The Abengoa Bioenergy Biomass of Kansas facility in Hugoton, Kansas recently celebrated its grand opening. 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. It is designed to produce up to 25 million gallons per year of cellulosic ethanol from non-edible corn stalks, stems and leaves, harvested within a 50-mile radius of the plant.
The opening was attended by U.S. Secretary of Energy 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.
The state-of-the-art facility features an electricity cogeneration component that will generate up to 21 megawatts of electricity—enough to power the plant and provide excess clean, renewable power to the local 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.
“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.
U.S. DOE Secretary Moniz (center) tours the Abengoa Biorefinery in Hugoton, Kansas. Credit: Abengoa.