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Florida, Mississippi biomass projects move forward

By Lisa Gibson
Posted December 17, 2009, at 8:39 a.m. CST

Georgia-based Biomass Gas & Electric LLC's proposed Northwest Florida Renewable Energy Center has met initial threshold requirements for part I of the U.S. DOE's Loan Guarantee program and the company will now actively pursue the part II application. Elsewhere, BlueFire Ethanol's DOE funding for its Mississippi biorefinery was increased.

The 47-megawatt Florida power plant will gasify woody biomass and energy crops, selling its power to Progress Energy of Florida under a 20-year power purchase agreement, according to Biomass Energy Holdings, owned by BG&E and Bianchi Energy Solutions. The plant will be located at Port St. Joe in Gulf County and is construction is scheduled to begin in the second quarter of 2010, with an operation date in the following 18 to 24 months. The facility is expected to create 200 jobs during construction and another 25 to 30 permanent positions once completed.

BG&E will grow 50 percent of the 735 bone dry tons of biomass per day required for the plant using a micropropagation technology applicable for up to 50 species of perennial grasses. The growing will be done at its subsidiary AgTech Renewable Fuels LLC. The remaining feedstock will come from local wood providers and farmers, according to BEH.

BlueFire Ethanol Inc.'s DOE funding for phase II of the construction process for its ethanol biorefinery has been increased to $81.8 million. That's in addition to about $7 million for phase I. The biorefinery will produce about 18 MMgy from nonfood cellulosic wastes in Fulton, Miss., according to the company. The plant was originally planned for a California site, but was moved to Mississippi because of a challenging business climate and licensing process, according to the company. BlueFire is currently working on licensing and permitting the facility.
 

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