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USDA hands out $11m loan to Oregon biogas plant

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has confirmed a $11 million (€10m) loan to Minnesota-based waste-to-energy company Novus Energy to build a new biorefinery.

The planned plant, worth a total of $22 million and to be located at Boardman, Oregon, will convert non-food-based organic material into renewable natural gas and organic fertiliser.

The Novus Pacific facility, as the project is called, will process up to 680 tonnes per day of waste, producing daily up to 108,000m3 of renewable natural gas, 1,325l of liquid fertiliser, and 10 tonnes of soil amendment.

Joe Burke, president and CEO at Novus Energy, said the company has been working on the Oregon project for three years.

The plant will feature Novus’ proprietary Novus Bio-Catalytic Conversion System (NBC), an integrated, bio-catalytic process that converts organic feedstocks to a spectrum of high value products in one streamline, turn-key operation.

According to the company, the NBC converts waste into valuable products and recovers clean water while eliminating pollution, all the while performing its operations in a shorter time than a traditional anaerobic digester.

“Our technology produces gas in four days instead of 15 to 20 days and we convert 90% of the organics rather than the 50-60% industry average,” said Burke.

Lisa Mensah, Rural Development Undersecretary at USDA, said the loan was pledged under conviction that the plant would “spur economic development, create new jobs and provide new products for farm commodities in rural Oregon.”

USDA’s capacity to hand out such loans was established in the 2014 US Farm Bill, but it has offered similar assistance only once before.

With the federal support, Novus expects to break ground at the Oregon facility still in 2016 and begin production next year.