DRIVE: California's Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program

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PRE-DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES FOR THE ADVANCED BIOENERGY CENTER, MENDOTA

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Mendota Bioenergy LLC tested the feasibility of converting sugar beets and agricultural waste such as almond orchard prunings into transportation fuel, green electricity and other green products. The Energy Commission grant supported pre-development work for the design and construction of an Advanced Bioenergy Center in Mendota (ABCM), includingthe facility's technical and economic feasibility, and its life-cycle environmental impacts. Mendota Bioenergy analyzed the sustainability of the biorefinery, assessed the properties of sugar beets and other feedstock materials, and evaluated technologies to convert the biomass feedstocks into ethanol and other useful co-products.

Results of this agreement indicate that the Center could convert 420,000 tons of sugar beets each year into 15 million gallons of ethanol; 3 megawatts of certified green electricity; and high-nutrient compost and liquid fertilizer. The project could provide a major industrial boost to this designated Enterprise Zone. The ABCM will use several technologies to produce advanced ethanol and other co-products. It would reclaim 500,000 gallons of treated wastewater a day for use in biorefinery operations, while providing nearly 60 million additional gallons annually for farming and landscaping.

Grant Amount

$1,499,179 from the Energy Commission's Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program

Match Funding

$1,553,461 from the project participants

Project Benefits

A successful commercial-scale ABCM would provide significant economic benefits to the Fresno County agricultural community of Mendota. Jobs would be created in facility construction, plant operations, and sugar beet production on 40 area farms. The ethanol produced would replace 12 million gallons of gasoline, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 68 percent. Cogeneration will be used to produce steam and green-energy that will be reintegrated as process energy into the biorefinery process. Additional benefits will include decreased air quality impacts from the burning of agricultural waste, and production of high-grade soil amendments that can replace fossil based fertilizers.

Grant Agreement Number: ARV-10-028

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