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Abengoa Bioenergy received an award notice of two million euro from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for the development of a R&D project

May 12, 2005

Madrid, May 12, 2005-, Abengoa Bioenergy R&D received an award notice from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for the development of new catalysts for the conversion of bio-based synthesis gas to ethanol. The total funding for the three-year award is $2,250,000.

The proposed research is to develop a new class of catalysts to convert biomass-derived synthesis gas to ethanol. The new catalysts will lower the temperature and pressure required for the conversion and will improve ethanol selectivity at a reasonable residence time. This new approach affords a much simpler product slate than that obtained from alternative processes, and will lead in turn to a simpler process. The use of low-value biomass and a simple process should lower the capital investment and total energy consumption. The integration of this process into existing or future biorefineries will bring great synergies and savings to the ethanol industry

This program is a joint effort of Abengoa Bioenergy, UOP, Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), and Washington University, each partner bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience in each critical aspect of proposed work. Abengoa Bioenergy, the leading partner, and UOP will have roles in catalyst testing, process modeling and simulation, and economic evaluation. Development of catalytic materials will be done mainly by ANL and PNNL. Washington University in collaboration with ANL and PNNL will be responsible for developing fundamental knowledge for relating catalyst structures to reactivity and selectivity. Abengoa Bioenergy will act as program manager for the project.

The President and CEO of Abengoa Bioenergy, Javier Salgado, mentioned that “Abengoa Bioenergy R&D is dedicated to the development of new technologies to reduce the production cost of ethanol and new utilization technologies to expand the ethanol market. Our ultimate goal is to make ethanol competitive with gasoline and establish ethanol as the renewable fuel of choice in the transport sector”.

The production of ethanol via gasification and catalytic synthesis is one promising alternative to the utilization of heterogeneous lignocellulosic biomass. The key to the development of this production pathway is the development of new catalysts for the synthesis step.

Abengoa Bioenergy is the European leader in the production of bioethanol for biofuels, operating at present two bioethanol plants in Spain, Ecocarburantes Españoles and Bioetanol Galicia, with a total installed capacity of 150 and 170 million liters per year, respectively. Moreover, it is developing a third plant in Salamanca, Biocarburantes de Castilla y León, with a capacity of 200 million liters per year, of which five million will be obtained from the conversion of cereal biomass by means of a new technology being developed by Abengoa Bioenergy R&D. Abengoa Bioenergy is the second producer on a world-wide scale and the first in Europe. Abengoa Bioenergy is also the 5th producer in the US, with a installed capacity of 365 million liters. The production in the US is based on corn which provides the company with an expertise and technology to process this cereal into bioethanol.

Abengoa, mother company of Abengoa Bioenergy, is an industrial and technological company listed in Madrid stock exchange, with a capitalization over 657 million Euro (31/12/2004), which gives solutions for Sustainable Development, Information and Knowledge Society, and the Creation of Infrastructures. Operating four business areas: Bioenergy, being the second producer worldwide; Environmental Services, as European leader in some industrial waste segments; Information Technologies, as one of main actors at international scale with operations in Europe, America and Asia; and Engineering and Industrial Construction, being the leader in Spain and South America.

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