Aemetis: Patent award enables launch of ‘Carbon Zero’ plants

By Aemetis Inc. | January 18, 2021

Aemetis Inc. announced Jan. 15 that its exclusively licensed technology for the production of below zero carbon renewable fuel was awarded U.S. Patent No. 10907184 (to be published February 2, 2021), enabling the launch of Aemetis “Carbon Zero” production plants to commercialize the technology.  Using patented technology exclusive to Aemetis for agricultural waste wood feedstock, the Carbon Zero plants are integrated with existing Aemetis production facilities to produce energy dense renewable fuels using renewable energy and below zero carbon intensity waste feedstocks.

The Aemetis Carbon Zero production plants are designed to convert below zero carbon feedstocks (waste wood and ag wastes) and renewable energy (solar, renewable natural gas, biogas) into energy dense liquid renewable fuels.  Aemetis expects that such renewable fuels, when used in hybrid electric vehicles or other vehicle engines, will have a “below zero carbon” greenhouse gas footprint across the entire lifecycle of the fuel based on the Argonne National Laboratory’s GREET model, the pre-eminent science-based lifecycle analysis measurement tool.

“We are naming these projects ‘Carbon Zero’ to reflect our mission to reduce greenhouse gases.  Wood is partially comprised of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air.  Agricultural waste wood has a below zero carbon intensity as a fuel by avoiding greenhouse gas emissions, since waste wood is usually burned in the field or breaks down into harmful methane emissions,” stated Eric McAfee, chairman and CEO of Aemetis.

“By combining below zero carbon waste wood with zero carbon renewable energy obtained from solar, hydroelectric and biogas sources, Aemetis is transforming these sources of renewable energy into zero carbon renewable fuels that work with existing engines, as well as range extender generators used in electric cars or trucks as long-haul and local delivery vehicles adopt electric drivetrains to improve emissions, fuel efficiency and performance,” McAfee noted.

The first Aemetis Carbon Zero production plant — “Carbon Zero 1” — is planned for the 140-acre Riverbank Industrial Complex in Central California, a former Army ammunition production facility with 710,000 square feet of existing production buildings.

The Carbon Zero 1 plant will extract sugars from waste wood and then process the sugar into renewable fuel at the existing nearby Aemetis 65 million gallon per year plant near Modesto, California.  This process is expected to reduce the amount of corn used in biofuel production, provide a 90 percent reduction in feedstock cost, and significantly increase the value of the biofuel by significantly reducing its carbon intensity.  After an initial production demonstration phase, the Carbon Zero 1 plant is expected to ramp up capacity to produce 10 percent of the sugar feedstock used in the existing Aemetis 65 million gallon per year biofuel plant, with additional expansion in future phases.

The Carbon Zero 1 project and energy efficiency upgrades to the Aemetis plant include funding and other support from the USDA, the US Forest Service, the California Energy Commission, the California Department of Food and Agriculture, and PG&E.