Verenium receives DOE grant

By Kris Bevill
Web exclusive posted July 17, 2008 at 3:15 p.m. CST

The U.S. DOE recently announced two recipients of up to $40 million in funding as part of its small-scale biorefinery project that is expected to help make cellulosic ethanol cost competitive by 2012. Verenium Corp.'s demonstration-scale cellulosic facility in Jennings, La. and Park Falls, Wis.-based Flambeau River Biofuels LLC were selected as recipients of the 5-year project. Monetary awards are expected to be finalized next week. Verenium had initially applied for $10 million.

"To meet our growing energy demand we must continue to research and advance clean energy solutions to improve our energy security, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and clean, sustainable cellulosic biofuels do just that," DOE Assistant Secretary Andy Karsner said. "These biorefineries will create fuel from non-food based sources to power our vehicles and reduce our dependence on foreign oil."

Verenium plans to use the funds to support ongoing activities at its 1.4 MMgy demonstration-scale facility in Jennings, La. The plant held its grand opening in late May and has almost completed start-up. Kelly Lindenboom, vice president of corporate communications at Verenium, said the plant is "very much into the commissioning phase" of operations, which consists of producing ethanol and validating performance and cost assumptions.

Verenium President and Chief Executive Officer Carlos Riva said the grant award will support this "very important" phase at the plant. "We are very pleased with this award and with our continued progress on corporate partnership discussions," he said. "Both of these initiatives will help to accelerate our overall biofuels business."