Abengoa helps to build Fulcrum BioEnergy’s waste-to-biofuels plant in the US

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Abengoa, the Spanish-based infrastructure, energy and water specialist, has announced that it will be helping to build a facility that will produce biofuels from municipal solid waste in the US with gasification technology.

The news comes as Fulcrum BioEnergy recently announced that it had successfully reached financial closure for the project – a prerequisite for the commencement of works.

Abengoa will be responsible for the engineering, design, construction and commissioning of the project.

The plant will be located in Nevada will have the capacity to produce 10 million gallons of biofuels per year, to be used in the aviation sector.

According to Abengoa, this also affords the company an important opportunity to strengthen its position in a market where aviation fuel demand continues to grow, and which also sees renewable alternatives taking on a more important role.

The company also said that this initiative provides a sustainable alternative for the large amount of MSW that is produced in the area each year, and which otherwise would be disposed of at a landfill site.

Abengoa has spent over a year working on the preliminary engineering and procurement works in order to minimise possible risks during construction. The engineering, procurement and construction works are expected to begin immediately and are expected to take over two years.

This project will strengthen Abengoa’s position both in North America, where it has been present for over a decade, and also in the sector of waste-to-energy projects.

Unloading biofuel facilities

The news that Abengoa is engineering and constructing waste-to-fuel plants rather than running them is interesting. This is because over the last year Abengoa has started to unload its biofuel facilities. The company has been hit by financial difficulties in recent years.

In June, it completed the sale of its bioethanol operations in Spain and France to private equity firm Trilantic Europe. In October 2016, Shell offered more than $26 million (€23.6m) to buy Abengoa SA's cellulosic ethanol plant in Kansas.

Abengoa is not the only company to unload its biofuels operations in the US. DuPont Industrial Biosciences recently announced that it shut down operations at its Iowa ethanol plant just two years after it opened.