Bank that lent Colorado-based bioenergy startup Range Fuels US$80M forecloses on company's closed cellulosic ethanol plant in Soperton, Georgia, after exploring options with USDA for reviving project

LOS ANGELES , December 7, 2011 () – Range Fuels’ shuttered cellulosic ethanol plant in Soperton, Georgia, is in foreclosure, according to an advertisement announcing the foreclosure sale in Thursday’s Soperton News, reported on Dec. 2.

AgSouth Farm Credit had lent the Colorado-based bioenergy startup US$80 million to build the plant, which closed early this year after making one test batch of fuel.

The bank had worked with the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) on possible options that might revive the plant, but USDA notified the lender on Oct. 27 that it was moving ahead with liquidation, reported.

The USDA had guaranteed a $64-million loan for Range Fuels, which also received a $76 million grant from the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE) and a state grant. The plant was to be the country’s first to produce biofuel made from woodchips rather than from food crops such as corn.

DOE ended its grant agreement with Range Fuels in August, after having spent $43.6 million on the company since 2007, said Jen Stutsman, press secretary for DOE, reported

DOE is working with Range Fuels to analyze data to determine “lessons learned on the project to date,” said Stutsman on Thursday. The final report will not be made public, but it will help with work on developing future biofuels projects, she said.

Range Fuels did not answer any calls made over several days, and its website disappeared in October, reported.

The primary source of this article is, Macon, Georgia, on Dec. 2, 2011.

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