USA: Loan guarantee to Ensyn for cellulosic biorefinery in Georgia

USDA Provides Loan Guarantee Conditional Commitment to Build Georgia Biofuel Plant

By Lennart Ljungblom,

WASHINGTON, Dec. 10, 2015 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced a conditional commitment for a $70 million loan guarantee to help build a cellulosic biorefinery in central Georgia. USDA is providing the loan guarantee conditional commitment, an important milestone in the ongoing development of the project, through its  Biorefinery Assistance Program.

Ensym has a 3 million gallon/year (11 million liter/y) production plant in Ontario producing RFO, a Renewable Fuel Oil by a rapid thermal process. The RFO can then be further processed with or without other oils for gasoline or diesel. It can also be used as it is and replace heavy heting oils. The company has in Envergent technologies an alliance with UPO a Honeywell company. In Brazil a production facility is planned with Fibria Cellulose, world largest fiber producer. 

75 000 m3 per year cellulosic biofuel refinery

Ensyn Georgia Biorefinery I, LLC (Ensyn) will construct and operate a cellulosic biofuel refinery in Dooly County, Georgia. The company will produce 20 million gallons (75 millions liter) of renewable fuel per year employing its Rapid Thermal Processing (RTP) technology. RTP uses a fast thermal process to convert non-food-based feedstocks into biobased fuels.

Ensyn will convert 440 dry tons of woody biomass per day into a renewable fuel oil (RFO) product. There is an abundant supply of woody biomass near the plant due to excess forest materials in the region. However, Ensyn can use a variety of other non-food cellulosic feedstocks as well.

The renewable fuel oil will be used as a heating oil replacement and as a renewable feedstock for diesel and gasoline production at refineries.

The project will lead to the direct employment of up to 138 people, including nearly 70 permanent jobs when the plant is fully operational.

Ensyn has a 25-year track record with its RTP technology and currently supports the operation of six commercial RTP facilities. The company has additional commercial plants under development in Canada and Brazil with its joint venture partners.

The Lender of Record under the loan guarantee is Citi.

Congress extended the Biorefinery Assistance Program in the 2014 Farm Bill and expanded it to include renewable chemicals and biobased product manufacturing. The program provides guarantees for loans made by commercial lenders to fund the development of biorefineries for the production of advanced biofuels and renewable chemicals and biobased product manufacturing facilities.

Great impact – creates million of jobs

Today’s announcement builds on USDA’s continuing efforts to help grow the U.S. biobased industry. In June, the Department issued a  report that examines and quantifies the effect of America’s biobased products industry from an economics and jobs perspective. For example, the report notes that in 2013 alone, that industry contributed four million jobs and $369 billion to the U.S. economy.

According to the report, each job in the biobased products industry generates 1.64 jobs in other sectors of the economy. In 2013, 1.5 million jobs directly supported the biobased product industry, resulting in 1.1 million indirect jobs in related industries, and another 1.4 million jobs resulting from the purchase of goods and services generated by the direct and indirect jobs.

Owned by Ensyn and Renova Capital Partners

Ensyn Georgia Biorefinery I, LLC is wholly owned by Ensyn Development Partners, LLC (EDP), a joint venture of Ensyn and Renova Capital Partners LLC (Renova). The role of EDP is to develop and finance certain projects in the United States, deploying Ensyn’s RTP® technology to produce renewable fuels and refinery feedstocks from cellulosic biomass. The first such project is the Project in Georgia.

The conditional commitment represents an important milestone in the ongoing development of the Project, which will consist of a 20 million gallon/year RFO production facility. RFO, Ensyn’s cellulosic liquid fuel, is produced by processing non-food solid biomass, including wood residues, with Ensyn’s RTP technology.

RFO can be used as a renewable heating fuel and also as a renewable feedstock for petroleum refineries. As a renewable heating fuel, RFO directly displaces fossil fuels in institutional and industrial boilers. RFO heating fuel is presently in commercial use, and its markets are expanding.



Coprocessed with other feedstock to gasoline or diesel

As a renewable cellulosic feedstock for refineries, RFO is coprocessed with traditional refinery feedstocks leading to the production of ASTM specification gasoline and diesel fuels in an innovative application known as Refinery Coprocessing. Refinery Coprocessing has been successfully demonstrated in numerous test, pilot and demonstration facilities, including demonstrations in operating commercial refineries. Ensyn has established a strategic alliance with Honeywell UOP for a broad commercialization of Refinery Coprocessing.

Ensyn has designed and commissioned 14 plants

Ensyn has designed and commissioned 14 plants employing its proprietary RTP technology, six of which are currently in commercial operation. These include five plants producing specialty chemicals and heating fuels that are owned by third parties and supported by Ensyn, including one RTP plant that has been in operation for over 20 years. In addition, Ensyn owns and operates a three million gallon/year RTP facility in Renfrew, Ontario, using the same core RTP technology for the production of RFO. RFO from this facility is being sold to heating clients in the US Northeast under long-term contracts and spare capacity is being maintained to seed the market in advance of larger production units being developed in Canada, Brazil and the US.

Ensyn’s Ontario facility has been qualified by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the US Renewable Fuel Standard program and RFO sales to US heating fuel clients are generating D7 cellulosic Renewable Identification Numbers under this program.

About Ensyn Corporation

Ensyn is a leader in the production of cellulosic bio-oils produced from wood residues and other non-food biomass. Ensyn has more than 25 years of successful commercial operations and has produced more than 40 million gallons of liquid fuels and chemicals from wood residues. Ensyn’s primary liquid product, known as RFO, is used as a renewable heating fuel and can be used as renewable feedstock in refineries for the production of ASTM specification gasoline and diesel fuels. Ensyn owns and operates a commercial RFO production facility in Ontario, Canada that supplies RFO for sale to heating clients in the US and Canada. Additional RFO production capacity is under development in Aracruz, Brazil and at other locations in Canada and the US. Ensyn is executing its business plan in conjunction with key strategic relationships, including Honeywell UOP, Fibria Celulose SA and Chevron Technology Ventures.

About Renova Capital Partners

Renova Capital is a Denver-based private investment partnership founded in 2007 to finance, develop, own and aggregate middle-market renewable energy infrastructure assets, often with joint venture partners. Renova concentrates on projects and companies that generate clean, affordable and reliable biofuel and power, focusing on several verticals including biomass-to- fuel, energy storage, biomass-to-power and distributed solar. Renova operates a joint venture with Ensyn, a longtime producer of renewable chemicals and fuels, to develop and finance projects in the United States.