Mendota Advanced Bioenergy Beet Cooperative Grant For Pre-Development Activities for the Advanced Bioenergy Center, Mendota
Mendota Bioenergy LLC will test the feasibility of converting sugar beets and such agricultural waste as almond orchard prunings into several kinds of transportation fuel, green electricity and other green products.
An Energy Commission grant will support the pre-development work for the design and construction of an Advanced Bioenergy Center in Mendota. This work includes exploring the project's technical feasibility, its economic viability and its life-cycle environmental impacts. Mendota Bioenergy will analyze the sustainability of the plan, assess the properties of sugar beets and other feedstock materials, and then develop technology to convert the biomass into useful products. It will then construct a pilot scale operation.
If the project proves to be feasible, the Center could convert 840,000 tons of sugar beets and 80,000 tons of farm biowaste each year into 33.5 million gallons of ethanol; 1.6 million standard cubic feet of biomethane for making compressed natural gas; 6.3 megawatts of certified green electricity; and high-nutrient compost and liquid fertilizer. The project could provide a major industrial boost to this agricultural area, a designated Enterprise Zone.
The Advanced Bioenergy Center will use four different technologies to produce its products, including advanced ethanol production, anaerobic digestion, biomass gasification, and water recycling and wastewater treatment. The project is expected to reclaim one million gallons of treated wastewater a day that will be used for biorefinery operations. It will also provide nearly 119 million additional gallons of water each year to be used for farming and landscaping.
$1,553,461 from the project participants.
Mendota Bioenergy LLC is an outgrowth of the Mendota Advanced Bioenergy Beet Cooperative, a farmer-owned collaboration of 40 area growers that was formed in 2008. The Cooperative will be responsible for overseeing all project activities.
Dr. Ruihong Zhang, PhD., from the University of California Davis, will be responsible for pre-design feasibility research, analysis of the feedstocks' properties, development of scaled up models of bioconversion, and life cycle analysis.
IR1 Group, Colorado-based biofuel, engineering and construction consultants, will serve as the project developer.
The project could create approximately 250 direct and 50 indirect construction jobs in the Fresno County agricultural community of Mendota, along with 50 long-term jobs at the biorefinery and an additional 50 jobs for feedstock operations. Approximately 160 new laborers and agricultural workers will be needed to support additional sugar beet production on 40 area farms.
The ethanol and CNG produced would replace 23 million gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel each year, cutting greenhouse gas emissions from petroleum by 45 percent for ethanol and 86 percent for CNG.
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 associated with the burning of agricultural waste, and production of high-grade soil amendments that can replace fossil based fertilizers.
Grant Agreement Number: ARV-10-028