API, in partnership with San Antonio’s Valero Energy Corporation, received $4 million from the Michigan bioenergy Centers of Energy Excellence (COEE) program to establish a pilot scale biorefinery at the Decorative Panels International hardwood plant in Alpena. The $4 million in COEE funding to API helped secure a U.S. Department of Energy grant for $17.9 million. The biorefinery will convert the process waste effluent from the plant into cellulosic ethanol, sodium acetate and clean, warm water. The project has potential to be replicated across the state in other biorefineries, pulp and paper mills, and food and agricultural processing plants.
API has invested $10 million in the project and estimates that replication across Michigan in existing industries alone could create annual economic value of $200 million within 10 years.