CEC awards $14 million in energy efficiency grants to Aemetis

By Aemetis Inc. | January 28, 2020

Aemetis Inc. announced today that its subsidiary Aemetis Advanced Fuels Keyes Inc. has received from the California Energy Commission two grants for a combined total of $14 million to implement upgrades that would reduce natural gas use, lower greenhouse gas emissions, decrease operating costs, and reduce the carbon intensity (CI) of fuel grade ethanol produced at the Keyes plant. The cost reduction and revenues increase associated with the upgrades are expected to improve the operating cash flow of the Keyes plant by $13 million each year. 

Aemetis plans to install a 1.56-megawatt photovoltaic micro grid solar array with integrated battery energy storage and an AI-driven power distribution control system, which is expected to significantly reduce the natural gas currently used in generating on-site electricity. In addition, Aemetis plans to upgrade the facility’s evaporation and distillation units with a mechanical vapor recovery system (MVR) to further reduce the use of natural gas, lowering CI and increasing expected plant production capacity by approximately 25 percent.

The new AI-driven distribution control system is expected to improve operational efficiency, assist data collection and analysis, and support employee training.  The upgrades are also expected to create new construction and regular full-time jobs at the Keyes plant and the surrounding communities.  

Aemetis will also administer a scholarship program that will fund 10 annual scholarships, at $3,000 each, aimed at mentoring local students in STEM related careers.

“Aemetis is implementing technologies that allow the traditional biofuels industry to enter a new era of improved operational efficiency and lower carbon intensity renewable fuel, which we expect will result in a significant reduction of carbon content in renewable energy,” said Eric McAfee, chairman and CEO of Aemetis Inc.  “When fully implemented at the Keyes plant, these projects are planned to result in a double-digit reduction in the carbon intensity of our ethanol and significantly improve our operating cash flow by more than an estimated $18 million per year, all while lowering greenhouse gas emissions and creating new jobs.  We are grateful to the California Energy Commission for their support and confidence, and we look forward to implementing these upgrade projects,” added McAfee.