Biofuels Digest’s 5-Minute Guide to Loan Guarantees: who got ’em, what’re they doing?

July 29, 2013 |

Projects under construction



The only DOE deal was a Section 1705 $132.4 million loan guarantee to Abengoa Bioenergy Biomass of Kansas, LLC (ABBK) to support the development of a commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant.  ABBK’s parent company and project sponsor, Abengoa Bioenergy US Holding, Inc., estimates the project will fund approximately 300 construction jobs and 65 permanent jobs. The project will be located in Hugoton, Kansas, about 90 miles southwest of Dodge City, Kansas — and is scheduled to open within the year.

The project is expected to convert approximately 300,000 tons of agricultural crop residues, including corn stover (stalks and leaves), into approximately 23 million gallons of ethanol per year using an innovative enzymatic hydrolysis process.

Projects in development



ZeaChem announced in March that it has produced commercial-grade cellulosic chemicals and ethanol at its 250,000 gallons per year (GPY) biorefinery in Boardman, Ore.

Development of ZeaChem’s first commercial biorefinery is currently underway. Backed by a conditional loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the state-of-the-art facility will have capacity to produce 25 million GPY or more of ethanol and chemicals from woody biomass and agricultural residues. It will be located at the Port of Morrow in Boardman, Ore., adjacent to ZeaChem’s 250,000 GPY integrated demonstration biorefinery.

These partnerships and the support of the USDA loan guarantee will help accelerate commercialization of ZeaChem’s C2 product platform in Boardman. Other partnerships, including Procter & Gamble, will drive development of ZeaChem’s product platform beyond C2.


Beta Renewables_Cellulosic Ethanol Deliveries_2

Chemtex received a Letter of Conditional Commitment for a $99 million USDA Section 9003 Loan Guarantee for the engineering and construction of “Project Alpha.” Chemtex is in discussions with the State of North Carolina to locate Project Alpha, a 20 million gallon per year cellulosic ethanol facility, in the Sampson County area. Project Alpha is planning to use dedicated non-food energy feedstock crops, which can be grown on low-value and marginal land such as hog lagoon sprayfields. Branch Banking & Trust (“BB&T”) will be the Lender of Record for the Project.

Chemtex will use Beta Renewables’ PROESA technology to produce cost-competitive ethanol using non-food biomass as its feedstock. This is the same technology that will be used at the world’s first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant in Crescentino, Italy, that started operations in the fall 2012. Chemtex is targeting a start-up date in 2014.

Fulcrum BioEnergy


In August 2012, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a $105 million loan guarantee to Fulcrum Sierra BioFuels, LLC to finance development of a ground-breaking facility to convert municipal solid waste into advanced biofuels. The Nevada plant is expected to create an estimated 430 jobs during construction and 53 permanent jobs in Storey County, 20 miles east of Reno. Once operational, the plant is expected to convert 147,000 tons of processed municipal solid waste into over 10 million gallons of advanced biofuels annually using a two-part thermo-chemical process.


Construction site of Enerkem Alberta Biofuels facility in Edmonton - May 2013

Construction site of Enerkem Alberta Biofuels facility in Edmonton – May 2013

In Pontotoc, Miss., Enerkem Corporation was selected to receive an $80 million loan guarantee to build and operate a biorefinery that will be capable of producing 10 million gallons of advanced biofuel (cellulosic ethanol) per year by refining some 100,000 metric tons of dried and post-sorted municipal solid waste through a  thermo-chemical cellulosic process.



In Washington, 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.

In today’s Digest – visit our 5-Minute Guide to Loan Guarantees — POET-DSM, Diamond Green Diesel, Coskata and Range Fuels – by following the page links below.

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