US Companies developing Cellulosic Ethanol plants and related technology

Many of the companies developing cellulosic ethanol technology or demonstrations in the US are members of the Advanced Ethanol Council, which provides extensive information and data on the ethanol industry.

In July 2013, INEOS New Planet BioEnergy commenced commercial production at its 8M gallons-per-year cellulosic ethanol biorefinery at Vero Beach, Fla. This followed a $75 million loan guarantee from USDA. The plant also has a gross electricity production capacity of 6 MW. The feedstock for the process includes citrus and agricultural wastes, yard wastes and wood waste.

In September 2014, Poet-DSM Advanced Biofuels LLC commenced production at the $250m 'Project Liberty' cellulosic ethanol facility. The plant will produce 20 MMgy per year of cellulosic ethanol from corn stover and cob, and shares infrastructure with the adjacent 50 MMgy ethanol plant.

in May 2013, Canergy LLC announced that Chemtex/Beta Renewables technology would be used for a 25 MMgy cellulosic ethanol plant in Imperial Valley, California. Chemtex International Inc. has also received a conditional USDA loan guarantee to build a 20 MMgy cellulosic ethanol facility in eastern North Carolina using energy grasses as feedstock.

In December 2014, construction of the DuPont Cellulosic Ethanol LLC plant in Nevada, Iowa was nearing completion. The plant will produce 30MMgy of cellulosic ethanol from 590000 bales of corn stover. Murex LLC will market the ethanol. See Commercializing Advanced Renewable Fuel in Iowa for facts and figures.

Other examples of companies developing cellulosic ethanol technology include :

Cellerate, a collaboration between Syngenta and Cellulosic Ethanol Technologies LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Quad County Corn Processors. Cellerate enables corn kernel fiber to be converted into cellulosic ethanol, and the process technology can be readily added to existing ethanol plants as a bolt-on. In April 2015, Syngenta that Quad County Corn Processors has produced 1 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol using this technology. [Source: Syngenta 2014/2015].

In May 2013, American Process Inc. (API) announced investment from GranBio for cellulosic ethanol plants in the US and Brazil. API currently operates two demo plants in the US - the Alpena Biorefinery, and a facility in Thomaston, which uses API's 'American Value Added Pulping' AVAP process to convert a range of feedstocks to sugars.

Verenium (Vercipia). In September 2013, it was announced that Verenium would be acquired by BASF. In September 2010 BP Biofuels acquired the Verenium demonstration faclities in Jennings, LA, as well as cellulosic biofuels technology. In October 2012, BP announced that it has cancelled the planned construction of a commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant in Florida, and instead will focus on licensing its 2G technologies.

In January 2011, the USDA announced that "Coskata, Inc. received a letter of intent for a $250 million loan guarantee to construct and operate a cellulosic ethanol biorefinery facility. This 55-million gallon-per-year renewable biofuel project will use woody biomass to produce ethanol.

In Pontotoc, Miss., Enerkem Corporation received 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 (see also Westbury demo below)." [Source: USDA].

California Ethanol & Power LLC Developing a facility able to produce 66 Mgy of ethanol, ~50 MW of electricity and 940M cubic feet of biogas, using sweet sorghum and sugar cane. The engineering will be led by Uni-systems do Brazil Ltda. Shell has signed a five-year offtake agreement for the electricity, biogas and ethanol [Source: CE&P October 2013].

Mascoma sold its yeast fermentation business to Lallemand Inc in 2014. Renmatix runs the Mascomas plant in Rome.

ZeaChem Operates an existing 250,000 GPY integrated demonstration biorefinery, at thePort of Morrow, near Boardman, and hasin February 2012 received $12 from USDA to further develop/demonstrate its biorefinery systems.

GeoSynFuels developing demonstration of proprietary technology (5CS™ Process) to break down hemicellulose to 5 carbon sugar (xylose), leaving the cellulose (containing six carbon sugars) and lignin for power production. It is designed as a bolt-on platform for existing sugar cane or pulp mills. The benefits are lower Capex and Opex. In March 2014, GeoSynFuels acquired the demonstration plant assets of Western Biomass Energy, LLC.


BlueFire Ethanol has developed commercial Concentrated Acid Hydrolyisis technology for conversion of cellulosic feedstock to sugars. BlueFire is currently in the process of developing two cellulosic ethanol facilities in Lancaster, California and Fulton, Mississippi. In October 2014, Bluefire announced an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for its 19 MMgy cellulosic ethanol plant in Fulton.

In 2010, KL Energy Corp (no longer trading) announced that it was using its technology (based on a thermal-mechanical pretreatment process), in partnership with Petrobras, to convert sugarcane bagasse to ethanol. A demonstration plant has been operated in the US (exporting cellulosic ethanol to Brazil). The aim was to integrate the technology in Brazil in future. KL Energy Corp. also aimed to market its technology in the US and EU (France, Germany and Scandinavia) [Source: KL Energy Corp. website]. See Biofuels Digest for more information.

Abengoa Bioenergy - Constructing a commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant in Kansas due to start production in 2014.

Edeniq's Pathway™ enzyme platform combines the Cellunator™ and unique enzymes to produce cellulosic sugars. In January 2015, Edeniq announced it had secured $16m in funding to further commecialize it's technology which can incease efficiency of exising ethanol plants by 3-6%. Previously in June 2012, Edeniq officially launched a Corn to Cellulosic Migration (CCM) pilot plant, which announced 1000 hours of continuous operation in May 2013.


Fiberight - Is developing commercial scale plants for conversion of MSW to ethanol

POET Cellulosic Ethanol Pilot Plant

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POET Cellulosic Ethanol Pilot Plant, Scotland, SD, US, producing 20,000 gallons per year using corn cobs as feedstock. The $8m pilot plant is a precursor to the $200 million Project LIBERTY, a commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant that will begin production in 2011. View at larger size >>