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Summary:

While we just heard that land management company Alico has decided to nix its plans to build a cellulosic ethanol plant in the U.S., Canadian company Iogen tells us that it, too, is backing away from its intentions to build a cellulosic ethanol plant in the […]

While we just heard that land management company Alico has decided to nix its plans to build a cellulosic ethanol plant in the U.S., Canadian company Iogen tells us that it, too, is backing away from its intentions to build a cellulosic ethanol plant in the U.S. It’s interesting because both Alico and Iogen were chosen by the Department of Energy in February 2007 to potentially receive funding to build the first of the next-generation of cellulosic ethanol plants in the U.S. that can churn out biofuels made from waste, plant byproducts and energy crops.

Iogen had planned to build a plant in Shelley, Idaho; construction was due to start this year and be completed by 2010. Guess there’s been a change of plans. An Iogen spokesperson tells us that the company has “suspended” its cellulosic plant plans for Idaho to instead focus on its more advanced plant in Saskatchewan, Canada. The spokesperson says that at this time the company won’t be pursuing those DOE funds, which according to the Canadian Press, where we first read of the suspension, included loan guarantees and grant money that was estimated at some $350 million.

The Canadian Press story also quotes one Corey McDaniel, a legislative assistant to U.S. Sen. Larry Craig, who said that Iogen suspended its plant in Idaho because the DOE didn’t offer the company a bigger loan guarantee. Perhaps the DOE’s lack of potential funding for Alico’s planned plant was also a factor behind that company’s decision. Many cleantech advocates have said that loan guarantees from the federal government could be the single most important factor in getting new, large-scale, renewable energy technology built in the U.S.

Regardless of the reasoning, it’s very significant that at least two of the companies that the DOE vetted to possibly receive government funds to build cellulosic ethanol plants are now backing down. Good thing there are other private funding means and the venture world to help get almost of dozen of these things built in the next few years.

By Katie Fehrenbacher

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  1. [...] Update: An Iogen spokesperson says the company has “suspended” its plans to build a plant in Idaho, to focus on its Saskatchewan plant (we first read that news here). The Iogen spokesperson says the Idaho plant could be built in the future, but that the company has suspended focusing on that U.S. location and at this time is not actively pursuing that DOE funding. Our story in this news here. [...]

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  2. Jeez, with government funding of up to $350 million, the thing does not fly. How is it going to fly without the governmental gravy train if it is supposed to compete with other biofuels in a COMMODITIES market. By definition in a COMMODITIES market, your ethanol is as good as mine, because what I buy is BTUs.

    And yes, what would happen if oil would drop below $50, which is where Soros, Masters and the other experts see it realisticly once we get rid of Goldman, Morgan, ABN Amro and Lehman advising to buy commodities ETFs. Maybe then corn is cheap again, and the whole cleantech bubble just deflates.

    Ah yes, maybe someone realized that you can’t make cellulosic ethanol as cheap as you thought – if at all. Hasn’t the paper industry been at digesting cellulose and hemi cellulose and lignin in their waste stream, since say 40 years? Those guys are not really poor or lack effort, still not too much of a result there. And yes, what would happen if we have the miracle process to turn cellulose into sugar, and it would get out, we’d turn out paper mountains into sugar and the woods would … become sugar… the perfect world.

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  3. [...] An Iogen spokesperson tells us that the company has “suspended” its cellulosic plant plans for Idaho to instead focus on its more advanced plant in Saskatchewan, Canada. [...]

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  4. [...] Iogen Suspends U.S. Cellulosic Ethanol Plant Plans – Earth2TechThere are two cases of planned next-generation plants shutting down, an indication of how the smallest changes can throw off the economics of fuel production. [...]

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  5. Eliezer Cadet Thursday, June 5, 2008

    i like to meet to a invester, because i have a island of land for produse corn for ethanol ,please call me at this # 407-844-0067

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  6. [...] Posted June 6th, 2008 at 12:00 am in Startups Even though we heard about two companies (Iogen and Alico) canceling plans to build cellulosic ethanol plants in the U.S. this week, Verenium [...]

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  7. Arturo Velez Monday, June 9, 2008

    Agave (the plant we use to produce tequila liquor) produces over five thousand gallons of distilled ethanol per hectare and one hundred and twenty five tonnes of biomass, on an annual basis (takes 6 years in the fields to harvest). The current cost of the agave feedstock needed to produce one gallon of ethanol is US$0.72 (seventy two cents). Agave thrives in semi-arid wasteland, needs no watering nor agrochemicals, in no food and produces 3X more sugars that sugar cane.
    Feedstock production technology is ready, but we need financial help to develop the ethanol production technology.
    Any sugestions, comments?
    agaveproject2@gmail.com

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  8. Arturo Velez Monday, June 9, 2008

    Agave (the plant we use to produce tequila liquor) produces over five thousand gallons of distilled ethanol per hectare and one hundred and twenty five tonnes of biomass, on an annual basis (takes 6 years in the fields to harvest). The current cost of the agave feedstock needed to produce one gallon of ethanol is US$0.72 (seventy two cents). Agave thrives in semi-arid wasteland, needs no watering nor agrochemicals, in no food and produces 3X more sugars that sugar cane.
    Feedstock production technology is ready, but we need financial help for industrial ethanol production technology research (it’s almost ready, we’ve been produicing tequila -an ethanol- for nearly three centuries) and a demo agave-to-ethanol plant.
    Any sugestions, comments?
    agaveproject2@gmail.com

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  9. [...] Iogen Suspends U.S. Cellulosic Ethanol Plant Plans – Earth2TechThere are two cases of planned next-generation plants shutting down, an indication of how the smallest changes can throw off the economics of fuel production. [...]

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  10. I find it histerical that the one compnay that will be out of the ground wiyj a prvately funded plant AND a recipient of a DOE award is not even mentioned The company is BlueFire Ethanol.

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