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Siemens, USEI, POET-DSM Launch Biofuels Projects

LanzatechUS Energy Initiatives Corporation, Siemens and POET-DSM Advanced Biofuels have all launched major biofuels projects.

USEI and Promethean Biofuels have signed a biodiesel production agreement whereby the companies will work together to bring the Promethean facility in Temecula, Calif., to its maximum capacity beginning in the next few weeks. Promethean has the capacity to produce 2.1 to 3 million gallons of biodiesel per year if producing at capacity; the goal is to reach capacity next month.

This is a 12-month agreement and the parties agree to divide the profits produced by the sale of fuel produced, which should exceed $6 million dollars annually.

Meanwhile, Siemens Metals Technologies and LanzaTech have signed a 10-year cooperation agreement to develop and market LanzaTech’s fermentation technology to the steel industry. The process transforms carbon-rich off-gases generated by the steel industry into low carbon bioethanol and other platform chemicals.

Off-gases from the production of iron and steel contain significant amounts of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. Globally, the iron and steel industry contributes 6.7 percent to the worldwide CO2 emissions. To produce 1 metric ton of steel, an average of 1.8 metric tons of carbon dioxide is emitted. Up to now, these gases have been flared or used to create process heat and electrical energy within the plant. LanzaTech’s technology, instead, re-uses the off-gases from converter, coking plant or blast furnace processes as nutrients and a source of energy.

Also, construction of POET-DSM Advanced Biofuels’ first commercial cellulosic bio-ethanol plant is on schedule to start up in early 2014.

POET-DSM’s Project Liberty will use bales of corn cobs, leaves, husks and some stalk to produce 20 million gallons of cellulosic bio-ethanol annually, later ramping up to 25 million gallons. The plant is under construction in Emmetsburg, Iowa. To date, the biomass receiving and grinding building, which will process an average of 770 tons of biomass per day of operation, is nearly complete and workers are finishing concrete work inside. Fermentation and saccharification tank foundations are complete and the tanks continue to be erected. Additional completed work to date includes the facility’s warehouse building, scale and the 22-acre biomass stackyard.

The next steps in construction include the continued erection of tanks, concrete, plumbing, and underground electrical as well as installation of equipment.

Earlier this month, Scottish startup Celtic Renewables announced plans to turn waste from the country’s £4 billion ($6 billion) whiskey-making industry into millions of gallons of renewable fuel, creating a £60 million ($90 million) biofuels industry.

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