60 mgy Keyes Ethanol Facility Uniquely Designed and Located to Produce Advanced Biofuels Expected to Increase Plant Cash Flow by more than $30 million per Year
Aemetis, Inc. (OTCPK: AMTX), an advanced fuels and renewable chemicals company, today announced the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on December 17, 2012 approved the use of grain sorghum (milo) along with biogas and a combined heat/power system to produce Advanced Biofuels, generally defined as fuels that contain less than 50% of the carbon intensity of gasoline. The EPA ruling was printed in the Federal Register and is available for review via this link: EPA Final Ruling Approves Grain Sorghum, Biogas and CHP Process as Advanced Biofuels.
Previous to this EPA approval, Brazilian ethanol producers using sugarcane as feedstock received valuable EPA-issued Advanced Biofuels Renewable Identification Numbers (RIN’s) worth approximately $0.40 per gallon of ethanol. By law, corn ethanol producers are unable to receive Advanced Biofuel RIN’s, yet compete against ethanol produced in Brazil and imported to the US. This EPA approval creates a “level playing field” for certain US ethanol producers by providing the same RIN value as that received by Brazilian producers selling into the US.
In addition, by purchasing imported milo as feedstock for the Keyes plant, significant feedstock cost savings can be obtained (please see Aemetis Business Update Call December 20, 2012).
“Aemetis owns one of the few ethanol plants in the US that will be able to take immediate advantage of this EPA ruling,” stated Aemetis Chairman and CEO Eric McAfee. “The high efficiency standards and extra capital investment applied during the retrofit of the facility is now paying off with a rapid transition to the production of Advanced Biofuels at the Keyes plant.”
After an extensive review process, the EPA found that grain sorghum requires significantly less water and less fertilizer than corn, and can grow on land that is not as suitable for growing food crops. Grain sorghum is also drought tolerant due to a waxy covering on its leaves, enabling water to be retained during times of high heat or a lack of water, while still growing to full yield and maturity when rains occur late in the growing season.
The Aemetis 60 mgy capacity ethanol plant in Keyes, California was designed for highly efficient energy use, including natural gas boilers providing steam for process use and powering a steam turbine for process electricity. The existing design and operation of combined heat and power at the Keyes plant enables the facility to quickly convert to the use of biogas without permitting delays or equipment installation.
In addition, the Aemetis Keyes plant is located about 40 miles from the deep water Pacific port of Stockton, California. As previously announced, in October 2012 Aemetis participated in the importation and processing into biofuel of more than 50 million pounds of grain sorghum from Argentina. The close proximity of the Keyes plant to the Stockton port enables Aemetis to import grain sorghum at potentially a significant discount to the price of milo produced in the Midwest and delivered to California.
To enhance long-term sustainability and further reduce the carbon content of its fuels, Aemetis is developing California production of grain sorghum for the 2013 and later harvest periods.
There are several unique advantages to the conversion of the Aemetis Keyes ethanol plant to Advanced Biofuels, including:
1. Lower transloading, rail and other logistics costs due to its location within 50 miles from a deep water port, allowing the importation of grain sorghum at lower cost.
2. The ability to access clean, pipeline quality biogas from landfills due to favorable pipeline flow directions and other delivery advantages.
3. No lead time required for the permitting, interconnection and construction of steam turbines for Combined Heat and Power.
Forward Looking Statements
The information contained herein includes forward-looking statements related to future events. Statements regarding future events are based on current expectations and are necessarily subject to associated risks related to, among other things, the ability of the company to adequately protect our technologies, the availability of resources used for industrial production, and the ability of the company to successfully defend or prosecute intellectual property rights. Actual results may differ materially from those in the projections or other forward-looking statements made herein. For information regarding other related risks, please see the “Risk Factors” section of the company’s filings with the SEC.
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