Aemetis provides update of RNG, cellulosic ethanol projects

By Erin Voegele | November 14, 2019

Aemetis Inc. released third quarter financial results on Nov. 14, reporting progress with efforts to lower the carbon score of its corn ethanol plant and develop renewable natural gas (RNG) and cellulosic ethanol projects.

During an earnings call, Eric McAfee, chairman and CEO of Aemetis discussed efforts to upgrade the company’s corn ethanol plant in Keyes, California, in order lower input costs and reduce the carbon intensity of the biofuel it produces.

One project currently underway is the construction of a carbon dioxide capture and reuse facility under development by Linde gas adjacent to the Keyes plant. The facility will convert 175,000 metric tons per year of renewable carbon dioxide produced by the Keyes plant into liquid CO2 for sale to food processors and other industrial users. The new facility is expected to become operational during the first quarter of 2020.

Work is also underway to add a Mitsubishi’s Xebrex membrane dehydration system to the Keyes plant. McAfee said the Mitsubishi unit is current in final equipment fabrication and is scheduled for installation at the Keyes plant during the first quarter of next year. Once operational, the membrane system will reduce natural gas use at the facility, lowering the carbon intensity of ethanol produced at the plant.

McAfee also provided updates of Aemetis’ advanced low carbon fuels projects, including dairy RNG production and a cellulosic ethanol plant.

Construction of the company’s first two dairy digesters and related pipeline systems is expected to be complete during the first quarter of 2020, he said. An additional nine dairy digesters and associated pipeline systems are expected to be complete by the end of 2020.

Regarding the Riverbank cellulosic ethanol plant that will use LanzaTech technology to convert orchard waste into low-carbon cellulosic ethanol, McAfee noted the company is currently focused on completing engineering for the project required for the negotiation of the EPC contract, as required by the USDA’s 9003 loan guarantee program. Financial close of the project is currently expected during the second quarter of next year, he added.

Aemetis also owns a biodiesel plant in India that was recently expanded.

During the quarter, Aemetis sold 15.8 million gallons of ethanol, down from 16.7 million gallons during the third quarter of last year. The company also sold 106,200 tons of wet distillers grains, down from 108,500 tons during the same period of 2018.

Biodiesel sales increased to 19,300 tons, up from 6,000 tons during the third quarter of last year.

The company reported third quarter revenues of $57.4 million, up from $44.6 million reported for the same period of 2018. The increase was driven by a 222 percent increase in biodiesel sale volumes.

Gross profit was $40 million, up from $2.7 million during the third quarter of 2018. Operating loss was $600,000, down from $1.3 million. Net loss was $7.2 million, compared to a net loss of $6.6 million during the third quarter of 2018.