News & Press



September 30, 2011


U.S. Department of Energy awards Avello Bioenergy $2.5 MM grant to support pilot plant design and construction


Avello has received an Assistance Agreement form from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for $2.5 million in federal funding for support of its pilot plant project. This project is managed through the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) - Biomass Program, and Avello is nearing removal of conditions in the contract with the DOE. This project includes $2.5 million in support from the State of Iowa through the Power Fund, in-kind funding from project partners, and cost-share provided by Avello Bioenergy.


A team of private industry and academia partners have joined Avello to design and build a pilot plant to supply biobased products for pre-commercial testing and market development. This project will advance the commercialization of thermochemical process technology and petroleum replacement products including biobased asphalt, industrial fuels and renewable chemicals.


The Avello®FRAC process is a proprietary fast pyrolysis based platform including bio-oil fractionation technology licensed from Iowa State University (ISU). Avello has partnered with Continental Technologies and Emerson Process Management to scale up the existing process development unit at ISU to a pilot scale facility for demonstration of equipment integration and continuous operation. The plant will produce semi-commercial quantities of unique pyrolysis oil fractions that will be supplied to leading industry partners for large scale R&D or testing. Bioproducts that will be demonstrated or investigated as part of this project include: Bioasphalt® binder for road paving and roofing shingles, Biofuel Oil™ for clean power generation, biobased chemicals for high value specialty applications, and biobased feedstocks for hydrocarbon biofuels. ISU researchers will be conducting parallel R&D to provide industry support, including sustainable single pass harvesting of corn stover biomass.


As shown below, Avello's pilot plant will be located at the state-of-the-art BioCentury Research Farm (BCRF) owned by ISU, which leverages existing infrastructure to minimize capital costs and construction time.


BioCentury Research Farm (BCRF) showing location of Avello's pilot plant near Boone, Iowa


This project will provide crucial process and product data necessary for economic analysis, feasibility studies and financing for design of commercial facilities. These facilities will provide numerous rural job opportunities, economic development, and bioproducts from renewable biomass to reduce national petroleum usage and green house gas emissions. This project also includes education and outreach components to teach the agricultural community and students about the opportunities of biomass fast pyrolysis.


Project participants include Borregaard LignoTech, Cargill, Continental Technologies, Emerson Process Management, Iowa Economic Development Authority / Iowa Power Fund, Iowa State University, Iowa Farm Bureau, a leading roofing shingle manufacturer, and Virent.


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