Flambeau River Biorefinery awaits financing
The company's other biomass venture is also waiting on funding. Flambeau River Biorefinery is a 20 MMgy cellulosic ethanol biorefinery under development. It will utilize a patent-pending process technology called AVAP, which was developed by Atlanta-based American Process Inc. to convert the hemicellulose in spent pulping liquor (or black liquor) into ethanol. The biorefinery will be collocated with the paper mill. Pilot trials have been done at forest service labs in Madison, Wis., Thorp said. The trials are to refine the process, develop alternative equipment, and make the process more efficient and economically attractive. "We need to refine the project more to get it funded, which we're doing," Thorp said.
Flambeau River Papers is applying for U.S. DOE grant money, and Thorp said he expects a response late this year. The company is also investigating funding opportunities with major corporations. Construction is estimated to take 16 to 20 months, and will start once financing and permitting are complete. Permits will be expedited under Wisconsin's "Green Tier" program.