The U.S. Department of Energy announced Wednesday that it intends to invest $385 million in six biorefinery projects over the next four years. The projects will produce motor fuels from agricultural waste, trash, and woodchips, Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said at a press conference.
The companies proposing the projects are Abengoa Bioenergy Corp., a division of Abengoa SA of Spain; Bluefire Ethanol Inc.; Iogen Corp.; Alico Inc.; Range Fuels; and Broin Cos. The companies could receive funding to cover as much as 40% of the cost of the projects.
According to current plans, the biorefineries would be located in California, Iowa, Kansas, Florida, Idaho and Georgia.
Bodman says the investment will help cellulosic ethanol move closer to becoming a commercially viable alternative to gasoline and corn-based ethanol by lowering production costs. "$1 a gallon, I think, is a reasonable target," he says.