Abengoa celebrates grand opening of its first commercial-scale next generation biofuels plant

  • Global leader in the development of new industrial biotechnologies debuts advanced biorefinery for cellulosic ethanol in Southwest Kansas.
  • U.S. Secretary of Energy Dr. Ernest Moniz, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback and Kansas Senator Pat Roberts offer remarks during on-site event commemorating landmark occasion for advanced biofuels industry.
  • Abengoa’s proprietary enzymatic hydrolysis technology turns crop residue (stalks, stems and leaves) into a sustainable fuel source – cellulosic ethanol.

Hugoton, Kan. – October 17, 2014 – Abengoa (MCE: ABG.B/P SM /NASDAQ: ABGB), the international company that applies innovative technology solutions for sustainability in the energy and environment sectors, today announced the official grand opening of its second generation cellulosic ethanol plant in Hugoton, Kansas, located about 90 miles southwest of Dodge City. The opening was attended by U.S. Secretary of Energy Dr. Ernest Moniz, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, Former U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Kansas Senator Pat Roberts, Mayor of Hugoton Jack E. Rowden and CEO of Abengoa Manuel Sánchez Ortega.

Abengoa’s new industry-leading biorefinery finished construction in mid-August and began producing cellulosic ethanol at the end of September with the capacity to produce up to 25 million gallons per year. The plant utilizes only “second generation” (2G) biomass feedstocks for ethanol production, meaning non-edible agricultural crop residues (such as stalks and leaves) that do not compete with food or feed grain. The state-of-the-art facility also features an electricity cogeneration component allowing it to operate as a self-sufficient renewable energy producer. By utilizing residual biomass solids from the ethanol conversion process, the plant generates 21 megawatts (MW) of electricity – enough to power itself and provide excess clean renewable power to the local Stevens County community.

The Hugoton plant opening also marks the first-ever commercial deployment of Abengoa’s proprietary enzymatic hydrolysis technology, which turns biomass into fermentable sugars that are then converted to ethanol. Among the first wave of commercial-scale ethanol plants in the country, Hugoton builds on recent industry momentum showcasing cellulosic ethanol as a sustainable alternative fuel source that significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions and increases energy independence.

In addition to the plant’s crucial role in proving the commercial viability of cellulosic ethanol, its success provides a platform for the company’s future development of other bioproducts that reduce petroleum use, such as bioplastics, biochemicals and drop-in jet fuel.

“The Hugoton plant opening is the result of 10 years of technical development, roughly 40,000 hours of pilot and demonstration plant operation, and the support of the DOE,” said Manuel Sánchez Ortega, CEO of Abengoa. “This is a proud and pivotal moment for Abengoa and for the larger advanced bioenergy industry – and further demonstrates our longstanding commitment to providing sustainable energy alternatives in the United States. This would have been simply impossible without the establishment of the Renewable Fuel Standard.”

Abengoa received a $132.4 million loan guarantee and a $97 million grant through the Department of Energy to support construction of the Hugoton facility.

Industrial Biotechnology Renewed

At full capacity, the Hugoton facility will process 1,000 tons per day of biomass, most of which is harvested within a 50-mile radius each year – providing $17 million per year of extra income for local farmers whose agricultural waste would otherwise have little or no value. Of that biomass, more than 80 percent is expected to consist of irrigated corn stover, with the remainder comprised of wheat straw, milo stubble and switchgrass.

Abengoa plans to offer licenses and contracts to interested parties covering every aspect of this new industry – from process design, to engineering, procurement and construction (EPC), supply of exclusive enzymes, as well as operations and marketing of the completed products from the facility.

The proprietary enzymatic hydrolysis technology utilized commercially at Hugoton is also a focal point in Abengoa’s efforts to diversify the range of raw material feedstocks from which biofuels and bioproducts can be produced. For example, for more than a year the company has been operating a demonstration-scale facility that is capitalizing on the same technology and enzyme cocktail used at Hugoton to extract cellulosic sugars from municipal solid waste (trash), thereby allowing expansion of the renewable fuels industry from rural to urban areas.

Legacy of Innovation

With a biofuels presence on three continents, Abengoa is an international biotechnology company – one of the largest ethanol producers in the United States and Brazil, and the largest producer in Europe with a total of 867 million gallons of annual installed production capacity distributed among 15 commercial-scale plants in five countries.

Abengoa’s overall presence in the United States – including its solar, water desalination, biofuels and engineering and construction businesses – has grown exponentially since the company expanded its business more than a decade ago. Some 26 percent of the company’s assets are currently in the United States, which is Abengoa’s largest market in terms of sales.

For more information and materials, including images, video/b-roll and a fact sheet, please visit: or connect with the company on Twitter @Abengoa and follow the conversation with #BiotechRenewed and #WhyKansas.

Abengoa completes $132.4 million loan guarantee financing for its first biomass ethanol plant in Hugoton, Kansas

Hugoton, September 30, 2011- Abengoa (MCE: ABG), the international company that applies innovative technology solutions for the development of sustainability in the energy and environmental sectors, today announced that its subsidiary Abengoa Bioenergy has finalized a $132.4 million federal loan guarantee from the US Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office (DOE). Proceeds of the loan will be used for the construction of the company’s “first of a kind” commercial scale biorefinery facility to produce renewable ethanol fuel from cellulosic plant fiber.

The conditional commitment for this loan guarantee was announced by DOE on August 19, 2011, and Abengoa successfully satisfied the conditions and closed the financing transaction with DOE on September 28.

The facility will be built near Hugoton, Kansas, and will utilize Abengoa’s proprietary enzymatic hydrolysis technology to produce approximately 23 million gallons per year of ethanol fuel from plant fiber, instead of from the starch of course grains which are typically used in other ethanol facilities. The feedstocks for the facility will be primarily agricultural waste products such as the stalks of corn or grain sorghum, but it is also expected to use wheat straw and potentially prairie grasses and even wood wastes.

The plant will also utilize the same biomass feedstocks to produce 20 megawatts of electricity, adequate to power the ethanol production operations, and helping to make the entire facility even more energy efficient and environmentally friendly.

The project is expected to convert approximately 300,000 tons per year of agricultural crop residues, including corn stover (stalks and leaves), into approximately 23 million gallons of ethanol per year using an innovative enzymatic hydrolysis process. The project maximizes the use of agricultural crop residues that would otherwise not be utilized and uses feedstock that does not compete with feed grains. Annually, the project is expected to displace over 15.5 million gallons of gasoline, which will avoid over 139,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions. Abengoa has entered into an ethanol offtake agreement to sell ethanol produced by the facility and expects more than 90 percent of the project’s sourced components to be produced in the U.S.

In addition to producing fuel and energy, the facility will bring a tremendous economic benefit to the region and the entire state of Kansas: an estimated 300 jobs during the two year construction period, followed by a permanent plant employment of 65 full time jobs with a payroll exceeding $4.5 million annually.

Abengoa recently announced that construction on the site of the new facility has already begun, and that the total investment in the project will exceed $350 million.

Abengoa starts construction of the commercial scale biomass plant located in Hugoton, Kansas

Hugoton, September 20th, 2011.- Abengoa, an international company that applies innovative technology solutions for the development of sustainability in the energy and environmental sectors, today announced that its subsidiary Abengoa Bioenergy, has received its PSD Air Quality Construction Permit from the State of allowing the commencement of construction on its commercial scale biorefinery facility to be located in Hugoton, Kansas.

The permit was issued on September 16, and the company has already started construction at the site. The construction period is expected to take approximately 24 months, during which time the facility will bring an estimated 300 new direct jobs to the area. After completion the plant will produce over 23 million gallons per year of clean, sustainable, cellulosic ethanol fuel, and will support an annual payroll approaching $5 million for 65 full time jobs at the facility.

"The construction of this "first of a kind" commercial scale biorefinery facility will allow us to utilize our proprietary technology that has been developed and proven over the last 10 years to produce renewable liquid fuel from earth's most abundant organic feedstock source- plant fiber, or cellulosic biomass," said Manuel Sánchez, CEO of Abengoa. "Our company is excited to begin the commercial implementation of this technology, and ultimately to expand this technology and incorporate it into many of our other production facilities around the world," Sánchez continued.

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback welcomed the construction of Abengoa's new facility, stating, "This is another great example of the private sector and the state's workforce leading the way to do what's best for both the Kansas economy and the environment. This one of a kind project will showcase Kansas as a leader in the development of new technologies for alternative energy production and create well-paying jobs for our state."

The President of the Kansas Senate, Steve Morris, echoed this welcome and added, "I congratulate Abengoa for its willingness to invest in new technologies to move our nation toward cleaner and more energy efficient fuel from renewable local resources. The economic benefit of hundreds of construction jobs, a $5 million annual permanent payroll at the plant, and additional outlets for Kansas agriculture products is a tremendous benefit for our region and the entire state."

State Representative Steve Alford, whose district includes the Hugoton plant site was also pleased to see construction start on the facility, saying, "production of ethanol fuels from biomass agricultural wastes and grasses that are abundant within our state is an exciting opportunity to turn low value products into products that reduce our need to import foreign oil. This is positive news for southwest Kansas and the entire State".

Abengoa Announces DOE Offer of Conditional Commitment for $133.9 Million Loan Guarantee to Build Inaugural Biomass Plant in United States

Hugoton, 19th August, 2011 Abengoa (MCE: ABG) today announced that its subsidiary, Abengoa Bioenergy, has been selected by the US Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office to receive an offer of a conditional commitment for a $133.9 million federal loan guarantee for the construction of its “first of a kind” commercial scale biorefinery facility to produce renewable liquid fuel from earth’s most abundant organic feedstock source – plant fiber, or cellulosic biomass.

Upon successful satisfaction of the conditions precedent and approval of the loan guarantee, we expect DOE to issue a guarantee of the loan from the Federal Financing Bank up to the amount ultimately approved by DOE. With the offer of a conditional commitment now received, Abengoa Bioenergy has announced that they intend to start construction on the site, which is located near Hugoton, in Stephens County Kansas, in the very near future.

“Abengoa has been developing this technology for 10 years, and the project itself has been in the development stages for over 5 years,” said Manuel Sánchez, CEO of Abengoa. “In preparation for construction of the Hugoton project, the company has developed and perfected its proprietary technologies and produced cellulosic ethanol for thousands of hours from laboratory scale, to a biomass pilot plant facility in York, Nebraska, and ultimately from a demonstration scale facility in Salamanca, Spain. As a result, we are very pleased to finally achieve this financing milestone, and we thank the Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office for their offer of a conditional commitment, that if realized will allow us to construct one of the first commercial scale biomass conversion plants in the world,” Sánchez continued.

The U.S. Department of Energy has been a supporter of Abengoa Bioenergy’s efforts to develop new ethanol production technologies since 2003. The Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Biomass Program originally supported the construction of the Abengoa pilot plant in York, Nebraska with a $34 million cost matching award, then entered into a cooperative agreement with Abengoa Bioenergy in 2007 to provide up to $100 million towards the construction of the commercial facility in Hugoton, as one of six second generation biofuels facilities chosen for support in the DOE’s biofuels initiative.

“After we demonstrate the commercial viability of our proprietary enzymatic hydrolysis technology in Hugoton, we then plan to incorporate the technology into many of our other existing facilities by adding cellulosic production to the existing starch ethanol facilities that we currently operate. The new cellulosic ethanol plant will pave the way for the next generation of biofuels, which will be even more energy efficient and environmentally friendly, and will help lead the US to a cleaner, more secure energy future. Additionally, the fact that this facility will bring an estimated 300 new direct jobs to the area, and an annual plant payroll over $4.5 million for 65 full time jobs at the facility, provides a critical economic benefit to the town of Hugoton, and in fact to the entire state of Kansas,” said Javier Salgado, President and CEO of Abengoa Bioenergy. “The plant is also designed to produce approximately 23 million gallons of advanced cellulosic ethanol each year, as well as enough energy to meet the electric power needs of the plant,” Salgado continued

Abengoa receives USDA backing to produce bioethanol from biomass at its Hugoton factory

  • The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has approved four new programs for the production of biofuels from biomass (Biomass Crop Assistance Program, BCAP), in the states of California, Kansas, Montana, Oklahoma, Oregon and Washington
  • The Kansas program shall be carried out in the Abengoa biomass factory with the capacity to produce up to 100 ML of cellulosic ethanol

Seville, 29th July 2011.- Abengoa, an international company that applies innovative technology solutions for the development of sustainability in the energy and environmental sectors, has been offered the support of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to open and operate a plant that produces bioethanol from biomass (a mixture of agricultural waste and cultivated energy products).

The United States Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, recently announced the approval of four programs of support for producing bioethanol from biomass (Biomass Crop Assistance Program, BCAP), with the aim of increasing the availability of non-foodstuff crops to produce biofuels. The plants are located in California, Kansas, Montana, Oklahoma, Oregon and Washington, areas that produce the raw material for the production of biofuels.

One of the four programs will be executed in the state of Kansas, close to the Abengoa biomass plant, which will have a production capacity of 100 ML of cellulosic ethanol and 20 MW of renewable energy. The plant will create about 100 permanent jobs and it is expected to start operations towards the end of 2013.

Cultivated energy products are fast growing plantations seeking to produce energy in any of its types: thermal, electric or by transforming it into biofuels. BCAP, which is included in the 2008 Law on Agriculture, Nutrition and Bioenergy known as the “Farm Bill”, was developed to help farmers and land owners cultivate energy products.

These four new programs will altogether generate more than 3,400 jobs in the rural areas, a goal also shared by Abengoa who searches for possibilities in all its projects to create new sustainable rural development opportunities, encouraging the cultivation of energy products and the creation of agribusinesses, and thus contributing to maintain the income and work levels in the rural environment.

The USDA support joins the recent approval granted by the European Commission to the Sustainability Certification Standard RED Bioenergy Sustainability Assurance (RBSA), willingly developed by Abengoa. This institutional consensus guarantees the Abengoa commitment to develop biofuels which generate new opportunities of economic development in the local communities and create agribusinesses to contribute to the rising levels of jobs and income in the rural areas, without neglecting the company’s commitment to the research and development of more sustainable technology solutions in the production processes of the transport industry and, in so doing, greatly cutting down on CO2 emissions

Abengoa on Schedule to Secure 100 Percent of the Biomass Requirement for its Hugoton, Kansas, Cellulosic Ethanol Facility

Seville, April 14, 2011.- Abengoa, the company that develops innovative technology solutions for sustainable development in the energy and environment sectors, is on schedule to secure 100 percent of the biomass raw material for its Hugoton, Kansas, cellulosic ethanol plant.

The company has signed contracts with several local biomass producers, and is currently in talks with others, to obtain the required annual supply of 315,000 tons of cellulosic biomass by the end of 2011. Upon start-up, the facility, scheduled to be commissioned in 2013, will convert about 315,000 dry tons per year of crop residue and cellulosic energy crops to 25 million gallons of ethanol, while also generating 25 megawatt (MW) of electrical power, enough to power the ethanol conversion process.

Recognizing that obtaining the annual supply of cellulosic biomass was key for the successful operation of the plant, Abengoa took several critical steps early in the project’s conception to ensure a reliable feedstock supply system was in place. This included:

• Determining that adequate amounts of biomass were available within an economical transportation distance of the projected facility site, and making sure that this biomass supply would be available during normal fluctuations of weather and different growing conditions.

• Ensuring that the biomass could be harvested in a sustainable manner over the projected lifetime of the project, in a way that complies with the accepted crop production practices of the area.

• Engaging in extensive interactions with local producers to ensure that the biomass harvest would meet their expectations, as well as those of Abengoa, in terms of quantity, quality and cost.

Based on these efforts, Abengoa will begin harvesting biomass in the fall of 2011 and will continue in the summer and fall of 2012.

Abengoa has also conducted testing to determine the best procedures for harvesting the biomass in a sustainable manner that meets or exceeds Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) minimum standards for the prevention of soil erosion. From 2008-2010, various technologies for harvesting biomass were evaluated for several other parameters, including harvest efficiency, transportation efficiency and minimizing extraneous material in the harvested biomass.

The construction of the Hugoton, Kansas, plant will start this summer and full commercial operation is expected in the first half of 2013. This facility will be Abengoa’s first second-generation facility and seventh bioethanol facility in the U.S., bringing the company’s total biofuel production in the country to more than 400 million gallons.

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