Biomass Energy

11 Mar 2024

Biofuels Group Clonbio Plans $500M Investment in US Plant

11 Mar 2024  by independent   

Irish-owned biofuel and renewables group ClonBio has announced plans to invest $500m (€457m) in a Wisconsin biorefinery plant in a move that will create 1,000 local jobs.

ClonBio biorefineries use natural processes to refine grain for use in a number of different applications, including proteins and fibres for both human and animal nutrition, ethanol and organic fertiliser.

The group is planning an increase in its existing investment following its purchase of the biorefinery in Jefferson, Wisconsin in 2022. Over the past 18 months, ClonBio has invested $100m in the facility, which is now the largest grain processing and ethanol production facility in the state.

The acquisition of the ethanol plant took place several months before the US Government's Inflation Reduction Act was signed into law in August 2022.

Following the introduction of several incentives in the act, ClonBio is now planning to accelerate a $400m investment programme in the site, which will be completed over the coming years rather than over the course of a decade.

The group has been invited by the US Department of Energy to submit a Part II application for a $400m loan guarantee which will enable investment in the plant. This investment is set to create the most advanced grain biorefinery in the US.

Submission of the application is one of several steps remaining in the due diligence process before the Department makes a final decision on the loan.

It also proposes to use Inflation Reduction Act tax credits to support the construction of a combined heat and power plant, as well as a natural gas plant.

“This investment will lead to more than 1,000 direct and indirect jobs in Wisconsin,” said Jeff Oestmann, chief executive of Aztalan Bio, a subsidiary of ClonBio.

“It will drive the most efficient use of grain in the history of the United States. Every part of the corn kernel is going to be used efficiently to make starch based, fibre based, protein based and fat based foods, feeds, and fuels, thereby promoting the circular economy and maximizing food security,” he added.

Enterprise Ireland chief executive Leo Clancy said that ClonBio is a “market leader in renewable energy and nutrition.”

"Their ambitious investment plans for the Wisconsin-based biorefinery will deliver great advancement for a sustainable bioeconomy model,” he added.

ClonBio is active in four countries in Europe and operates the world’s most technologically advanced grain biorefinery in Hungary.


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