Coskata progresses plans to build 78 million gallons/year woody biomass-based ethanol plant in Boligee, Alabama, in two phases ending in 2013 and 2015, aims to raise US$100M in IPO, use US$87.9M U.S. DOA-backed loan

LOS ANGELES , May 7, 2012 () – A woody biomass-based ethanol production plant is proposed for Boligee, Alabama, by Coskata Inc., a new company based in Warrenville, Illinois, reported The Tuscaloosa News on May 6.

Coskata said it chose Boligee because of its “plentiful supply” of the woodchips and woodwaste needed to fuel the plant, but also because of its proximity to “the undersupplied Southeast ethanol market.”

The Southeast requires nearly 1 billion gallons of ethanol per year based on blending 10% ethanol into gasoline, the company said in its Initial Public Offering (IPO) filing, The Tuscaloosa News reported.

The company plans to pay for the project by raising US$100 million in the stock sale plus cash on hand and an $87.9-million loan backed by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. A date has not yet been set for the IPO.

The plant would be built in two phases, with the first phase completed by 2013 and the second phase, by 2015. The company calls the plant Flagship, reported The Tuscaloosa News.

When fully operational, Flagship will have a total production capacity of 78 million gallons per year, with initial capacity of 16 million gallons/year in the first stage and an additional 62 million gallons added in the second stage.

When fully built, the plant is expected to make “fuel-grade cellulosic ethanol at an unsubsidized cash operating cost of less than $1.50 per gallon,” according to the IPO filing.

The project, which has strong support from state and county governments, has obtained key permits, including air-operating and water-discharge permits, said Coskata.

Flagship could create as many as 700 jobs at the plant and in the harvesting and hauling of woody biomass, according to state estimates when the project was announced in January 2011.

Woodwaste is also to be used at a wood pellet production plant being built by Tuscaloosa-based Westervelt Co. in Aliceville, Alabama, according to The Tuscaloosa News.

In a partnership with Alabama Power Co., Westervelt last year added turbines at its sawmill in Moundville, Alabama, to generate enough electricity to power 3,000 homes.

However, Alabama Power switched over to natural gas from coal or coal-blended with biomass at its Plant Gadsden, said Alabama Power spokesperson Michael Sznajderman.

Some biomass is still used at the utility’s station in Childersburg, Alabama, he said, The Tuscaloosa News reported.

The primary source of this article is The Tuscaloosa News, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on May 6, 2012.

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