November 03, 2010
announced today its wholly-owned advanced ethanol subsidiary AE Advanced Fuels Keyes, Inc. (AE Keyes), closed a $4.5 million financing with Third Eye Capital Corporation. The funds will be used for the repair, restart and operation of an existing 55 million gallon per year ethanol plant located in Keyes, California.
“Securing this funding is an important milestone for AE Biofuels as we expand local biofuels production in one of the largest ethanol markets in the world,” said Eric McAfee, chairman and CEO of AE Biofuels, Inc.
AE Keyes plans to retrofit the Keyes plant and be fully operational by the first quarter of 2011. The original $130 million construction and commissioning of the plant was completed in November 2008 by Cilion, Inc. In early 2009 the plant was closed due to technical and market issues. AE Keyes took possession of the facility under a project agreement with Cilion in March 2010, and has signed a facility lease for up to three years.
In January 2010, the permissible per gallon ethanol blend in California increased from 5.7% to 10%, expanding the state’s ethanol market to approximately 1.5 billion gallons annually. As the State of California seeks to promote renewable, low-carbon intensity fuels, AE Keyes has been notified by the California Energy Commission (CEC) that the Keyes Plant’s application has been approved to participate in the California Ethanol Producer Incentive Program (CEPIP). The CEPIP is designed to provide price assurance for low-carbon intensity California ethanol producers.
The Keyes plant is a leader in environmentally responsible ethanol production with a 2.6:1 positive energy balance and near zero water discharge. In addition, the plant’s natural gas and steam powered turbine cogeneration unit generates nearly all of the operating electric needs of the plant (4.3 megawatts), thus eliminating dependence on the state’s electrical grid. AE Biofuels intends to introduce its patent-pending enzyme-based cellulosic ethanol technology at the Keyes facility and other California ethanol plants in 2011.