Florida Project Produces Nation’s First Commercial-Scale Cellulosic Ethanol

August 07, 2013

The Energy Department on August 1 recognized the nation's first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol production at INEOS Bio's Indian River BioEnergy Center in Vero Beach, Florida. Developed through a joint venture between INEOS Bio and New Planet Energy, the project uses a unique hybrid of gasification and fermentation technology—originally developed with Energy Department support starting in the 1990s—to convert wood scraps, grass clippings, and other waste materials into transportation fuels as well as energy for heat and power.

The Indian River County BioEnergy Center will have an annual output of 8 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol per year from vegetative, yard, and municipal solid waste as well as 6 megawatts of power annually, which is enough to run the entire facility and provide excess power to the local community. The project's gasification-fermentation technology—which produces fuel, heat, and power—has its roots in a University of Arkansas research project, supported by a $5 million Energy Department investment over 15 years. In 2009, the INEOS Bio-New Planet Energy joint venture was awarded a $50 million Energy Department grant to design, construct, commission, and operate the Indian River BioEnergy Center. See the Energy Department press release.