Florida’s Farm to Fuel initiative is helping to fund the first commercial scale cellulosic ethanol facility in the state.
Verenium Corporation has been awarded a $7 million grant as part of the initiative and will work with Florida agribusiness company Lykes Brothers to build the plant in Highlands county. Lykes will provide the necessary feedstock from approximately 20,000 acres adjacent to the site.
During a press conference in Tallahassee today, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson said, “The message today is that Florida’s agricultural industry can produce fuel crops on a major commercial scale without sacrificing food crops. This is a major step forward for our ‘Farm to Fuel’ program and hopefully will serve as a catalyst for additional investment by companies interested in producing renewable energy in Florida.”
This $25 million program provides matching grants to bio-energy firms for demonstration, commercialization and research and development projects utilizing Florida-grown biomass or crops. Verenium was also awarded an additional incentive package from the State of Florida.
Verenium’s conversion process originated from the landmark technology developed by a team led by Dr. Lonnie Ingram at the University of Florida.