Abengoa Bioenergy announced the restart of its Portales New Mexico ethanol plant, New Mexico’s only commercial-scale bioethanol plant.
The plant is designed to produce up to 30 million gallons per year of fuel ethanol, produced primarily from sorghum grown on the High Plains of West Texas and Eastern New Mexico.
Javier Salgado, President and CEO of Abengoa Bioenergy, said that the Portales plant became viable again due to more favorable market conditions, supported by an increasing demand scenario. Recent legislative and administrative actions supporting the industry and expanding ethanol blend levels are also expected to have a positive impact.
Ethanol produced from the Portales facility is also expected to have a higher value than ethanol produced at some other grain based facilities under the provisions of both the Energy Investment and Security Act of 2005 (which established a Renewable Fuel Standard) and under the Low Carbon Fuel Standard being implemented by the state of California this year.
Salgado explained that, "due to its energy efficient production setup and the unique sorghum feedstock, which is typically grown without irrigation in Roosevelt County and the surrounding region, Abengoa’s Portales plant is a model for sustainable American fuel production that can help our rural farmers maintain their way of life while also preserving our precious water resources."
Salgado also stated that the restart of the Portales facility was assisted by the strong support from New Mexico’s political leadership, including New Mexico’s United States Senators Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall.
Abengoa Bioenergy is a subsidiary of Abengoa S.A. (ABG.MC). It is the largest European ethanol producer, one of the largest producers in the U.S., and the only worldwide bioethanol manufacturer with production facilities on three continents. Abengoa Bioenergy maintains its corporate offices in Chesterfield, Missouri, operating ethanol production facilities with a worldwide capacity of 840 million gallons per year in the US, Europe, and Brazil. With over 380 million gallons of this capacity located within the US, the company has facilities in Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Indiana, Illinois, and New Mexico. In addition, the company has produced cellulosic ethanol from a biomass pilot facility in York, Nebraska and a demonstration scale facility in Salamanca, Spain, and is developing jointly with DOE a full commercial scale cellulose facility in Kansas.