Pennsylvania Announces First Ethanol Production Facility & Cellulose Pilot

August 22, 2006

Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell announced last week the location of the state's first ethanol production facility in Clearfield County. BioEnergy International, LLC, will operate the facility, which has an estimated production capacity of 108 million gallons of ethanol per year. This will make it the largest ethanol production facility east of the Mississippi River, and one of the nation's top ten ethanol producers. The facility will also produce specialty chemicals and will include a pilot for producing ethanol from cellulose and agricultural residues.

Rendell said that Pennsylvania has biomass resources sufficient to produce more than 500 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol per year. He also noted that Pennsylvania has 20 biodiesel production facilities in various stages of planning and construction, and the state might become one of the nation's leading producers of soy biodiesel by the end of the year.

Rendell presented BioEnergy officials a ceremonial check for $17.4 million at a press conference in Harrisburg, which represents various state grants and loans for the project. Rendell said, "Today, Pennsylvania takes another gigantic step forward on the renewable energy front in a move that will lessen our dependence on foreign energy sources." The governor noted that at current gasoline prices, the state is on track to spend more than $30 billion on transportation fuels outside the state.

BioEnergy International plans to invest $250 in the Clearfield County facility. This includes $70 million for the cellulosic ethanol pilot. Initially, the company will use corn as a feedstock, which will be replaced over time with organic wastes wood chips. For more information, see the governor's August 17 press release.

Last May, Governor Rendell launched the PennSecurity Fuels initiative to make E85 available to drivers throughout the state. See the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection announcement of the initiative.

BioEnergy International, LLC, which is headquartered in Norwell, Massachusetts, plans to start construction of the Clearfield County plant in early 2007 and begin production in 2008. See the BioEnergy August 21 press release (PDF 15 KB).