Jessica Dailey

Ineos Breaks Ground on First Commercial Biofuel Plant in U.S.

by , 02/11/11

Ineos New Plant BioEnergy, Ineos biofuel plant, ineos first commercial biofuels plant, first u.s. commercial biofuels plant

Vero Beach, Florida will soon be home to the nation’s first commercial size biofuel processing plant. Ineos New Plant BioEnergy began construction two days ago on the grounds of an old citrus-processing factory for the $130 million Indian River BioEnergy Center. The plant will annually produce 8 million gallons of bio-ethanol and six megawatts of renewable power, two of which will be exported to the local community.

Ineos New Plant BioEnergy, Ineos biofuel plant, ineos first commercial biofuels plant, first u.s. commercial biofuels plant

The company building the plant is a joint venture by Ineos Bio and New Plant Energy. To create ethanol, the plant will use a traditional biofuel technology which involves heating plant waste and gasifying it, but they will also use a special technology developed by Ineos. While most processes focus on converting one type of plant material, the new technology uses naturally occurring bacteria that eat hydrogen and carbon monoxide to create ethanol from a multitude of raw materials, including household and yard waste, forestry waste, agricultural waste, and solid municipal waste. Whatever gases are not consumed by the bacteria, the plant will burn to produce electricity.

The plant will be up and running by the middle of next year, and the project is expected to provide 380 new jobs for the local community.  Funding for the plant came from a $50 million grant from the Department of Energy, a $75 million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture as part of its Biorefinery Assistance Program, and a $2.5 million grant from the state of Florida.

WHY THIS MATTERS

Biofuels are much cleaner and greener than fossil fuels, and they help to reduce our carbon footprint and mitigate global warming. Additionally, if all of the waste was not going to be used by the Ineos New Plant BioEnery, it would just go to a landfill, where it would generate methane, a potent global warming gas.

Via Environmental Protection

Photo credit: Ineos

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5 Comments

  1. cybergabi February 16, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    Dear dshir61, I was expressing a single study, not ‘the European thought’. As you might or might not know, the European Union (EU) has set a target that intends to have 20% of their oil consumption replaced by “bio”-diesel by 2020. To achieve this goal the EU has and will continue to pay farmers 45 euros per hectare for the cultivation of energy crops. I am sure similar programs exist or will be launched soon in the US too. The biofuel lobby is BIG in Europe. The conclusions of the Umweltinstitut München are not the ‘European thought’, neither is my criticism of this contribution.

    I am not discrediting biofuels in general. I was just pointing out that calling biofuels ‘much cleaner and greener than fossil fuels’ is a generalization which shouldn’t be made in a ‘green’ blog – and I was substantiating this view with a study, which, as you admit, is accurate. I know there is a lot of exciting research going on in this area, and I am open to be educated on new technologies and their impact on the environment.

    That being said, I am still convinced that you would need vast amounts of land to match our ever-growing hunger for energy. Where should this land come from? Usually, what happens is that after some pilot tests back home, developing countries get bribed into sacrificing their natural resources – both by US and EU companies. History shows us that there is no such thing as a successful strictly local program. If it’s successful in economical terms, it will spill over to other countries, and the corporation that makes money with it will look for ‘cheaper’ production alternatives, which usually involves developing countries.

    Thinking only in national terms doesn’t help tackle ecological problems. Climate change doesn’t stop at political borders. If a technology is successful in the western world, it will most certainly be adapted by the BRIICS next (which, as I am sure you are aware of, account for half of the world population, two-digit economic growth rates, and also two digit growth rates in energy consumption), and later also by countries which are currently regarded as the third world.

    I salute that you are working on new energy technologies. I will salute you even more if you ditch your nationalism and keep in mind that we need global solutions.

  2. dshir61 February 14, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    Very nice attempt to drag the European thought on Bio-fuels into an article about American production of them. The fact of the matter is there is vast research being done that completely negates the argument you are attempting to put forward. For instance i am currently doing work to convert non-foodstock crops into bio-fuels. It is strictly manufactured using locally grown grass crops and has a potential energy yield 10X that of current bio-fuels and petroleum based products.

    The fact that you took a single report, and cast it over an entire field of research and industry, is incredibly misguided. I am not attempting to discredit some of the reports put forward in the flyers, as they are accurate, but I do have an issue with people making it sound as if this is the only form of bio-fuel production currently in use. A simple google search can easily point to tons of research that is looking at moving away from food based sources of ethanol specifically because it has a very low energy yield and takes food off the market.

    So please, before you go attempting to discredit an entire are of study, do some research first.

  3. cybergabi February 11, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    The German independent environmetal research institute Umweltinstitut München e.V. has just published a new series of flyers called false friends, criticizing the replacement of fossile fuels by nuclear power, CO2 capture and storage, and so-called agro (or bio) fuels.

    By burning agro fuels more greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere than by burning the same amount of fossile fuels: A more intense agriculture produces additional CO2 emissions because it destroys rain forests, moors and meadows. The demand for fuels in the developed world will lever out climate protection efforts in developing countries by using a simple trick: Oil palms for the bio fuels will be raised on former soy plantations, and for new soy plantations more rain forest will be cleared.

    Biofuel shouldn’t be presented as environmentally friendly on a blog that wants to ‘save the world’, much less with a sentence like ‘Biofuels are much cleaner and greener than fossil fuels, and they help to reduce our carbon footprint and mitigate global warming.’ This is just wrong.

  4. fritz.moedinger February 11, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    It is absolutely not true that biofuels aid in reducing the environmental footprint. On the contrary. Many times land and fertilizer use more than reverse any eventual positive effect. It is certainly difficult to assess the environmental benefit or not of such an operation. Hence a slightly more critical view would be really appreciated and certainly be justified. Not everything that looks “green” is, in the end, “green”!

  5. cybergabi February 11, 2011 at 9:34 am

    Biofuel doesn’t save the world. It’s worse than conventional petroleum: http://greeningrsm.ning.com/profiles/blogs/bio-fuel-even-worse-for-the

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