Ineos begins waste-to-ethanol production at Florida plant

15:47 PM | July 31, 2013 | Lindsay Frost

Ineos says its has started commercial-scale production of cellulosic ethanol at its Indian River BioEnergy center joint venture at Vero Beach, FL. Shipments from the plant, the first US facility to produce cellulosic ethanol at commercial scale, will start in August.

The plant uses a unique hybrid of gasification and fermentation technology to convert wood scraps, grass clippings and other waste materials into transportation fuels as well as energy for heat and power. The plant is a jv between Ineos and New Plant Energy (League City, TX), 

Plant output will total 8 million gal of cellulosic ethanol and 6 megawatts of renewable power. The plant is permitted to utilize municipal solid waste, quantities of which will be used for bioethanol production at the center during 2014, Ineos says.

“We are now pleased to announce that we are producing commercial quantities of bioethanol from vegetative and wood waste and, at the same time, exporting power to the local community—a world first," says Peter Williams, CEO of Ineos Bio and chairman of Ineos New Planet BioEnergy. The company says it expects "to spend the remainder of 2013 putting the plant through its paces and demonstrating full nameplate capacity."

The plant cost over $130 million. The facility has already converted several types of waste biomass material into bioethanol—including vegetative and yard wastes, as well as citrus, oak, pine, and pallet wood wastes.

“Today’s announcement of commercial-scale cellulosic production represents an important benchmark for American leadership in this growing global industry,” says Department of Energy (DOE) secretary Ernest Moniz. “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.”  DOE says 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. Ineos purchased the core intellectual property for the technology in 2008.