The Hagstrom Report

Agriculture News As It Happens


USDA approves $25 million loan for Iowa biorefinery plant

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that USDA has approved a conditional commitment for a $25 million guaranteed loan to build a biorefinery plant in Blairstown, Iowa, with funding support from USDA's Biorefinery Assistance Program.

Fiberight, LLC will use USDA funding to construct a 55,000 square foot facility that will produce cellulosic ethanol by converting municipal solid waste and other industrial pulps into advanced biofuels, as well as using conventional renewable biofuel derived from seed corn waste, USDA said..

When operational, the facility is expected to produce approximately 3.6 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol per year. The process will use a cellulosic microbe to produce up to 15 percent more ethanol than traditional fermentation technology, and reduce energy inputs in the fermentation and distillation process.

Fiberight estimates the project will create 38 jobs and save 16 jobs.Under the conditional commitment, the company must meet specified conditions before the loan guarantee can be completed. Other funding comes from the state of Iowa.

Fiberight also received a $2.5 million grant from the Iowa Power Fund in 2010. The company will work with the Benton County landfill to supply a portion of the feedstock for the project. The total project cost is estimated at $59.5 million.

Fiberight, LLC was incorporated in 2007 for the purpose of converting an existing ethanol facility into a cellulosic ethanol facility in Blairstown.