Aemetis receives USDA conditional commitment for US$125 million, 20-year financing of Riverbank Biorefinery
In the United States (US), advanced renewable fuels and biochemicals company Aemetis Inc. has announced that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has issued a Conditional Commitment under the 9003 Biorefinery Assistance Program to guarantee a US$125 million, 20-year loan to the Aemetis cellulosic ethanol plant to be built in Riverbank, California. The Riverbank plant is designed to convert orchard, forest, and other biomass waste into cellulosic ethanol with below zero carbon emissions.
Following Phase I approval for a loan guarantee from the USDA in late 2016, Aemetis invested more than US$10 million to build and operate an integrated demonstration plant, obtained an independent engineering review, secured the Riverbank site, signed an ethanol offtake agreement, entered into a 20-year fixed-price feedstock supply agreement, completed preliminary engineering, and obtained necessary environmental approvals in order to complete the requirements for the issuance of the USDA Conditional Commitment.
The Aemetis Riverbank project is needed to meet the mandates set forth in the federal Renewable Fuel Standard and California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard to improve air quality, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, expand domestic employment, reduce dependence on imported crude oil and attract investment into US industrial projects. This USDA loan guarantee supports the conversion of orchard waste, forest and other biomass in California into clean, low carbon biofuels, launching the first phase of four Aemetis cellulosic biofuels plants planned in the Central Valley, said Eric McAfee, Chairman, and CEO of Aemetis.
The Conditional Commitment of the US$125 million USDA loan guarantee is in addition to the recently granted US$12 million California state tax waiver and the US$5 million California Energy Commission Notice of Proposed Award for the Riverbank project.
Preliminary engineering has been completed and construction of the Riverbank plant is expected to begin in mid-2019.