Stoel Rives publishes legal guide on biorefineries

By Erin Voegele | November 05, 2012

Stoel Rives LLP has published a new legal guide designed to benefit the advanced biofuels and biochemical industries. According to Stoel Rives, the guide, titled “The Law of Biorefineries and Advanced Biofuels,” provides entrepreneurs, investors, lenders and developers with an overview of legal issues that are encountered in typical renewable energy projects.

"We are in the midst of the rapid commercialization of advanced biofuel and biochemical products," said attorney Graham Noyes, co-editor. "Recent state and federal policies have accelerated the growth of the U.S. advanced biofuel marketplace, and the industry's economics are increasingly attractive. As lawyers and supporters of the biofuel industry since its inception, we wanted to provide those in the industry with our insights into the legal landscape of this unique and dynamic energy source."

The 90-page publication includes a wide variety of information, including early stage financing, business models, intellectual property, regulatory and permitting requirements, real property procedures, contracts and incentives.

One chapter of the guide focuses on company formation, early stage financing and preparing for an initial public offering (IPO). The chapter walks the reader through the different types of businesses, as well as their relative advantages and disadvantages. It also addresses financing alternatives available to emerging companies, and discusses the advantages and disadvantages of going public.

Another chapter focuses on intellectual property issues, such as patents and licensing agreements. In addition, it touches on trademarks and trade secrets.

The guide’s third chapter addresses the key regulatory programs for advanced biofuels, as well as federal fuel and fuel additive registration and California’s low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) program. A fourth chapter is dedicated entirely to the federal renewable fuel standard (RFS) program.

The fifth chapter of the guide is focused on site selection, and includes information on feedstock procurement, product offtake, availability of utilities and land use considerations, such as zoning restrictions, parcel subdivision and traffic. The chapter also includes information related to water supply and discharge.

The next chapter is dedicated to engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) agreements. It addresses issues such as performance guarantees, performance guarantee damages, equipment procurement issues, contract payment terms and many others.

The seventh chapter addresses project financing and government programs. It provides a description of individual and institutional private equity, as well as government grants, debt financing and loan guarantees. It also discusses the importance of developing projects and preparing agreements with financing in mind.

The next chapter of the guide addresses real estate issues, such securing rights to use the plant site and the different types of real estate interests, including purchase, lease, easement, and licensing. The final chapter is focused on the formation of commercial contracts

The new guide can be downloaded for free on Stoel Rives’ website. Similar guides focused on algae, biofuels and biomass are also available.