ND Biorefinery Groundbreaking in Spring

OAKHURST, N.J. (DTN) -- NewEnergyBlue expects to break ground on a 16-million-gallon-a-year renewable fuel refinery in near Jamestown, North Dakota, in the spring of 2019, the company announced.

The New Energy Spirit Biomass Refinery is expected to produce cellulosic ethanol capable of exceeding California's rigorous air-quality standards, and clean lignin, which reduces stack emissions in coal-fired power plants.

"It's no secret that clean energy producers covet the state's monster fuel market," 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 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."

After its Spiritwood refinery is up and running on North Dakota wheat straw, 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 United States and Canada, each providing 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," said Corle. "Other states and Canada are following California's successful low-carbon model."

New Energy Spirit Biomass Refinery LLC will own and operate the plant.

"Today we're reaping the benefits of over $250 million already invested in scaling-up and optimizing our proprietary process," said Stephan Rogers, president of NewEnergyBlue. "When we extract sugars from grain straws and corn stover, they'll become cellulosic ethanol."