Aemetis provides update of cellulosic ethanol project

By Erin Voegele | May 16, 2018

Aemetis Inc. recently released first quarter 2018 financial results, reporting increased revenue and providing an update on the development of its cellulosic ethanol plant that is under development in California.

During an investor call, Eric McAfee, CEO of Aemetis, said that the company completed several milestones related to the funding and construction of its proposed 12 MMgy cellulosic ethanol plant in Riverbank, California. He said the company previously signed a 20-year supply contract for orchard wood that will supply the approximately 140,000 tons of feedstock to the facility. During the first quarter, he said the company completed key environmental review and permitting milestones for the plant, as well as preliminary engineering design.  

According to McAfee, a cellulosic demonstration plant in Richland, Washington, completed four months of continuous operations with scheduled maintenance cycles. “The integrated demonstration unit proved out a yield of 77 gallons of cellulosic ethanol per ton of biomass,” McAfee said, noting that the company expects commercial yields of approximately 86 gallons of cellulosic ethanol per ton of biomass.

“The demonstration plant was a key deliverable required for a U.S. Department of Agriculture commitment letter for a $125 million low interest rate, federally guaranteed loan for the construction of the 12 million gallon per year capacity cellulosic ethanol plant in California,” McAfee continued. “We are now working with the USDA to receive a rating from the Office of Management & Budget, which we are expecting within a few weeks based upon the expectations set by USDA management.”

McAfee also noted that Aemetis began to procure equipment for the Riverbank plant during the first quarter, and has invested approximately $8 million in the project to date. “We plan to complete a financial closing this year and then complete construction of the plant in the second half of 2019,” he said.

Regarding the company’s existing corn ethanol plant in Keyes, California, McAfee noted that the facility continues to make excellent progress with the goal of reducing energy and other costs while reducing the carbon intensity of its ethanol. The price of low carbon fuel standard credits have risen from $62 per credit in July 2017 to a sustained $150 per credit, McAfee said. “By implementing advanced process technologies into our plant, we can potentially achieve an 11-carbon intensity point reduction in our corn ethanol business, which could provide $10 million or more of improved annual cash flow from our 60 million-gallon Keyes plant,” he continued.

Aemetis also operates a biodiesel plant and glycerin unit in India.

Aemetis’ North American operations generated $37.2 million of revenues during the first quarter, up 24 percent when compared to the $30 million in revenues reported for the same period of last year. India generated $5.8 million of revenue, up 262 percent when compared to the $1.6 million reported for the first quarter of 2017.

Overall gross profit for the quarter reached $1.9 million, compared to a $600,000 loss during the same period of last year. Operating loss was $2 million, compared to $4 million during the first quarter of 2017. Net loss was $11.1 million, compared to $8.5 million during the same quarter of last year. Adjusted EBITDA reached $138,000 compared to an EBITDA deficit of $2.4 million during the first quarter of 2017.