On Friday, October 17, 2014, Abengoa Bioenergy opened its 25-million gallon per year cellulosic ethanol biorefinery in Hugoton, Kansas. Abengoa completed the construction of its facility in mid-August and began producing cellulosic ethanol at the end of September. The plant produces up to 25 million gallons a year using only raw biomass “second generation” for the production of ethanol, ie residues of agricultural crops and inedible stems and leaves that do not compete with grain for feed materials. Through the use of solid biomass waste from the ethanol conversion process, the plant generates 21 megawatts (MW) of clean electricity.
In a statement, Manual Sanchez Ortega, CEO of Abengoa Bioenergy remarked on the how opening of this facility signaled achieving a milestone in advanced biofuel technology.
“The opening of the plant in Hugoton is the result of 10 years of technical development of approximately 40,000 hours of operation of the pilot plant and demonstration and support of the Department of Energy. This is a fundamental moment of pride not only for Abengoa but also for advanced bioenergy industry and further proof of our ongoing commitment to providing sustainable energy alternatives in the United States, something that would have been simply impossible without the creation of the Renewable Fuel Standard (Renewable Fuels Standard) “.
BIO President & CEO Jim Greenwood stated this about the opening:
“The new cellulosic biorefinery opened by Abengoa Bioenergy today is the realization of nearly a decade of research and development and billions of dollars in investment and is the second commercial scale cellulosic biofuel plant in as many months.
“The Renewable Fuel Standard has been the driving force in encouraging innovative companies like Abengoa to invest this time and money to commercialize cellulosic biofuels. New advanced biofuel technologies are vital to the nation’s energy security. The United States must stay the course with the RFS, keeping this policy strong and operating consistently and predictably.
“We congratulate Abengoa and its employees on this achievement.”
Jim Lane, Biofuels Digest, covered the event and captured remarks by United States Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz:
“It is critical that the Department of Energy play a role in new technology from development to initial deployment, and this Abengoa biorefinery is a prime example of the public-private partnerships that are realizing results.”