Aemetis said it acquired carbon recycling company LanzaTech’s waste-to-fuels technology to use at its Keyes facility, which will allow it to convert local California biomass wastes — including agricultural waste, forest waste, dairy waste and construction and demolition waste — to ethanol. This makes Aemetis the first licensee of the New Zealand-based company’s technology in North America.
Aemetis’ ethanol plant currently uses about 20 million bushels per year of feedstock, primarily of corn and milo supplied from the Midwest, said Eric McAfee, chairman and CEO of Aemetis. By using local biomass wastes, the company will be able to reduce its feedstock costs from more than $150 a ton to receiving tipping fees for waste feedstocks, he said.
The first phase of the adoption of the LanzaTech technology by Aemetis will be an 8 million gallon per year processing unit related to the Keyes plant, which under the agreement is planned to be built by the end of 2017. The agreement provides for an expansion to 32 million gallon per year process unit, as well as licenses for units that would be installed at other existing ethanol plants.
The current price of advanced ethanol in California including federal, state and tax credit incentives is about $4.60 per gallon, $3 more per gallon than corn ethanol ($1.60 per gallon.)
In a separate announcement, Aemetis said it will use Edeniq’s cellulosic ethanol technology at the Keyes facility. Edeniq’s Pathway technology utilizes existing fermentation and distillation equipment to produce up to 2.5 percent cellulosic ethanol and a 7 percent increase in overall ethanol yield, the company says.
McAfee says the Edeniq’s technology is the “fastest and most cost-efficient route to cellulosic ethanol.”
Edeniq is one of 13 alternative fuel producers best positioned to compete with cheap oil, according a May 2015 report from Lux Research.
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