Biofuel facility produces ethanol at commercial level
By Jessica Creagan
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY -- The Indian River BioEnergy Center has taken recycling to a whole new level -- commercial-level bio-fuel creation.
About a month ago, INEOS BIO announced that the Indian River BioEnergy Center is now producing cellulosic ethanol at a commercial scale, a first for the company and its unique technology.
INEOS BIO and its partner, New Planet Energy, use a groundbreaking process of gas-production and fermentation to break down carbon-based waste, including yard debris, into bioethanol and renewable power.
"We are delighted with the progress made by our team at Vero Beach," said Peter Williams, CEO of INEOS Bio and chairman of INEOS New Planet BioEnergy, in a press release.
Bioethanol is being produced from vegetative and wood waste at the Indian River County facility, which is the first of its kind in the world to use INEOS' technology on such a large scale.
Along with bioethanol, the facility is producing enough renewable power to run itself and have power left over to be used by Florida Power & Light's grid, said Dan Cummings, vice president and spokesman for INEOS Bio in an interview.
The facility began production of renewable power and smaller amounts of biofuel as early as September 2012, and the team in Vero Beach has been ramping up the efforts daily to get to the commercial level.
"The plant is essentially off the grid and once the electric portion was up, we concentrated on the bio-fuel production. Now the focus is to continue producing and optimize the plant, get all systems on and operating to full capacity," Mr. Cummings said.
When the facility runs at full capacity, it is projected to produce eight million gallons of biofuel per year and six megawatts of renewable power per year.
Companies from other countries have already been visiting Indian River County to get a closer look at the technology used for the biofuel production and that will continue, Mr. Cummings said.
In the coming weeks there may be an announcement about what companies are purchasing the biofuels from Indian River BioEnergy center, but until then, the company is keeping buyer information confidential, he said.
The amount of biofuels produced are also not being announced just yet.
"We are thrilled that INEOS New Planet BioEnergy is now producing commercially," said Helene Caseltine, economic development director of the Indian River County Chamber of Commerce, in a press release.
"When we began working with company representatives five years ago, the project was at its conceptual stage. With 65 full-time employees on site and global recognition, INEOS New Planet BioEnergy brings economic diversity and tremendous exposure to Indian River County and the entire region," she said.
For more information about the Indian River BioEnergy Center, visit www.ineos.com/businesses/INEOS-Bio/Company/.