Aemetis reports 21% increase in revenues for 2022

By Erin Voegele | March 13, 2023

Aemetis Inc. released fourth quarter financial results on March 9, reporting full year revenues were up 21 percent when compared to 2021. During an earnings call, company officials discussed ongoing projects related to ethanol, renewable natural gas (RNG) and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) production.

Erik McAfee, chairman and CEO of Aemetis, said the 21 percent increase in revenues last year represents $45 million in new sales. For 2023, the said the company expects strong and growing positive cash flow from biogas, biodiesel, and renewable oil feedstock refining facilities that are coming into full production this year.

The company’s RNG projects are currently being impacted by time delays related to California Low Carbon Fuel Standard pathways. McAfee said Aemetis has finished work on six biogas facilities that are awaiting approval of LCFS pathways. Until those pathways are approved and Aemetis is able to begin selling into the RNG market at full LCFS value, the company will store the RNG it produces.

Andrew Foster, president of Aemetis Biogas and Aemetis Advanced Biofuels, said the company expects to complete construction on its seventh digester by the end of March. Two additional digesters are currently scheduled to be complete by mid-2023. The company plans to begin construction of up to 10 more digesters by the end of the year, depending on the timing of permitting and USDA financing.

Foster also discussed operations at the company’s corn ethanol plant in Keyes, California. He said demand for ethanol within the state, steady wet distillers grains pricing and increasing values for distillers corn oil helped offset the increased costs of corn and energy last year.

In December, however, California natural gas prices spiked more than 500 percent, creating an extremely unfavorable margin environment, Foster said. High natural gas prices persisted into January and February. As a result, Aemetis undertook an extended maintenance turnaround at the Keyes plant and accelerated the implementation of several important upgrades. Foster said the upgrades will allow the Keyes facility to operate using high-efficiency electric motors and pumps powered by low or zero carbon intensity renewable power sources, including the company’s solar microgrid and local renewable electricity.

Foster said the Mitsubishi Zebrex membrane dehydration system operated in full production mode for more than three months. Aemetis continues to work with Mitsubishi to fine-tune and refine the unit. To date, the Zebrex system reduced natural gas usage at the facility by nearly 25 precent. The company is currently implementing some design improvements and expects to commission the upgraded Zebrex unit this summer.

Aemetis is also constructing a 1.9-megawatt (MW) solar microgrid system with battery backup at the Keyes plant. Foster said Aemetis plans to complete the solar installation this year. In addition, a mechanical vapor recompression (MVR) system is in the final detailed engineering and procurement phase. The MVR system is expected to be operational in 2024 and will reduce fossil natural gas use by approximately 65 percent.

Work is also underway at the Keyes plant to enable cellulosic production. Foster said in April the company will begin the process of changing the ethanol production enzymes used at the plant, allowing the facility to recognize a portion of its ethanol production as cellulosic.

McAfee discussed the proposed Aemetis Riverbank project, which is expected to produce SAF and renewable diesel. He said the company looks forward to completing engineering and permitting for the facility in order to begin construction later this year.

In addition, Aemetis is developing a carbon capture and storage (CCS) project. A proposed phase one would include the injection of up to 400,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions from the Aemetis biogas, ethanol and Riverbank projects into two sequestration wells. Phase two of the project would enable additional CO2 injection from other emissions sources. The project is currently in the engineering and permitting phase for two characterization wells.

Aemetis reported fourth quarter revenues of $66.7 million for the fourth quarter, up from $64.4 million during the same period of 2021. The company’s ethanol segment accounted for $49.4 million in revenues, while its biodiesel segment in India accounted for $17.2 million in revenues.

Gross loss for the fourth quarter was $1.1 million, compared to a gross profit of $12.7 million during the fourth quarter of 2021. Operating loss was $8.7 million, compared to an operating profit of $5.2 million. Net loss was $22.4 million, compared to a net loss of $881,000 for the fourth quarter of 2021.

For the full year, Aemetis reported revenues of $257 million, up from $212 million in 2021. Gross loss was $5.5 million, compared to a gross profit of $7.9 million. Operating loss was $34.4 million in 2022, compared to an operating loss of $15.8 million in 2021. Net loss was $107.8 million, compared to a net loss of $47.1 million.