Finalizing Grant for “Valorizing Forest Waste for Cellulosic Ethanol Production” to Extract Sugars from Waste Forest and Orchard Wood Using Ionic Liquids Technology Licensed Exclusively to Aemetis from DOE-Funded Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI)
CUPERTINO, Calif. – May 20, 2021 – Aemetis, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMTX), a renewable natural gas and renewable fuels company focused on negative carbon intensity products, has been notified of a grant from the U.S. Forest Service toward the commercialization of a patented process that extracts cellulosic sugars from waste orchard wood, waste forest wood, and other biomass.
The sugars from waste wood could potentially be used to produce high value cellulosic ethanol at the existing 65 million gallon per year Aemetis ethanol plant, while the remaining lignin material is expected to be used in the production of negative carbon intensity, cellulosic hydrogen for use in renewable jet and diesel production at the Aemetis Carbon Zero 1 plant being built in Riverbank, CA.
“The ionic liquids technology has the potential to extract sugars from waste wood at an industrial scale to create valuable biofuels from materials that otherwise may contribute to forest fires, creating air pollution and carbon emissions as well as property damage and loss of life,” said Larry Swan, Wood & Biomass Utilization Program Leader, U.S. Forest Service Pacific Southwest Regional Office. “We look forward to eventual deployment of this technology to use forest wood waste to supply Aemetis ethanol plants with low cost cellulosic sugars and provide lignin as a feedstock for other uses.”
“Aemetis has an exclusive license from JBEI for a patented process that extracts cellulosic sugars comprising up to 55% of woody biomass, and we have already produced cellulosic ethanol that tested equal in performance to traditional ethanol,” stated Dr. Goutham Vemuri, Vice President of Technology Development at Aemetis. “This breakthrough technology was initially developed with $3 million of grant funding from the California Energy Commission and this U.S. Forest Service grant will further advance our plan to build a commercial production plant.”
“We are thankful to the U.S. Forest Service team members who have supported our efforts to reduce the amount of waste wood in forests, improve the health of forests and reduce orchard wood field burning while producing valuable, low carbon intensity biofuels,” said Eric McAfee, Chairman and CEO of Aemetis. “Our planned deployment of the sugar extraction plant supported by this grant is expected to occur as we construct the Carbon Zero 1 renewable jet and diesel production plant in Riverbank, CA.”
The DOE Bioenergy Technology Office (BETO) has identified more than one billion tons per year of renewable, low carbon intensity, low cost, waste wood from forests, orchards and other biomass sources that can be used for biofuels and biochemicals production. The DOE has provided extensive funding for process technologies that convert this abundant, domestic feedstock source into renewable fuels, resulting in patented technologies such as the ionic liquids process developed by JBEI.
The ionic liquids sugar extraction technology is exclusively licensed to Aemetis by the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) in Berkeley, California which receives significant funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
The Carbon Zero 1 biorefinery is scheduled to be completed and begin operations in 2023 with a capacity of 45 million gallons per year of renewable jet and diesel fuel, then double production capacity to 90 million gallons per year by 2025.
Headquartered in Cupertino, California, Aemetis is a renewable natural gas, renewable fuel and biochemicals company focused on the acquisition, development and commercialization of innovative technologies that replace petroleum-based products and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Founded in 2006, Aemetis has completed Phase 1 and is expanding a California biogas digester network and pipeline system to convert dairy waste gas into Renewable Natural Gas (RNG). Aemetis owns and operates a 65 million gallon per year ethanol production facility in California’s Central Valley near Modesto that supplies about 80 dairies with animal feed. Aemetis also owns and operates a 50 million gallon per year production facility on the East Coast of India producing high quality distilled biodiesel and refined glycerin for customers in India and Europe. Aemetis is developing the Carbon Zero renewable jet and diesel fuel integrated biorefineries in California to utilize distillers corn oil and other renewable oils to produce low carbon intensity renewable jet and diesel fuel using cellulosic hydrogen from waste orchard and forest wood, while pre-extracting cellulosic sugars from the waste wood to be processed into high value cellulosic ethanol at the Keyes plant. Aemetis holds a portfolio of patents and related technology licenses to produce renewable fuels and biochemicals. For additional information about Aemetis, please visit www.aemetis.com.
Safe Harbor Statement
This news release contains forward-looking statements, including statements regarding our assumptions, projections, expectations, targets, intentions or beliefs about future events or other statements that are not historical facts. Forward-looking statements in this news release include, without limitation, statements relating to the development and construction of a sugar extraction plant, construction and operation of the jet and diesel biorefinery in Riverbank, California, our compliance with governmental programs, and the ability to access markets and funding to execute our business plan. Words or phrases such as “anticipates,” “may,” “will,” “should,” “believes,” “estimates,” “expects,” “intends,” “plans,” “predicts,” “projects,” “showing signs,” “targets,” “view,” “will likely result,” “will continue” or similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based on current assumptions and predictions and are subject to numerous risks and uncertainties. Actual results or events could differ materially from those set forth or implied by such forward-looking statements and related assumptions due to certain factors, including, without limitation, competition in the ethanol, biodiesel and other industries in which we operate, commodity market risks including those that may result from current weather conditions, financial market risks, customer adoption, counter-party risks, risks associated with changes to federal policy or regulation, and other risks detailed in our reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020 and in our subsequent filings with the SEC. We are not obligated, and do not intend, to update any of these forward-looking statements at any time unless an update is required by applicable securities laws.