Baard Energy raises $2.5B for coal/biomass-to-liquids plant in Ohio; construction to begin late spring or early summer 2011

Youngstown Business Journal. Baard Energy LLC, a company seeking to build a coal/biomass-to-liquids (CBTL) plant in Ohio (earlier post) has raised $2.5B from investors in the coal and energy markets and is preparing to begin construction of the nearly $6 billion Ohio River Clean Fuels Project by late spring or early summer.

The $2.5 billion will fund the land purchase and construction of the first phase of the project, which likely will likely take nearly three years, [president and CEO, John] Baardson said. Each of the two following phases will cost roughly $2 billion. Purchase of the land will begin next month and continue through the holiday season followed by engineering work, he said, then construction when the weather warms up. Construction will create up to 4,000 jobs, and the plant itself will employ some 415 when it’s operating.

The Ohio River Clean Fuels plant will use coal and other alternate feedstocks, such as waste wood, to produce 52,000 barrels daily of extremely clean diesel and jet fuel, as well as naphtha, by using the Fischer-Tropsch synthesis process. Naphtha is a low-octane gasoline used as a feedstock in the chemical industry.

Although the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) and the US Army Corps of Engineers issued permits for the plant in 2008, the Sierra Club and the Natural Resource Defense Council filed appeals challenging the building permits.

The plaintiffs accused the government entities of failing to adequately assess the environmental impact of Baard’s proposed liquefaction plant. Although the appeal for one of the three permits has since been ruled in Baard’s favor, the action forced the company to rescind its application for $2.5 billion in funding through the US Department of Energy’s Loan Guarantee Program.

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