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New Energy Blue buys Inbicon’s low-carbon fuel technology
Boston, MA/August 12, 2019—NewEnergyBlue acquired exclusive rights to Inbicon bio-conversion technology throughout the Americas and will first employ it to turn North Dakota wheat straw into a high-value, carbon-neutral automotive fuel. The technology license was purchased from Ørsted, a Danish green-energy company. Ørsted developed the technology over 15 years at a cost exceeding $200 million, proving efficacy and commercial operation at its refinery in Kalundborg for nearly five of those years.
“A number of our executives worked with Ørsted developing this technology,” says Thomas Corle, CEO of NewEnergyBlue. “Our engineers continued to optimize the process of the refineries we’re designing today.”
The company intends to build a series of biomass refineries across grain belts and sugar-growing regions to process agricultural residues like wheat straw, cornstalks, and sugar bagasse, converting them into a high-octane advanced ethanol that’s more than 100% below the carbon baseline of grain ethanol–more than 140% below gasoline.
“Our plan is to feed fuel markets in states like California and countries who likewise battle carbon pollution with policies that incentivize low-carbon biofuels made from agricultural residues,” Corle says.
But counting carbon isn’t the only way of keeping score. “Using Inbicon technology at the core of our refinery gives a clean process–no acid or high ammonia used–unlike other technologies at commercial scale.” NewEnergyBlue’s refinery prefers high-pressure steam followed by an enzyme bath to break down the biomass fibers into sugars and lignin that are valuable for making liquid and solid biofuels.
“Instead of using fresh water,” Corle adds, “our enclosed-loop design recycles the water from the biomass—about 15% moisture—which can produce a surplus of clean water for uses like irrigation.”
“July was Earth’s hottest month on record. As climate change and expanding populations increase competition for water, our refineries can save millions of gallons annually producing renewable fuel.”
Having cleared a major technology acquisition hurdle, the company now expects groundbreaking for its Spiritwood, North Dakota refinery in 2020. The Spirit Biomass Refinery will be owned by NewEnergyBlue and its equity holders that includes regional investors with interest it contributes to the area economy. NewEnergyBlue finds that farmers welcome the opportunity to earn a second income from each year’s harvest.
“Given current trade policies and the strained margins on grain ethanol, we’re also attractive to first-generation producers for co-locating our biomass refinery. First-gen producers can license low-carbon solutions through us, including a shared CHP unit fueled by our lignin that further reduces their production’s carbon footprint to access low-carbon markets they can’t now.”
Albury “Bo” Fleitas, NewEnergyBlue’s new president, sees “investor interest picking up—in part due to the tight margins on wind and solar projects, in the main due to projected double-digit returns on equity from our refineries thanks to our sustainable business model and a huge market appetite.” Fleitas has invested in the company, which he joined after managing financing and investor relations for an alternative energy development fund.
More information available at www.newenergyblue.com
North Dakota straw will fuel California cars
Boston, MA, /September 24, 2018 – NewEnergyBlue is about six months away from breaking ground on a ground-breaking renewable fuel refinery. New Energy Spirit Biomass Refinery is forecast to turn 280,000 tons of North Dakota wheat straw into 16-million gallons a year of some of the lowest carbon auto fuel selling in California, the world’s fifth largest market.
“It’s no secret that clean energy producers covet the state’s monster fuel market,” says Thomas Corle, Blue’s CEO. “Carbon is the California regulator’s primary yardstick. The policy goal of the state’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard is shrinking greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by reducing fossil carbons in transportation fuels. Traditional grain ethanol is rated 20%-30% below the carbon baseline of gasoline. But with our process design, cellulosic ethanol can achieve 130% below gasoline’s baseline. The project gets paid on every ton of fossil carbon saved.”
Sited in Spiritwood Energy Park near Jamestown, North Dakota, the refinery is expected to produce not only cellulosic ethanol capable of exceeding California’s rigorous air-quality standards, but also clean lignin—without using any fresh water in our designed process.
Because lignin reduces stack emissions in coal-fired power plants, it’s a cleaner replacement than wood chips. Lignin is also a lightweight binder for composites that replace metal parts in automobiles and other products.
After its Spiritwood refinery is up and running on Dakota straws, NewEnergyBlue says it expects to double capacity of future biomass refineries and also process corn stalks. Corle envisions a series of refineries throughout the grain belts of the U.S. and Canada, each producing 32 million cellulosic gallons a year and attracting escalating support from capital markets keen on catching the next wave of renewable energy. “California alone could easily absorb production from 70 of our refineries to reach their goal. Other states and Canada are following California’s successful low-carbon model.”
Stephan Rogers, President of NewEnergyBlue and former head of Qteros, has pursued an economical way to turn plant sugars into ethanol for two decades. “Today we’re reaping the benefits of over $250 million already invested in scaling-up and optimizing our proprietary process,” he says. “When we extract sugars from grain straws and corn stover, they’ll become cellulosic ethanol. But also imagine every plastic water bottle now made from petroleum someday being made from plant sugars that break down harmlessly in landfills.”
Though Corle and Rogers speak passionately about their “game-changing” business platform and global energy vision, which has attracted international investor interest, their immediate focus is the New Energy Spirit project. “We’ve engaged top engineers to complete the development work,” says Rogers, “We expect to finalize the $170 million financing and are shooting for steel in the ground by spring 2020.”
New Energy Spirit Biomass Refinery, LLC will own and operate the plant. It’s funded in part by regional investors with a strong interest in the project’s sustainability and its invigorating contributions to the area economy.