Bio-Fuel Plant Proposed for Region
The DEP will receive $2.3 million from the federal Commercialization Ventures Program to fund a bio-fuel project in southwestern Pennsylvania. The grant will be administered by DEP's Office of Pollution Prevention and Compliance Assistance. The funding will support development, construction and operation of the Pittsburgh Biorefinery, to be operated by Arkenol Holdings Inc., based in Mission Viejo, California.
The biorefinery will convert biomass feedstocks such as sawdust, newsprint, paper sludge and craft paper into fuel-grade ethanol and other co-products. The state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources' Bureau of Forestry will work with Arkenol on the commercialization of this project. Arkenol is expected to start work on the biorefinery in January, 1997. It is expected to be in commercial operation by March, 1999.
Arkenol, Inc. is a privately-held company with a proprietary concentrated acid hydrolysis technology that converts cellulosic materials (e.g. waste paper, wood, sugar cane bagasse, energy crops, etc.) into chemicals and transportation fuels (e.g. ethanol, citric acid, acetone, butanol, etc.). Arkenol currently is developing several "biorefineries" throughout the world that would use this process. Arkenol is in final development of its first commercial-scale biorefinery, a 12.6 million gallon per year ethanol production facility in Sacramento, California, and has undertaken preliminary development in other potential locations and product markets. Two additional domestic U.S. projects are in active development, in Hawaii and Minnesota.