Department of Energy Funding Will Support Efforts to Convert Woody Biomass into High-Quality, Low-Emission Fuels
Funding Expected to Create As Many As 200 New, Good-Paying Jobs
Mark Udall and Michael Bennet, U.S. Senators for Colorado, today announced that Colorado-based ClearFuels Technology and ZeaChem will receive approximately $48 million under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to create as many as 200 new, full-time jobs producing high-quality, low-emission diesel and jet fuels. Bennet and Udall supported the Colorado firms' bids for these highly competitive grants.
The ClearFuels project is part of a cooperative effort with Denver-based Rentech Inc. to construct a pilot-scale biomass gasifier integrated with an existing Fischer-Tropsch (FT) fuel production unit to convert woody wastes into high-quality, low-emission, and clean-burning jet and diesel fuels.
ZeaChem, a Lakewood-based company has partnered with Green Wood Resources and eight other private and public entities, will expand efforts commercial-scale operations and provide domestically-produced biofuels that can be made available for consumption in the coming year.
The funding, announced today by DOE Secretary Steven Chu and U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, will serve to accelerate ClearFuels and ZeaChem's conversion technologies and help lay the foundation for full commercial-scale development of a biomass industry in the country.
"I was proud to support these grants, which will not only create jobs, but help Colorado continue to lead the nation in the one of the most promising renewable energy developments - a clean fuel that can power everything from cars to jet engines," Senator Udall said. "Importantly, these grants will also help us find productive uses for bark beetle-killed trees, reduce air pollution, energize our rural communities and reduce our dangerous reliance on foreign oil."
"Colorado's leading the way in the clean energy economy, ushering in a new generation of advanced biofuels that will change the way we power our economy for decades to come," said Bennet. "These funds will help these innovative companies tap into Colorado's entrepreneurial spirit and talented workforce to create new jobs, new energy, and new markets that will grow our economy and solidify Colorado's position as a leader in clean energy production."
The biofuels produced through these projects will accelerate the biofuel industry's ability to achieve production targets mandated by the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). These investments will help close the gap between the production from the small number of biorefineries currently in operation and the aggressive Renewable Fuel Standard goals for cellulosic and advanced biofuels.