INPB breaks ground on biorefinery

In the US Ineos New Planet BioEnergy, a joint venture between Ineos Bio and New Planet Energy, broke ground on its commercial-scale waste-to-biofuels plant on 9 February.  

The $130 million (€95.4 million) Indian River BioEnergy Center in Vero Beach, Florida, will convert yard, vegetative and household wastes into cellulosic ethanol and renewable power for the local community.

Ineos Bio, part of the world’s fourth largest petrochemicals company Ineos, developed the technology for the BioEnergy Center. Ineos Bio will license the BioEnergy technology globally.

‘We are excited to celebrate this important milestone, which moves advanced biofuels a step closer to achieving significant scale, enabling the US to achieve a leading position in the bioenergy sector,’ says Peter Williams, chairman of Ineos New Planet BioEnergy.’

When production starts in mid-2012, the Indian River BioEnergy Center will produce 8 million gallons of bioethanol and 6MW of renewable power, of which approximately 2MW 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, 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 currently stands at 13.6%. 

‘We have received strong support from the federal and state government and are pleased that this BioEnergy Center will bring significant economic and environmental benefits to the region,’ said Ineos New Planet BioEnergy president David King. ‘Our goal is to not only create a local source for advanced biofuels and renewable energy, but also to enable people worldwide to learn about this exciting, new clean energy technology.’

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 US government as part of its ongoing effort to reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil, spur the creation of the domestic biorefining industry and provide new cleantech jobs throughout the country.

In late 2009, the project received a $50 million grant from the US Department of Energy as part of its Section 932 Integrated Biorefinery programme and it will be the first large-scale commercial project awarded under this programme to begin construction. More recently, the project received a conditional commitment for a $75 million loan guarantee from the US 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. This flexibility also allows facilities like the Indian River BioEnergy Center to be built anywhere in the world, wherever there is waste, providing jobs and locally-sourced renewable energy for urban and rural communities.

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