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Colorado gets biorefinery from DOE grant

ClearFuels partners with Rentech, gets $7.7 million in DOE funds to build biomass gasifier for producing bio-blended diesel and jet fuel.

ClearFuels biorefinery
The ClearFuels biorefinery will be located alongside Rentech's existing product demonstration facility in Commerce City, Colorado.
ClearFuels Technology

ClearFuels Technology announced Thursday it signed a letter of cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy to build a biorefinery in Colorado.

ClearFuels will receive an initial $7.7 million toward the construction of the Colorado refinery as part of an overall $22.6 million DOE grant.

The biorefinery will contain a biomass gasifier capable of producing diesel and jet fuel from clean biomass, and be installed at Rentech's Energy Technology Center in Commerce City, Colo. Rentech has a 25 percent investment in ClearFuels and is partnering with it to develop commercial biorefineries.

The ClearFuels-Rentech biorefinery in Colorado is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2011. It will serve as a test facility to evaluate the commercial scalability of converting biogas and biomass mixtures to fuels before ClearFuels builds commercial biorefineries planned for Hawaii. ClearFuels has begun development on a total of five U.S. commercial biorefineries to be completed by 2015.

"We are especially anxious to build commercial facilities in our home state of Hawaii. The successful demonstration of our technology processing biomass feedstocks such as bagasse, wood waste, and mixtures thereof, will enable our commercial development here in Hawaii," ClearFuels CEO Eric Darmstaedter said in a statement.

The project is the direct result of a White House, DOE and Department of Agriculture plan to push for U.S. biofuels development through a barrage of grant money. In May 2009 the White House assigned a task force and pledged to distribute $726.5 million in grant money to develop biofuel technology. Then in December 2009 the DOE and DOA jointly announced that $564 million of those stimulus act funds would be distributed specifically for the construction of biorefineries, including those developing jet fuel and diesel replacements in addition to gasoline. ClearFuels was one of those grant money recipients (PDF).