Georgia Ethanol Plant to Re-Open With Government Subsidies

On February 3, 2012, in Ethanol, by Maggie Ernst

LanzaTech plans to re-open a shuttered Georgia ethanol plant with the help of federal and state grants and loan guarantees, according to Laurel Harmon, Vice President for Government Relations of LanzaTech, who was interviewed by The Telegraph in Macon, Georgia this week.  The plant is owned by LanzaTech’s Georgia subsidiary, LanzaTech Freedom Pines LLC.

The Soperton refinery was built by Colorado-based Range Fuels with the help of about $90 million in federal and state grants and loans guarantees.  But Range’s catalytic technology failed to produce commercial amounts of cellulosic ethanol, that was made from Georgia wood chips.  After shutting down its limited operations early last year, Range attempted to transfer the plant and its $40 million federal loan guarantee to LanzaTech Freedom Pines.  Instead of allowing that deal, USDA foreclosed on Range Fuels late last year.  LanzaTech Freedom Pines subsequently bought the plant on the courthouse steps January 2 for $5.1 million, according to the newspaper report.  “We’re looking at tens of jobs in the near term, and hundreds of jobs as we scale to commercial (production),” Harmon said.  “I hate to be specific about dates and numbers at this time.  The intent is certainly to fulfill and exceed the job commitments made formerly,”  Harmon said, LanzaTech is still evaluating the condition of the plant and its equipment, particularly the gasifier that burns the wood chips.  Until that process is completed, probably in three to six months, the company won’t know how much it will need to invest at the plant or how long that will take, she said.