California plant prepares to restart, produce advanced biofuels

By Holly Jessen | April 23, 2013

The Aemetis Advanced Fuels Keyes Inc. plant in Keyes, Calif., will start grinding corn this week, after it was idled in January for planned maintenance and to prepare for advanced biofuel production. After startup, the facility will move toward grain sorghum or a feedstock blend for maximization of operating income. “About $5 million of capital investment and new working capital has been invested since mid-January for maintenance and to enable the plant to produce advanced biofuel in a flexible configuration that enables the use of multiple feedstocks and energy sources,” said Eric McAfee, chairman and CEO of Aemetis, in a prepared statement.

In December, the U.S. EPA established its final determination that ethanol plants utilizing sorghum plus anaerobic digestion and combined heat and power produce advanced biofuels. Qualifying facilities generate D5 renewable identification numbers (RINs), which have traded at a premium to D6 RINs produced by first generation ethanol plants.

The Keyes plant is located with access to both rail and ocean transportation for sorghum from lower-cost supply sources, McAffee said. The facility also has a CHP system. “By using grain sorghum feedstock and sourcing biogas for the CHP system instead of natural gas, the Keyes facility is now able to produce Advanced Biofuel to support EPA requirements for advanced fuels,” he said.

In November, it was announced that Edeniq’s Cellunator technology would be installed at the facility. Aemetis will work with Edeniq to come up with a schedule to begin that installation process once the ethanol plant has resumed operations, Andy Foster, company spokesperson told Ethanol Producer Magazine