Our first refinery New Energy Spirit biomass refinery is expected to annually produce 20 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol and 109,000 tons of lignin pellets from 230,000 tons of crop residue. It will convert locally harvested wheat straw, barley straw and corn stover into sugars, and ferment the sugars into cellulosic ethanol for renewable automotive fuel, while separating out the lignin for offsite renewable energy production. Other outputs are a biogas for producing process steam and a potassium-rich nutrient for fertilizing farm fields.
With New Energy Spirit, we intend to create a national showplace for producing both liquid and solid bio-energy that is exceptionally low-carbon, high-value, and sustainable. We plan to co-locate the biomass refinery with a first-generation ethanol plant. Integration is expected to produce synergies which should improve the efficiency and reduce the carbon intensity of those two operations, making their energy products more valuable, while further reducing the capital and operating costs of the biomass refinery.
Marketing ethanol to California as the lowest carbon transportation fuel in order to receive a premium from LCFS policy mandate there. Low Carbon Fuels Standard (LCFS in California) pays on the reduction of carbon emissions from production, to refining, to end-user from the base line of gasoline. We expect ours to be 100% to 130% lower than gasoline. Our intent is to supply the California low carbon fuel market that is demanding to replace a billion gallons of higher carbon fuels annually (more than 70 New Energy Biomass Refineries).
As complementary technologies are commercialized, we expect added flexibility to downstream green products. The biomass refinery is designed to be flexible in what it may produce as markets demand and downstream technologies become economically feasible. In the future we intend to divert some of our production streams to higher-value biochemicals for producing renewable plastics, personal care products, and other low-carbon, fossil-free products. The refinery can also divert some of its sugars (C5) to produce xylitol, a lower-calorie sugar substitute with a low glycemic index in which many researchers suggest can improve dental health, prevent ear infections, and possess antioxidant properties.
Farmers will also love us. We give them a second source of revenue and improve their soil conservation. Our biomass refinery businesses can add $17 to $34 million annually back to the local farmers and aggregators for collecting and transporting 30-50% of the grain straws and corn stover left on the field after harvest. Recent university and ag industry studies have demonstrated that taking off 50% of the agricultural residue with today’s no- or light-till farming practices can increase next year’s yield. Still more revenue can come from the conservation practice of growing cover crops like barley and selling us the straw.
Today low commodity prices make the need for additional revenue greater than ever. Farm returns for biomass can run about 2.5 times as much as what is expected from a corn ethanol plant. The removal of a percentage of the straw and stover can affect yield potential substantially through improved soil health.
Construction will take about 20 months.
We anticipate multiple benefits flowing to the local and state economy—and to local investors as well.
Economic impact created:
- 400+ well-paying construction jobs for 24 months
- 100+ well-paying full-time jobs, 42 of them at the refinery
- $17+ million paid by the refinery for biomass acquisition. Local farmers can see a windfall second cash crop from the same harvest, an ongoing financial boon. Farm and ag businesses that emerge to gather, store, and transport the biomass can profit as well
- $130+ million in annual revenue generated by the first refinery; much of it paid back to the local community for business operations
The New Energy Spirit biomass refinery is expected to attract government, industry, and financial leaders from around the world to witness and learn a new way of making a difference by making clean energy. New Energy Blue is already exploring feasibilities of multiple sites in the Midwest and in Canada. We are also partnering with governments and energy companies globally to build-out low-carbon energy and biochemical replacements to high-carbon fossil requirements used today.