Alltech Receives Grant of Up to $30 million for Rural Community Biorefinery
[Lexington, KENTUCKY] - Today, Alltech received a grant of up to $30 million from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to be used towards the establishment of its rural community biorefinery. The plant will be located in Springfield, Kentucky and is estimated to employ 93 people when operating at full capacity.
As part of the DOE proposal, Alltech's rural community biorefinery will be one of the first in the United States to utilize cellulose, such as switch grass, corn cobs and corn stover, at raw material levels of up to 30 percent. This will be converted to ethanol and other value-added products.
"The rural community biorefinery is truly a missionary of new technologies. Cellulosic ethanol utilizes raw materials which are readily available and which alleviate the current demand for grain for ethanol production. With commodity prices reaching an all time high and with ethanol production forecast to account for 30 percent of the U.S. corn harvest by 2010 we must focus our attention on a sustainable path to alternative energies, " said Dr. Pearse Lyons, president and founder of Alltech.
In addition to the above grant, the project has received an incentive to the value of $8 million from the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA).
The biorefinery will have an impact on Kentucky's agricultural production by housing dairy and beef cattle to be branded under the Kentucky Proud label. Such actions could be a significant step toward addressing Kentucky's $250 million milk deficit and this concept has already drawn interest from the Netherlands, Ireland, South Africa and China.
The facility will also have the capability to produce algae, a plant that needs little besides sunlight and carbon dioxide. According to National Geographic, algae can theoretically produce 5,000 gallons of biofuel per acre per year, whereas corn can produce 400 gallons per acre. Additionally, algae can absorb up to 450 tons of carbon dioxide per acre when grown commercially.
"The Alltech biorefinery will help pioneer the next generation of non-food based biofuels that will power our cars and trucks and help meet President Bush's goal to stop greenhouse gas emissions growth by 2025," Secretary Samuel Bodman, U.S. Department of Energy said. "Sustained investments in cellulosic fuels made from novel solid-state enzyme complexes and other agricultural waste will strengthen our nation's energy security by reducing our dependence
on foreign oil."
The biorefinery also presents an opportunity to forge partnerships with regional universities, giving students and faculty the opportunity to be actively involved with the state's emerging energy economy through research and development. As part of the project's research component, Alltech will coordinate R&D activities with the University of Kentucky and the University of Cincinnati. Researchers will work to identify and address process improvements, develop economically and environmentally-sound technologies, as well as use process simulation to reduce raw material costs and optimize energy utilization.
Alltech's mission is to improve animal health and performance by adding nutritional value to animal feed and, through this, enhance the performance of the animal and increase animal production. Since it was founded 28 years ago, the company has developed a strong regional presence throughout the world with 1,900 employees and a presence in 113 countries. For more information, visit www.alltech.com.
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