Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a conditional commitment for a $70 million loan guarantee to help build a cellulosic biorefinery in central Georgia. USDA is providing the loan guarantee conditional commitment, an important milestone in the ongoing development of the project, through its Biorefinery Assistance Program.
"There is a clear consumer demand for clean, American-made, renewable fuels, which our rural communities stand ready to meet," said Secretary Vilsack. "USDA is proud to support environmentally and technologically sound projects like this one, which will increase biofuel availability nationwide and create jobs in rural Georgia. This loan commitment is the most recent example of our support for President Obama's 'all-of-the-above' energy strategy, which includes alternative and renewable fuel sources."
Ensyn Georgia Biorefinery I, LLC (Ensyn) will construct and operate a cellulosic biofuel refinery in Dooly County, Georgia. The company will produce 20 million gallons of renewable fuel per year employing its Rapid Thermal Processing (RTP) technology. RTP uses a fast thermal process to convert non-food-based feedstocks into biobased fuels.
Ensyn will convert 440 dry tons of woody biomass into a renewable fuel oil (RFO) product. There is an abundant supply of woody biomass near the plant due to excess forest materials in the region. However, Ensyn can use a variety of other non-food cellulosic feedstocks as well.
The renewable fuel oil will be used as a heating oil replacement and as a renewable feedstock for diesel and gasoline production at refineries.
The project will lead to the direct employment of up to 138 people, including nearly 70 permanent jobs when the plant is fully operational.
Ensyn has a 25-year track record with its RTP technology and currently supports the operation of six commercial RTP facilities. The company has additional commercial plants under development in Canada and Brazil with its joint venture partners.
The Lender of Record under the loan guarantee is Citi.
Congress extended the Biorefinery Assistance Program in the 2014 Farm Bill and expanded it to include renewable chemicals and biobased product manufacturing. The program provides guarantees for loans made by commercial lenders to fund the development of biorefineries for the production of advanced biofuels and renewable chemicals and biobased product manufacturing facilities.
Today's announcement builds on USDA's continuing efforts to help grow the U.S. biobased industry. In June, the Department issued a report that examines and quantifies the effect of America's biobased products industry from an economics and jobs perspective. For example, the report notes that in 2013 alone, that industry contributed four million jobs and $369 billion to the U.S. economy.
According to the report, each job in the biobased products industry generates 1.64 jobs in other sectors of the economy. In 2013, 1.5 million jobs directly supported the biobased product industry, resulting in 1.1 million indirect jobs in related industries, and another 1.4 million jobs resulting from the purchase of goods and services generated by the direct and indirect jobs.
The 2014 Farm Bill builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past five years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers. USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve the quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/farmbill.