Minn. Funds 5 Biofuel And Bioenergy Projects, Thermal RFP Soon

Ethanol Producer Magazine

May 23, 2014

By Anna Simet

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has named five in-state bioenergy projects as recipients of NextGen Energy grants.

The five projects were selected out of a pool of 35, according to MDA Commissioner Dave Frederickson. All projects underwent consideration by a technical team made up of members from five state departments – agriculture, commerce, natural Resources, pollution control, and employment and economic development.  Projects were scored separately according to NextGen grant guidelines, and all are required at least a 50 percent match from the grantee.

Grant recipients include:

-Easy Energy Systems, Welcome, Minn. - $500,000

The project builds a showplace biofuel production facility capable of testing multiple feedstocks, verifying economic data, and confirming conversion rates in Welcome.

-Central Minnesota Renewables LLC, Little Falls, Minn. - $500,000

This project will receive funding for final engineering work needed to convert the existing 20 million gallon per year ethanol facility, Central Minnesota Ethanol Cooperative, to n-butanol production for the chemical industry.

-Segetis Inc., Golden Valley, Minn. - $325,000

Grant amount is to be used for equipment, capital construction and materials for operation of a pilot plant for process development required to commercialize their biobased non-phthalate plasticizer.   

-University of Minnesota, Natural Resources Research Institute, Duluth, Minn. - $217,500

In collaboration with Syngas Technologies, Elk River, this project will develop a more efficient biomass fuel pretreatment process for putting feedstock into a high-pressure gasifier, which produces drop-in biofuels.

-Duluth Steam, Duluth, Minn. - $150,000

Funds will help facilitate the detailed design, procurement and installation of an on-site biomass receiving, storage, and feed system. It utilizes up to 25 percent biomass feedstocks from local forestry operations and will displace the current use of western coal.

The MDA said that in addition to the $1.7 million granted to these projects, nearly half a million dollars has been set aside for a separate request for biomass thermal projects, targeting overall project sizes of $200,000 to $300,000. This RFP is due to be released early this summer.

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