Raven Biofuels will locate its proposed cellulosic biorefinery in the Red Hills EcoPlex

Raven Biofuels will locate its proposed cellulosic biorefinery in the Red Hills EcoPlex in Ackerman, northeastern Mississippi. Planned output is 21 million gallons a year of fuel grade ethanol and 12 million of specialty organic chemicals, plus lignin cake.

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“The site we have selected is ideal for a biorefinery to benefit from favorable wood and labor costs,” says John Sams, chief executive of Raven.

The company is carrying out its final evaluation of the site, which is part of a 137 acre ecological industrial park. It was created to build a network of environmentally friendly industries around several anchor tenants including the 500 megawatt Red Hills Power Plant.

Raven officials are studying whether the power plant could supply the necessary steam and power for the biorefinery. That is a key goal of EcoPlex developers, who want industries there to exchange bioproducts to achieve a collective benerfit.

Companies locating in the EcoPlex may qualify for state or federal environmental technology grants and regulatory allowances, as well as incentive programs based on industrial ecology and energy efficiency.

Raven officials says their 35-acre site offers regional benefits such as favorably lower feedstock and labor costs. It also qualifies for Gulf Opportunity Zone benefits that the state provides to help the region recover from several hurricanes earlier this decade.

Feedstock for the biorefinery will be locally sourced wood chips and wood waste. In association with the GO Zone initiatives the project plan also includes development groundwork for a cogeneration facility to be undertaken in cooperation with local utilities.

Raven, based in Paramus, New Jersey, says it has invested $24m in biofuels research and development, and will use proprietary technology at the Mississippi plant.

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