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August 31, 2011

USDA Guarantees Loan to Florida Biofuels Facility

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced on August 18 that it issued a $75 million loan guarantee to support construction of a waste-to-energy bioprocessing facility in Vero Beach, Florida. The plant will produce up to 8 million gallons per year of cellulosic ethanol and will create an estimated 380 new jobs.

The facility, to be completed by the summer of 2012, will use a gas fermentation process to produce cellulosic ethanol from citrus fruit, vegetable, and yard wastes. The plant will consume an estimated 300 dry tons of organic material per day and will produce enough electricity to run the plant and provide for the power needs of 1,400 homes. It is estimated the facility will create 380 jobs. Compared to gasoline, the ethanol produced by the plant will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 90%. The loan guarantee was issued through USDA Rural Development's Biorefinery Assistance Program. DOE has also supported this technology with $50 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding. See the USDA press release, a DOE Energy Blog post, and the USDA Biorefinery Assistance Program webpage.

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