Government backing loan for biofuel plant near Reno
A San Francisco Bay area company is opening a plant in Northern Nevada to turn garbage into biofuel, and it’s using a government-backed loan to help build it.
Federal officials on Monday announced a $105 million loan guarantee for Pleasanton, Calif.-based Fulcrum BioEnergy to help finance development of the facility. The plant, about 20 miles east of Reno in Storey County, is expected to create some 430 jobs during construction and 53 permanent jobs.
When operational, the plant will convert 147,000 tons of processed, municipal solid waste into more than 10 million gallons of ethanol each year. It will use a pressurization process that does not involve incineration.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, through its Rural Development Biorefinery Assistance Program, will provide the loan guarantee. The loan will be provided by Sovereign Bank.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, USDA officials and Fulcrum CEO Jim Macias held a press conference at the National Atomic Testing Museum in Las Vegas to announce the loan guarantee.
Macias said the commercial plant, with a price tag of about $200 million, would be the first of its kind and use a “completely new technology.” He expects it to be producing ethanol by the end of 2013.
His company plans to build at least another 20 plants around the United States, and Fulcrum executives are considering Southern Nevada for additional facilities, Macias said. He referenced a massive garbage dump — the largest landfill in the country as of a few years ago — an hour north of Las Vegas, just off Interstate 15.
In this business, the more garbage nearby, the better. “You go to where it’s aggregated in large volumes,” Macias said.