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  • bluecheese4u bluecheese4u Aug 2, 2012 9:33 PM Flag

    Finance committee votes to extend cellulosic, biodiesel credits

    Finance committee votes to extend cellulosic, biodiesel credits

    By Susanne Retka Schill | August 02, 2012

    Three important tax credits for biofuels were included in a bipartisan package of tax extenders included in a tax package passed Aug. 2 by the Senate finance committee, offering hope to advanced biofuel developers. The measure, of course, must pass the full Senate and the House, as well.

    The Advanced Ethanol Council applauded the finance committee leadership for including the producer tax credit for cellulosic ethanol and accelerated depreciation for cellulosic biorefineries in the package. Both tax incentives are due to expire at the end of the year.

    "The advanced biofuels industry commends the Senate Finance Committee for recognizing the need to provide continuity in the advanced biofuels marketplace while Congress tackles the bigger issue of comprehensive tax reform," said Brooke Coleman, executive director of the AEC. "Congress is right to take a hard look at all tax incentives for all energy industries, including fossil fuels. And we look forward to the day when we can restore parity to the tax code when it comes to energy development. But until that day comes, it is critical to maintain stability in the marketplace for emerging industries. This strong, bipartisan vote sends a strong signal to the marketplace that Congress understands the urgent need to address these expiring credits, and we look forward to getting these incentives extended as soon as possible."

    Biodiesel producers also got a boost in the bipartisan tax package that extends the now-expired biodiesel tax incentive. "This is a refreshing display of bipartisan cooperation to get this economy moving again, and we applaud Chairman Baucus and Ranking Member Hatch for their leadership," Anne Steckel, vice president of federal affairs for the National Biodiesel Board, said. "The biodiesel tax incentive is a proven job creator. Growth in our industry has been stagnant since the incentive expired on Dec. 31. Reinstating it will get biodiesel producers across the country back to expanding their businesses and hiring new employees, as they were doing last year with the tax incentive in place."

    The biodiesel tax incentive was first implemented in 2005 and expired in 2010. After it was reinstated last year, the biodiesel industry grew rapidly and set a new production record of nearly 1.1 billion gallons, supporting more than 39,000 jobs across the country, according to the NBB. “Biodiesel is the first and only EPA-designated advanced biofuel that's produced on a commercial scale across the U.S. It is produced in nearly every state in the country and is used in existing diesel engines without modification,” the NBB said in its statement.

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    • Commissioning under way at Florida cellulosic ethanol plant

      By Susanne Retka Schill | August 02, 2012

      View of the Indian River BioEnergy Center this spring as construction neared completion.

      Commissioning is well under way at the commercial-scale Ineos New Planet Bioenergy LLC facility, dubbed the Indian River BioEnergy Center, located near Vero Beach, Fla. When running at full capacity, the plant will produce 8 MMgy of ethanol and 6 megawatts of power using 100,000 tons annually of locally sourced vegetative, yard and citrus waste. Plans are to also run municipal solid waste after the initial startup.

      “Commissioning is a lengthy process which we began in June,” said Dan Cummings, spokesman for Ineos Bio. “The commissioning process is going well. We anticipate we’ll start producing in the third quarter, to help meet the cellulosic ethanol mandate.” The plant is expected to be running at full capacity by the end of the year.

      The project is a joint venture between Florida-based New Planet Energy Florida LLC and Ineos Bio, a division of global chemical company Ineos. The $130 million project received a $50 million U.S. DOE matching grant in December 2009 and a $75 million USDA loan guarantee in January 2011. A groundbreaking ceremony was held a month later. Atlanta-based AMEC provided the engineering, procurement and construction services. Other providers included Vogelbusch USA, which supplied the ethanol distillation and dehydration equipment, Emerson which provided controls and Pennsylvania-based Air Products which received the contract to supply onsite oxygen, compressed dry air and nitrogen. Over 90 percent of the equipment was sourced from U.S. manufactured components, Cummings said.

      The gases from the Air Products unit are used in the first step of the Ineos Bio process, where biomass is gasified using a controlled amount of oxygen to produce syngas, a mixture of principally carbon monoxide and hydrogen. Heat recovered from the cooling gas generates renewable power for use in the process as well as export to the grid. The cleaned, cooled syngas goes to a patented anaerobic bacterial fermentation process producing ethanol that is then continuously extracted from solution and distilled. In the continuous process, feedstock coming into the gasifier exits as ethanol just 10 minutes later, according to Cummings.

      The process design was worked out in over 40,000 hours of operation since 2003 at a fully-integrated pilot plant in Fayetteville, Ark., using a wide variety of feedstocks. Ineos purchased the pilot facility and technology in 2008 from Bioengineering Resources Inc., combining that work with its own expertise in technology commercialization and large-scale facility development.

      Ineos Bio announced in November that AMEC, would be its global license support engineering firm as the company rolls out its licensing program. AMEC will work with Ineos Bio in developing engineering design packages, as it did in the development of the Indian River BioEnergy Center.

      “Ineos Bio is looking to build, own and operate facilities,” Cummings said. “We’re open to partnering in joint ventures if opportunities arise, and we are in discussions with a number of entities to license the technology.”

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