The Department of Energy (DOE) is thrilled with the announcement that INEOS Bio’s Indian River BioEnergy Center in Vero Beach, Florida is producing cellulosic ethanol at commercial scale. Often hailed as the “phantom fuel,” the success of the plant is demonstrating that advanced biofuels are “no longer around the corner” and here today. The company’s technology was originally developed with DOE support back in the 1990’s – to convert wood scraps, grass clippings and other waste materials into transportation fuels as well as energy for heat and power.
“Unlocking the potential for the responsible development of all of America’s rich energy resources is a critical part of our all-of-the-above energy strategy,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. “Today’s announcement of commercial-scale cellulosic production represents an important benchmark for American leadership in this growing global industry. It also demonstrates the need for early-stage investment in innovative technologies that will help diversify our energy portfolio, reduce carbon pollution and lead to tomorrow’s energy breakthroughs.”
The Indian River County BioEnergy Center (Center) will have an annual output of eight million gallons of cellulosic ethanol per year from vegetative, yard and municipal solid waste as well as six megawatts of clean, renewable power annually – enough to run the entire facility and provide excess power to the local community.
The project’s gasification-fermentation technology – which produces fuel, heat and power – has its roots in a University of Arkansas research project, supported by a $5 million DOE investment over fifteen years. The Department’s early support helped this technology obtain a number of patents, with the core intellectual property purchased by INEOS Bio in 2008.