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USDA gives Fiberight development $25 million

Fiberight’s Blairstown, Iowa Plant which is up for an award from the USDA
Fiberight’s Blairstown, Iowa Plant which is up for an award from the USDA

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has formed a $25 million (€19 million) partnership with Fiberight, money which will be put towards building a new biofuels plant in Blairstown, Iowa.

The facility will convert waste into biofuels, producing six million gallons a year when the plant comes online in the first half of next year.

Fiberight is spending $20 million into the plant, combined with the $25 million from the federal government. In 2010 the development also received $2.5 million from the Iowa Power Fund.

About 200 tonnes of MSW will be processed per day on site and there will also be complementary low-lignin feedstocks feeding the plant such as paper mill residues from local paper mills.

The facility will be 55,000 square feet and will produce cellulosic ethanol from seed municipal solid and seed corn waste.

Craig Stuart-Paul, CEO of Fiberight, tells Biofuels International: ‘This plant will be close to commercial scale. But we hope to work with the community to add other complimentary feedstocks to expand the capacity. The site itself is sufficiently large to do so.’

The company will source its waste from Benton County to begin with, a community located nearby. ‘We have identified sufficient supply, the issue with MSW is that you cannot commence taking it in earnest until the plant is completely operational and de-bugged given that the sources of waste need to ensure that disposal of solid waste must continue without interruption,’ says Stuart-Paul.

The plant is expected to create between 12 and 40 jobs, helping to deliver the fuel to the surrounding regions.

We are working with Tenaska for our off-take, but we hope to supply some E-85 pumps in the local area,’ says Stuart-Paul.

The loan being provided is part of the USDA’s Biorefinery Assistance Program, which was approved under the 2008 farm bill.

Novozymes is a partner in the project and says it will supply the enzymes to help convert household and office waste into biofuels.

‘We truly believe that 2012 is the year for take-off in this industry. Steel is going into the ground, more Americans are going to work to make biofuels and we anticipate seeing significant volumes of biofuels as a result,’ says Craig Stuart-Paul, CEO of Fiberight.

Fiberight is also building a smaller facility in Lawrenceville, Virginia this year.

Fiberight’s Blairstown, Iowa Plant which is up for an award from the USDA