Georgia’s Biofuels Refinery to Make 9 Million Gallons of Cellulosic Methanol a Year

The Methanol Institute(MI) reports:

On November 6th, the first commercial plant to turn trees and wood scraps into biofuels officially opened in Soperton, Georgia. According to the Department of Energy, the Range Fuels plant is expected to produce 40 million tons of cellulosic ethanol and 9 million tons of cellulosic methanol each year. The Department of Energy will fund more than $1.2 billion for this plant and five similar ones in the works. The groundbreaking ceremony was headlined by Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman, who focused his speech on praising ethanol: “These six sites differ in their location and in the feed stocks that they will use, but they will all help us move toward the day when biofuels made from cellulosic ethanol can be made in near every part of the country.” In response, MI’s John Lynn wrote a letter to Bodman saying “As Range Fuels’ project advances, we encourage you to include methanol in the discussion. The methanol industry is seeing increased interest in renewable methanol and we expect to see new plants opening around the country over the next several years. Through its many applications, methanol can and should be a significant part of the solution.”

Both methanol and ethanol are alcohol fuels that can power flexible fuel vehicles, cars that can run on any combination of alcohol and gasoline and cost an auto manufacturer less than $100 extra to make over the cost of a gasoline only car. There is no reason for the Department of Energy to pick one fuel as a winner and ignore others – let them all compete. For more on the potential of flexible fuel vehicles to break the stranglehold of oil producers, click here: The Alcohol Standard by Robert Zubrin. For an article by Ford Motor’s Roberta Nichols about gasoline-ethanol-methanol fuel flexibility, click here.

MI adds another bit of important news from China, which is moving aggressively towards fuel choice:
“At the 5th International Clean Vehicle Technology Exhibition in Beijing, Chang’an Automobile Company presented the Ben Ben methanol-fueled car, and Geely Automotive stated the Haifeng methanol vehicles have been put into large-scale production and might be launched at the end of this year.”

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