Range Fuels Closing Georgia Cellulosic Ethanol Plant

Cellulosic ethanol company Range Fuels is closing its Soperton, Georgia facility after completing it first batch of ethanol, according to story posted by Georgia Public Broadcasting.

The firm, which has received more than $300 million dollars in state, federal and private funding, will lay off the majority of its workers and shutter operations, while it attempts to raise more money and address technical issues. 

This is a big blow to the local economy and the cellulosic industry as a whole. Range Fuels broke ground on the facility in 2007, but operations did not begin until 2010, due to numerous delays and the financial crisis. 

The facility produced its first batch of methanol–from timber industry waste wood–in August. And it is currently producing its first batch of cellulosic ethanol, after which it will shut down operations. (The methanol was used to produce biodiesel.)

Range Fuel technical advisor Bud Klepper–who founded the company under the name Kergy–said the first ethanol run completes a demonstration agreement made with the federal government. 

“This run campaign is to demonstrate that facet of the technology and when we’re done doing that then we’ll shut down,” he told GPB.

In 2007, the company received $76 million from the Department of Energy, which was followed by an $80 million loan guarantee from the Department of Agriculture in 2010. Range Fuels is also backed by Khosla Ventures, Passport Capital, BlueMountain, Leaf Clean Energy Company and Pacific Capital Group. 

The company had previously planned to begin construction this summer to expand production capacity to 60 million gallons per year, up from current levels of less than 10 million gallons. The plant is permitted to produce up to 100 million gallons.

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Comments on “Range Fuels Closing Georgia Cellulosic Ethanol Plant”

  1. WILLIAM

    Could someone please define “batch”. If it’s required by the government, couldn’t we have it in liters, gallons, tank car or other common measurement. “Batch” is so indefinite!

    Reply
  2. Mark

    Batch is just the method and they should have mentioned how big it was. A refinery is not a batch process, crude oil goes in and gas is one of the continuously coming out products. It takes 10 hours to make one M&M. Fortunately they make a whole bunch at a time in the batch. It takes a few seconds to make chocolate chips and it’s a continuous process of chocolate going in and chips coming out.

    Reply
  3. scottst

    This just smacks of fraud.

    Because it’s a green scheme, the government puts up half the money. Which I spend on my needs and my homeboys who build a big pyramid in a remote forest. We all get rich, and who loses? Uncle Sam.

    Sucks.

    Reply
  4. Lloyd Stanley

    The timing for this project couldn’t be worse it seems. Ethanol has fallen from grace with the “Go
    Green” bunch. It seems that someone is talking about how bad ethanol is for the environment every day.

    Reply
  5. steve

    I would like to have the chance to alter the production of tgis plants operation to make it a successful operation. I have built several ethanol plants around the world and ran them for 13 years.Is this a possibility ?

    Reply

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