Biofuel plant set for Boligee

Published 1:34 pm Thursday, January 20, 2011

MONTGOMERY– Gov. Robert Bentley announced Thursday the selection of the Crossroads of America Industrial Park in Greene County as the site for a first-of-its-kind advanced biofuels facility, a decision that has the potential to create hundreds of jobs for the Black Belt region.

The site has been selected for the first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol facility using Coskata’s proprietary process. The company was notified today by the USDA of their intent to provide a $250 million loan guarantee in support of the project. The USDA’s announcement is a critical first step that will allow the company to raise the balance of the capital needed for the project.

The largest planned cellulosic ethanol facility in the country would create 55 million gallons per year of cellulosic ethanol from sustainably harvested wood biomass and is expected to bring approximately 300 construction jobs and 700 direct and indirect jobs to Greene County.

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“Today’s announcement is very exciting for the State of Alabama and Greene County,” said Bentley. “It has the potential to create hundreds of good quality jobs and economic development in an area of the state where they are sorely needed.”

Alabama Development Office (ADO) Director Seth Hammett said that ADO Project Manager Gary Faulkner has been working with the company on the project for more than two years and that the agency would continue working to bring jobs to the Black Belt Region. “We are very pleased that Coskata has chosen Alabama and Greene County as the home for this new project “We look forward to working with them and hope the company has great success in the state.”

The site in Boligee was chosen based on its proximity to an abundant supply of sustainably produced wood biomass and the existence of established supply chains that in the past have served the pulp & paper industry.

Coskata’s process is environmentally sustainable and can utilize a vast array of feedstocks, including forest residues, milling waste, and whole pulpwood. Company officials said the selection of this site is also the result of diligent efforts on the part of the Greene County Commission, the Greene County Development Board, ADO, and the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, among numerous other state and local agencies.

“This facility will allow Alabama to be at the forefront of our country’s efforts to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and create an environmentally sustainable alternative to traditional gasoline,” said Governor Bentley. “While the process for finalizing the overall financing of the facility is expected to take several months, today’s USDA announcement is a critical first step in that process, and we’re optimistic that the project will come to completion.”

Coskata has been demonstrating the commercial viability of its process for over a year at the company’s integrated biorefinery, located in Madison, Pennsylvania. The process leverages proprietary microorganisms and efficient bioreactor designs in a unique three-step conversion process that can produce fuel-grade ethanol from virtually any carbon-based feedstock, including wood and wood waste, agricultural waste, energy crops, and municipal solid waste.