USDA to provide $105M loan guarantee to Fulcrum Sierra Biofuels; municipal solid waste to ethanol
6 August 2012
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a $105-million loan guarantee to Fulcrum Sierra BioFuels, LLC to finance development of a facility to convert municipal solid waste into advanced biofuels. With the loan guarantee finalized, the company will secure bank financing, which when combined with private equity capital provided by Fulcrum, will fully fund construction of the municipal solid waste to renewable transportation fuel facility.
The Sierra BioFuels Plant will be located approximately 20 miles east of Reno, Nevada in Storey County. The plant will produce 10 million gallons of ethanol annually as well as renewable energy to be used at the plant utilizing processed municipal solid waste as a feedstock. Fulcrum Sierra uses a two-part thermo-chemical process:
- Gasification converts the MSW into a synthesis gas, or syngas. Heat released in the gasification process is recovered to create steam for use in the plant.
- The syngas is catalytically converted into ethanol using our proprietary alcohol synthesis process.
USDA, through its Rural Development Biorefinery Assistance Program (Section 9003 of the 2008 Farm Bill), approved an 80% loan guarantee to finance the project, with a conditional commitment that Fulcrum Sierra BioFuels, LLC must meet before loan closing.
The announcement is part of a larger USDA effort to produce advanced biofuels in every region of the country. USDA has funded 7 additional biorefineries that are using feedstocks like agriculture residue, woody biomass, municipal solid waste, and algae in states from Florida and Michigan to New Mexico. USDA is also investing in research by coordinating with five regional research centers to work on the science necessary to ensure profitable biofuels can be produced from a diverse range of feedstocks.