BlueFire applies for DOE loan guarantee

By Holly Jessen | February 09, 2010
Posted Feb. 24, 2010

BlueFire Ethanol Fuels Inc. recently applied for a $250 million loan guarantee for its cellulosic ethanol biorefinery in Fulton, Miss. The company wants to build two cellulosic ethanol facilities, one at Fulton and the second near Lancaster, Calif., according to a press release. "Programs like the DOE loan guarantee enable first-of-its-kind technologies to come to fruiting and ultimately help ease the United States' dependence on fossil fuels like petroleum, which is oftentimes imported from hostile nations," said Arnold Klann, CEO of BlueFire Ethanol.

The Lancaster site, which the company refers to as its first U.S. commercial plant, is shovel ready. The feedstock will be post-sorted cellulosic wastes diverted from landfills in Southern California. They expect to produce about 3.9 MMgy at that location, the press release said. "The company only awaits final financing to begin construction," a spokesperson told EPM.

The Folton site is currently in the engineering phase. The company hopes to have permitting completed this summer, with construction planned for the end of 2010. The facility will produce 19 MMgy of ethanol from woody biomass, mill residue, and other cellulosic waste.

The U.S. Department of Energy previously awarded BlueFire up to $88 million through the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 for its Folton plant. If the DOE loan guarantee is approved BlueFire will have secured the needed financing to begin construction, according to the press release.

"We are looking forward to a very busy and productive year in 2010; we have all of the pieces in place to respond to President Obama's call to boost biofuels production and reduce our dangerous dependence on foreign oil," Klann said. "We at BlueFire are committed to bringing new fuel sources to Americans and agree with the current administration that projects such as ours are the right approach for creating new jobs, equity for shareholders and wealth for the nation, while also developing new export technologies to offset capital flight and give the nation energy security by offsetting oil imports."