BlueFire Ethanol Fuels Inc. received a conditional use permit from the County of Los Angeles, Department of Regional Planning, for the operation of a new biorefinery it will build on a 10 acre lot near a Lancaster, CA landfill. For anyone aware of the slow rate of permitting new facilities for waste conversion in the region, that is a major achievement.
This is NOT the commercial-scale project for which BlueFire received a U.S. Department of Energy EPAct 932 matching grant of $40 million. That plant is being for deployment in Mecca, CA and will require roughly 900 tons per day of biomass when fully operational. The DOE considers 700 tpd to be the benchmark for a commercial scale biorefinery.
For Arnold Klann, President of BlueFire, it was a long time coming but worth the wait. With key drivers being the need for alternative fuels, oil prices, landfill diversion, and global climate change things have been happening fast the last few years for this publicly traded company.
On hand to support the action were Coby Skye of the Los Angeles Department of Public Works and Mike Mohajer, a leader of Solid Waste management in Los Angeles for decades. Necy Sumait, Senior Vice President, and William Davis, VP of Project Management, who made the final presentation to the Commission were there as well.
The county Department of Public Works has launched a pilot project to build other trash-conversion facilities near other landfills in the region.
"Instead of shipping the trash long distances for disposal, we want to develop these new conversion technologies and manage the trash right there on site," said Coby J. Skye, associate civil engineer in the Environmental Programs Division for public works. "What that does is it eliminates truck trips, converts otherwise useless material into usable products and energy and offsets fossil-fuel emissions."
In the past month, two of Los Angeles County’s largest cities have passed resolutions endorsing the County’s conversion technology program. The city councils of Long Beach and Lancaster, which together account for nearly 650,000 residents, each asked the County to keep their city in mind for future conversion technology projects. These join existing resolutions adopted by the cities of Glendale and Calabasas.
BlueFire Ethanol Awarded Final Permits to Construct the Nation's First Commercial Cellulosic Ethanol Production Plant
BlueFire Ethanol Fuels, Inc. (OTC: BFRE.OB), a leader in cellulosic ethanol production technology, was granted a conditional-use permit ("CUP") from the County of Los Angeles, Department of Regional Planning, to permit the construction of the nation's first commercial facility to convert biowaste into ethanol.
The Los Angeles County Planning Commission approved the use permit for operation of the plant on 10 undeveloped acres near Lancaster, California, in the Antelope Valley. BlueFire plans to initiate commercial operation of the plant in late 2009.
"We are thrilled to receive this permit," said Arnold Klann, president and CEO of BlueFire Ethanol, "and we see this construction of our first cellulosic ethanol the United States plant as a catalyst for the advancement of cellulosic fuel production throughout our nation."
The new facility will use BlueFire's commercially-ready, patented and proven Concentrated Acid Hydrolysis Technology Process. This will allow the profitable conversion of cellulosic waste ("Green Waste") into as much as 3.2 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol per year. Derived from non-foodstock urban, forestry and agricultural residues, this form of ethanol is a completely renewable and highly-economical alternative to gasoline and other types of ethanol.
BlueFire Ethanol selected the Lancaster location because an estimated 170 tons of biowaste material, including woodchips, grass cuttings and other organic waste, already passes by the property every day. The plant is also designed to use reclaimed water and lignin, a byproduct of the production process, in order to produce its own electricity and steam.
"By locating biorefineries directly in the markets with the highest demand for ethanol, our technology can also help surrounding cities manage landfill waste, solving two problems for the price of one," added Klann.
As part of a strategy to control costs and accelerate production at the Lancaster facility, BlueFire Ethanol has already implemented production of pre-assembled modules which will comprise the Lancaster biorefinery.
"Prefabrication and modular construction has proven itself to be the best method for maintaining quality, controlling costs and creating the fastest to-market time for the deployment of complex facilities," said Klann. "Plus, the size of our Lancaster facility is consistent with the feedstock-gathering capabilities in developing countries where aggregation of large quantities of useable feedstock is not as practical. As such, this approach also allows us to set a standard with a manufactured product and export our facilities as a turn-key product around the world."
BlueFire Ethanol is also one of six ethanol companies awarded $40 million funding from the U.S. Department of Energy for its construction a larger ethanol production facility using cellulosic wastes diverted from landfills in Southern California. The facility will produce approximately 17 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol per year from green waste, wood waste and other cellulosic urban wastes.
technorati bioenergy, biofuels, ethanol, hydrolysis, cellulosic