 million. Financing for the loan guarantee was provided out of the USDA’s Biorefinery Assistance Program, authorized by Congress under the 2008 Farm Bill, and up for renewal this year.

Brent Erickson, executive vice president of BIO’s Industrial & Environmental Section, stated, “BIO appreciates the efforts of the USDA to make its loan guarantee program work for advanced biofuel companies with technologies that contribute to U.S. energy security. For pioneering companies seeking capital to construct facilities, these public-private programs are a necessary and vital tool. Raising capital to begin construction on commercial projects has been tough since the recent economic downturn. But companies have made significant investments and continue to make progress toward commercial development of new technologies for advanced biofuels. ”

Within the relationship first announced in September 2010 TMO Renewables is providing the back end design for the plant. Robert Parker, Acting CEO of TMO said: “We are delighted to see this announcement, which will hasten the process that will lead to the construction of this plant, our first with Fiberight.”

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