Report: Lack of Biofuels Puts Economy at Risk

daleIf the U.S. doesn’t make sufficient investments in biofuels, it could put the Nation’s economy at risk of a slowdown and could make the country face energy shortages. That’s the conclusions of a report from a professor of chemical engineering and a biofuel specialist at Michigan State University. In remarks to the Platts Biofuels and Chemicals conference in Chicago and posted on Platts.com, Bruce Dale cautioned against putting too many eggs in the fossil fuels basket, as well as possibly turning areas that are booming on petroleum now could become “ghost towns” once those supplies dry up.

“That’s where we’re heading” unless we take steps to ensure that biofuels become ever more sustainable and realistic, Dale, who is working on ways of turning grass into ethanol, said.

Successful economies require substantial power, Dale said, adding that fossil fuels significant challenges in terms of expense and likely future questions over supply.

For emerging economies, the cost of fossil fuels remained too expensive, while for established economies, there continue to be questions over the sustainability of supply.

Because of this, Dale said biofuels will have to play a substantial part in future energy supply. And to ensure that happens, further investment is needed.

Dale went on to say that current capacity and technology does not exist that would allow biomass to reach 50 percent greenhouse gas reduction goals by 2050. He says biomass needs to gain economies of scale soon, “or we’re going to be cooked.”

KiOR Looks to Double Capacity at Cellulosic Facility

kior_logo_CMYKCommercial scale cellulosic gasoline and diesel producer KiOR has announced plans to double the capacity of its Columbus, Mississippi facility. Officials expect the project, dubbed Columbus II, will cost approximately $225 million, will break ground within 90 days of raising the money needed and be finished building 18 months later.

Once completed with its latest technology improvements, KiOR expects that the Columbus II project will allow each Columbus facility to achieve greater yields, production capacity and feedstock flexibility than the original design basis for the existing Columbus facility, enabling KiOR to more quickly make progress towards its long-term goal of 92 gallons per bone dry ton of biomass.

Fred Cannon, KiOR’s President and CEO, says this project is an important step in the company’s long-term business plan, as it will make them profitable with lower capital costs and will take advantage of “operational and technological synergies between the two Columbus facilities.” He says it will also help accelerate plans for next year’s groundbreaking of another standard scale commercial production facility in Natchez, Mississippi.

Natural Power Expands Operations

Natural Power The Green HouseRt Hon Ed Davey, Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change, recently opened Natural Power’s newly expanded ControlCentre at their global headquarters, The Green House, located in the foothills of Rhinns of Kells in rural Dumfries and Galloway.

The company’s NP/ControlCentre (previously known as WindCentre) is a 24/7/365 operational control room, providing site management services round the clock for a range of renewable sectors including onshore and offshore wind, biomass and solar PV projects. Manned by experienced engineers, the 24 hour control room service is facilitated by a software solution for health & safety management, work order recording and access control – all in line with industry best practice, such as the RenewableUK Wind Turbine Safety Rules.

Energy Secretary Ed Davey said during the event, “It’s great to see first-hand the work carried out at Natural Power’s ControlCentre. This shows the vital role renewables play in our energy mix and their contribution to our energy security. The Centre has already helped over 100 clients improve the efficiency of their wind turbines, increasing the amount of renewable electricity provided to the grid.

20130905-NaturalPower-5928The company’s Asset Management team currently manages 139 wind farms globally, including 14 sites in Ireland, representing 1,360 turbines. The company is also breaking into the U.S. market and is already providing services to a number of operational wind farms. This represents operational management of 37 percent and 20 percent of the UK’s and Irish installed onshore capacity respectively.

Commenting on the company’s acheivements, Natural Power’s Director of Asset Management, Andy Howie, said: “It is a great achievement to be in a position to double the size of NP /ControlCentre, and to know it has become the heart of one third of all operational sites in the UK.  As the sector continues to grow our focus remains on achieving the highest safety standards on site for all. We are extremely proud, at Natural Power, to be chosen as the No. 1 provider of Asset Management services in the UK.”

Davey also noted that is he “delighted” that Natural Power has chosen to expand the Centre’s services to solar and bioenergy sectors in the UK. “The UK has some of the best renewables in Europe,” said Davey, “and if we are to meet our carbon reduction and renewable targets, it is vital that we make the most of this potential.”

“I wish Natural Power every success with their endeavours,” added Davey.

Argonne Take Cues From Nature

Scientists working at the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility (ALCF) are looking to nature’s catalysts, enzymes, for inspiration in their quest to find a more effective means of converting biomass into renewable fuel. The research is focused on inedible plant materials that contain cellulose (such as wood chips and switchgrass), which can be broken down into sugars and then converted into biofuels.

According to the researchers, it is a challenging process to commercialize because plant cell walls are tough and recalcitrant, meaning they naturally resist being broken down into sugars. Therefore this obstacle has made it difficult to produce biofuels at a cost and pace that can compete with petroleum-based transportation fuels.

ALCF researchTo address this issue, the research team from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Colorado is using Mira, the ALCF’s 10-petaflops supercomputer, to conduct large-scale simulations of the physical behavior of cellulase enzymes. Naturally produced by some fungi and bacteria, these particular enzymes are being modeled because they effectively trigger the chemical changes necessary to degrade hardy plant materials into life-sustaining sugars.

“Through our studies at the ALCF, we hope to uncover how these enzymes can be manipulated to develop superior biological catalysts for improved biofuel production,” said Michael Crowley, NREL senior scientist and project principal investigator.

Crowley and his colleagues are carrying out the simulations to gain a fundamental understanding of the complex cellulose-to-sugar conversion process, known as enzymatic hydrolysis. With this information, researchers will be able to identify potential enzyme modifications and then feed their discoveries into experiments aimed at developing and validating improved catalysts. Continue reading

Cool Planet Chooses Louisiana for Biofuel Project

Cool Planet Energy Systems, a developer of small scale biorefineries which convert non-food biomass into gasoline, jet fuel, and soil biochar, has announced the selection of Alexandria, Louisiana as the location for their first commercial biorefinery. The facility will be located on the Port of Alexandria in Rapides Parish and will serve as a showcase facility. The goal of Cool Planet is to build hundreds of additional small scale biorefineries across the U.S. Construction is expected to be complete by the end of 2014.

The site was chosen due to tremendous support from the city of Alexandria, and the economic development team from the state of Louisiana. The location provides access to an abundance of renewable biomass feedstock, the ability to load fuel onto barges, rail lines and trucks, and local talent to operate the facility.

“Louisiana is known for its substantial oil interests, but now will also have the distinction of being home to the first, of what is planned to become many, production facilities for Cool Cool PlanetPlanet’s renewable, high-performance gasoline and soil enhancing biochar,” said CEO Howard Janzen. “Our goal for the Alexandria facility is to be economically competitive with conventional fuels made from non-renewable crude oil.”

The company believes it will have one of the lowest capital costs per plant in the refining industry, with project economics that work at facilities 100 times smaller than conventional refineries, while being able to use a wide variety of renewable biomass materials as inputs. construction is expected to be complete before the end of 2014.

In other news, Cool Planet has completed a joint vehicle road test with Ventura County, California. Officials ran a 5 percent blend of the company’s renewable, low-carbon gasoline for six weeks during their normal operations. The demonstration received special approval from the California Air Resources Board (CARB).

External testing of the fuel was conducted at various points during the fleet demonstration. Carbon-14 dating proved that Cool Planet was successfully turning renewable plant material into drop-in fuel.

Dakota Bioprocessing Consortium Established

Four universities in North Dakota and South Dakota have been awarded a $6 million grant to establish the Dakota Bioprocessing Consortium (DakotaBioCon) to conduct collaborative research. The award is funded by the National Science Foundation Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research. The consortium includes North Dakota State University, the University of North Dakota, South Dakota State University and the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.

South Dakota LogosThe primary goal of DakotaBioCon is to establish a multi-state, multi-institution, multi-disciplinary research collaboration that will produce economically viable renewable replacements for existing petrochemicals. The research collaborators will use lignin as a starting raw material. Lignin binds cellulose fibers in wood and plants and will be converted into renewable chemical and polymeric alternatives to petrochemicals.

“The combined research talent at the four institutions in two states provides an opportunity to join forces to develop DakotaBioCon, maximizing research in the field of renewable replacements to existing petrochemicals,” said Philip Boudjouk, co-chair of North Dakota EPSCoR.

DakotaBioCon will leverage its relationships with existing programs and centers such as UND/NDSU’s Sustainable Energy Research Initiative and Supporting Education (SUNRISE) program, the SDSU-based SunGrant Initiative, and the SDSMT/SDSU-based Center for Bioprocessing Research and Development to achieve its objectives.

Phyllis E. Johnson, co-chair of North Dakota EPSCoR said of the project, “This project provides an important opportunity to use our research talents to create new, high-value products from agricultural waste products, thus strengthening further the largest sector of our state economy.” Continue reading

NextFuels Producing Biofuels from Palm Residue

NextFuels has unveiled its strategy for economically producing transportation and industrial fuels from wet, unprocessed agricultural waste. The underlying technology, which was developed by Shell Oil over several years, will allow NextFuels and its partners to produce bio-based petroleum at commercial scale for $75 to $85 a barrel out of wet biomass that has not been mechanically or thermally dried. The company will also provide palm plantation owners and others a way to transform the tons of residual plant matter generated by agricultural operations into a new, profitable second crop.

Screen Shot 2013-08-21 at 12.17.54 PMThe company is collaborating on its commercial strategy with Enagra on the development of its technology.

“Dr. Frans Goudriaan and Dr. Jaap Naber have been working on this technology for almost 30 years. With Dr. Ralph Overend’s extensive background in the biomass and biofuels space, we are extremely excited to be moving this unique technology forward,” said Michael Petras, CEO of NextFuels. “While we have a lot of work ahead of us, we look forward to helping solve the biomass issue in Malaysia.”

According to NextFuels, edible palm oil has surpassed soybean to become the largest source of cooking oil in the world, accounting for over 50 million tons of oil annually. While plantation owners have managed to increase the productivity of their land by 15 times since the late 80s, the growth of the industry has created a corresponding residue problem. Approximately 4.4 to 6 metric tons of agricultural waste is generated for each metric ton of oil. There are over 1,000 crude palm oil (CPO) mills in Southeast Asia and a single (60 tons per hour) mill can generate 135,000 tons of agricultural residue a year.

NextFuels use a system called bio-liquefaction that efficiently transforms agricultural biomass to green energy. Biomass is placed into the plant mixed with water. The mixture is then heated to 330◦ Celsius while pressure is increased to 220 bar. Increasing the pressure keeps the water from coming to a boil, which conserves energy.

When cooled, the hydrocarbons form a putty-like substance called GreenCrude. Roughly 25% of the GreenCrude can be burned as a solid fuel in industrial boilers. The remaining 75% can be converted into a liquid-fuel equivalent to petroleum that is compatible with existing pipelines and vehicles. The equipment required to convert GreenCrude into liquid fuels, in a process called hydrodeoxygenation, is already installed at most refineries and can accept GreenCrude with minor refinements. Continue reading

DOE Looks to Better Catalysts for Biomass to Biofuel

argonne1New and better catalysts could be the key to unlocking the potential biofuel locked up in biomass. This article from the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory says scientists at the lab’s Institute for Atom-Efficient Chemical Transformations (IACT) for the past four years have been looking at how to improve the efficiency and selectivity of catalysts:

IACT was originally founded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in 2009 as a special Energy Frontier Research Center (EFRC), in which scientists from both academic institutions and government labs were asked to team up to discover better ways of converting biomass – plant sugars from corn or sugarcane – into combustible diesel fuel, jet fuel or gasoline.

“While catalysts are used in a countless number of manufacturing and industrial processes, we wanted to focus on biofuels because they provide a challenging platform on which to work,” [Argonne chemist Chris] Marshall said. “The point of the EFRCs is to focus on some of the most important scientific problems we face today.”

In order to successfully convert biomass into fuel, Marshall and his colleagues have developed a roadmap of chemical reactions. Each of these reactions requires either a different catalytic material or a different set of reaction conditions to work effectively.

“The problem with biomass is that it’s loaded with oxygen, while the fuels we’re trying to create are much more oxygen-poor and hydrogen-rich,” Marshall said. “Hydrogen is an expensive commodity; if we’re going to use it, we need to use it judiciously.”

The most daunting task for the scientists is to improve the catalysts’ selectivity, while increasing the lifespan of these workhorses of biomass conversion. One discovery that is helping is a technique called “overcoating,” in which a dome-like sheath of protective material is added on top of the metal catalyst. Using a method known as atomic layer deposition (ALD), researchers are able to deposit extremely thin and uniform sheets of material on different surfaces, just a few atoms thick. They hope eventually to expand the process into biological molecules.

Edeniq & Pacific Ag to Colloborate

Edeniq and Pacific Ag, have announced today a five-year exclusive collaboration agreement to assist existing corn-based ethanol production facilities to add cellulosic ethanol production. The technology will help corn-based ethanol plants diversify their feedstock sources and enhance long-term production margins. In addition, the cellulosic ethanol produced will qualify for as “cellulosic” fuels under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

edeniq“This collaboration holds the potential to enhance the commercial viability of cellulosic ethanol production in the US,” said Brian Thome, the President and CEO of Edeniq. “By combining Edeniq’s bolt-on production technologies for corn ethanol plants with Pacific Ag’s agricultural biomass supply capabilities, we will provide the best turnkey solution for today’s producers to economically integrate cellulosic production into their existing facilities.”

Today there are about 200 operating ethanol plants in the U.S. in 28 states. They produce nearly 14 billion gallons annually representing approximately 10 percent of all gasoline sold. The majority of these plants use corn as their primary feedstock, a commodity grain that has been subject to wide fluctuations in price and supply over the past decade, driven by competing end uses, market speculation and weather.

In an effort to diversify the feedstock pool, the Department of Energy issued its “billion ton” study in 2005. That study determined that U.S. agriculture and forest resources have the capability to produce at least one billion dry tons of biomass annually in a sustainable manner, enough to produce biofuels to meet more than one-third of the current demand for transportation fuels. Yet today, only a small amount of biofuels are produced using biomass and much more is needed.

PACAG-001 Final Logo CMYK “This collaboration agreement brings together two companies at the forefront of solving a big risk factor to commercial production of cellulosic ethanol: getting biomass from the field to the plant with maximum reliability and efficiency and successfully converting that biomass at a low per gallon capital investment for existing production facilities,” added Bill Levy, founder and CEO of Pacific Ag. “For Pacific Ag, this potential market represents a key additional sector in our strategy to maximize the role of ag biomass in the nation’s energy supply.”

Land Availability Should Determine Biomass Use

According to a paper published by the nova-Institute on agricultural feedstock use in industrial applications, efficiency and sustainability assessed on a case-by-case basis Global Prod Capacity by region 2015should be the sole criteria in judging the choice of feedstock used. The paper reviewed the “food versus fuel” arguments surrounding feedstocks to help shed light on the debate on how feedstocks should be used. The institute further stressed that the real issue is land availability for growing biomass for different purposes.

The paper refers to studies asserting that, even after satisfying food demand of a rapidly growing world population, enough arable land would remain available for purposes other than food production. The authors argue that the best usage of these areas is achieved by considering the land-efficiency of different crops. Studies show that many food crops are more land-efficient than non-food crops. According to the paper, they require less land to produce the same amount of e.g. fermentable sugar (commonly used in biotechnology processes) than non-food crops or so-called second generation feedstock, e.g. lignocelluloses.

“Efficiency and sustainability should be the leading criteria when selecting renewable feedstock for industrial purposes, such as the production of bioplastics,” said Hasso von Pogrell, Managing Director of European Bioplastics, embracing the paper as a welcome contribution to the discussion. “If the industry were to neglect the use of first generation feedstock at this point in time, it would do a disservice to society and the environment,” he added. “In addition to being currently more efficient, the use of food-crops for industrial purposes has the major advantage that, in times of food crisis, these crops could be reallocated to food use.”

European Bioplastics is in favor of promoting the use of second or even third generation feedstock for industrial purposes. However, as long as food crops continue in many cases 13-08 use of harvested agricultural biomassto represent the most efficient feedstock by far, discrediting their use would be misguided and a step in the wrong direction in achieving the European Commission sustainability targets.

“This often very emotional discussion needs to be steered into a more fact based direction,” continued von Pogrell. “Only two percent of the global agricultural area is actually used to grow feedstock for material production and only 0.006 percent is used in the production of bioplastics, compared to 98 percent used for food, feed and as pastures,” he concluded.

These findings echo the conclusion of a study recently published by the World Bank, according to which an increase in food prices is largely influenced by the oil price. Biofuels and, by extension, bioplastics play a negligible factor here. The study looked at food commodities such as corn, wheat, rice, soybeans and palm oil and compared commodity prices to energy prices, exchange rates, interest rates, inflation, income and a stocks-to-use ratio to determine which of these drivers had the most impact on food prices.

Invasive Species Could Become Biofuel

arsgrouseUSDA researchers are looking at being able to turn some invasive trees into biofuel. This story from the Agricultural Research Service says they are looking at harvesting native juniper and pinyon trees that have extended out of their natural ranges for biomass. The plan not only produces renewable energy, but it also restores rangeland for livestock and protects critical sagebrush habitat for the western sage grouse and other animals.

In Burns, Ore., research leader Tony Svejcar and others will inventory trees available for harvest and biofuel production. This information can also be used to determine optimal locations for restoring wildlife habitat and locations where harvests could adversely impact existing wildlife. Svejcar works at the ARS Range and Meadow Forage Management Research Unit in Burns.

The scientists will also focus on devising plans for harvesting the trees in a sustainable manner. ARS research leader Fred Pierson plans to conduct experimental juniper harvests on a variety of sites in Idaho to observe how the removal affects erosion, and will use the information to model the environmental impacts of large-scale tree harvests. Pierson, who works at the ARS Northwest Watershed Research Center in Boise, Idaho, will also be monitoring how juniper removal affects large-scale water cycles.

The article also credits David Goodrich, a hydraulic engineer at the ARS Southwest Watershed Research Center in Tucson, Ariz., for his estimates of watershed-level rainfall runoff and erosion to help guide tree harvesting decisions.

More is available in the July 2013 issue of Agricultural Research magazine.

From Toilet to Tank

The All-gas project, funded by the European Union, has achieved a milestone: successful crop of algae biomass at its site in Chiclana in Southern Spain. The goal of the project is to develop low-cost biofuel from algae grown in wastewater. The All-gas project proposes using this wastewater, as well as CO2, generated in biomass boilers from residuals such as garden waste or olive pits to feed the algae, which in turn are converted into biogas. A part of the biogas is CO2, which gets separated from the biomethane and recycled.

According to a news release, the algae crop has produced outstanding results – the biomass obtained shows a particularly high energy potential relative to its digestibility level, with a methane production capacity of around 200-300 litres of gas per kilogram of biomass processed by anaerobic digestion. The microalgae also successfully purified wastewater.

Launched in May 2011, the five-year project has already completed its pilot phase (the first two years) in a 200 square meter facility. The plans for the construction of the biomass plant are on schedule, and a one-hectare prototype is under construction. The project’s final phase will span 10 hectares – the equivalent of ten football fields – believed to be the largest in the world.

All-gas ProjectIt is expected that by 2016, the biofuel produced by the All-gas project will be enough to power 200 vehicles. When the project reaches its demonstration phase, the biogas produced will be used to power public buses and garbage trucks in the region of Cadiz.

According to Frank Rogalla, Project Coordinator and FCC Aqualia’s Director of Innovation and Technology, “This original new approach to bioenergy means that Spain’s 40 million population could power 200,000 vehicles every year with a single toilet flush. The All-gas project is going to change the face of wastewater treatment by generating a valuable energy resource from what was previously considered undesirable waste.”

As Nicolas Aragon, Chiclana’s environmental councilor, adds, “This is not only an R&D project, but also a way of reducing costs and investing in the protection of our natural environment. Chiclana is a worldwide tourist destination and from now on, we will show that along with attracting visitors with our sunshine and beaches, we can also grow sustainable biofuel with our natural resources.”

The All-Gas consortium is led by FCC Aqualia, and comprises five other organisations, from Germany (Fraunhofer – Gesellschaft), Austria (BDI), the Netherlands (Feyecon y Hygear) and the UK (University of Southampton).

New Biofuels Projects Announced by DOE

During remarks at the Energy Department’s (DOE) Biomass 2013 annual conference, Secretary Ernest Moniz highlighted the important role biofuels play in the Administration’s Climate Action Plan to increase our energy security and reduce greenhouse gas emissions algae photobioreactorsfrom the transportation sector. During the event, Secretary Moniz announced over $22 million in new investments to help develop cost-competitive algae fuels and streamline the biomass feedstock supply chain for advanced biofuels.

“By partnering with industry and universities, we can help make clean, renewable biofuels cost-competitive with gasoline, give drivers more options at the pump and cut harmful carbon pollution,” said Moniz.

The research projects announced build on the DOE’s broader efforts to bring next generation biofuels online, with the goal of producing cost-competitive drop-in biofuels by 2017 and algae biofuels by 2022.

Nearly $16.5 million was given to four projects located in California, Hawaii and New Mexico aimed at breaking down technical barriers and accelerating the development of sustainable, affordable algae biofuels. The projects will help boost the productivity of sustainable algae, while cutting capital and operating costs of commercial-scale production. The projects include:

  • Hawaii Bioenergy ($5 million DOE investment): Based in Lihue, Kauai, Hawaii Bioenergy will develop a cost-effective photosynthetic open pond system to produce algal oil. The project will also demonstrate preprocessing technologies that reduce energy use and the overall cost of extracting lipids and producing fuel intermediates.
  • Sapphire Energy ($5 million DOE investment): Headquartered in San Diego, California, Sapphire Energy will develop a new process to produce algae-based fuel that is compatible with existing refineries. The project will also work on improving algae strains and increasing yield through cultivation improvements.
  • New Mexico State University ($5 million DOE investment): For its project, New Mexico State University will increase the yield of a microalgae, while developing harvesting and cultivation processes that lower costs and support year-round production.
  • California Polytechnic State University ($1.5 million DOE investment): California Polytechnic State University will conduct research and development work to increase the productivity of algae strains and compare two separate processing technologies. The project will be based at a municipal wastewater treatment plant in Delhi, California that has six acres of algae ponds.  Continue reading

Appalachian State University Receives Biomass Grant

Appalachian State University Department of Technology and Environmental Design professors David Domermuth and Ok-Youn Yu have received a $45,000 grant from the N.C. Agricultural Foundation for a project to economically convert biomass to biofuel and useful biobiomasschar. The grant, along with a current grant from the EPA, is being used to complete the university’s bioshelter/greenhouse at the Watauga County Landfill where the biomass conversion will occur. When testing is complete, the project will move to the Energy Xchange in Spruce Pine and be used for public outreach and education.

For the past four years, researchers at Appalachian have worked to develop the most economical method for converting agricultural and forest biomass to useable products and energy and subsequently provide a source of revenue.

“To test our system we are using wood chips, which are a plentiful resource in the mountains,” said graduate assistant Miranda Harper who is assisting with the project. “Wood waste from wood processing also can be recycled into useful products. Any kind of biomass can be used in the system including agricultural waste, yard brush and even animal waste.”

A process called bio volatilization (BV) converts biomass into biochar, pyrolosis oil, fuel gas and heat. The biochar created from the BV process can be used as a soil additive to increase soil fertility and protect against soil-borne diseases. Biochar also improves water quality and reduces agricultural productivity and reduces nutrient leaching and soil acidity.

The waste energy created from the BV process will be used to heat the university’s bioshelter/greenhouse at the Watauga County Landfill. The fuel created will be used to run a generator to produce electricity for day lighting in the winter at the bioshelter/greenhouse.

Biomass-to-Liquids Plant Chooses Technology

A Biomass-to-Liquids (BTL) plant owned by Red Rock Biofuels has selected its reactor Velocys logotechnology. The plant, which is under construction, will use FT microchannel reactor technology developed by the Oxford Catalysts Group and marketed under the name Velocys. The BTL facility will be located in Oregon and will be designed to convert around 170,000 tons per year of forestry derived biomass into approximately 1,100 barrels per day (bpd) of liquid transportation fuels.

“The choice of Velocys FT was easy. No other FT technology offered the combination of high performance and efficiency at a scale appropriate for a BTL facility. We’re pleased to be working with the Group on this pioneering project,” said Terry Kulesa, CEO of IR1 Group, the parent company of Red Rock Biofuels.

Oxford Catalysts LogoThe Red Rock Biofuels BTL project was recently awarded a $4.1 million grant from the US Department of Defense (under the Defense Production Act Title III Advanced Drop-in Biofuel Production Project) to help to fund a detailed engineering and design study for the facility that is complete. With the aid of this grant, Red Rock Biofuels is expected to progress through detailed engineering and design over the course of nine months.

Following successful completion of the detailed design phase, IR1 Group will have an opportunity to apply for a further grant of up to $70 million to support construction of the proposed plant, and expects to do so.

Roy Lipski, CEO of Oxford Catalysts Group, added, “We are pleased to have our technology selected once again, this time for a promising opportunity in the growing area of Biomass-to-Liquids. We’re also excited by the potential for this project to access $70 million of government funding to support early adoption of a synthetic fuels plant.”