A joint venture between INEOS Bio and NPE Florida in Vero Beach has successfully transformed solid municipal waste into ethanol. The Indian River BioEnergy Center, once online will be able to produce 8 million gallons of ethanol annually. The facility was built with a total price-tag of $130 million and has created 400 jobs for the Vero Beach community. INEOS Bio has spent the past 5 years perfecting the technology after its acquisition that enables ordinary trash that would typically end up in a conventional landfill to instead be used as a transportation fuel.
That means lawn clippings, woody biomass, and vegetative and yard waste could be used to make bioethanol, which would serve as an alternative to fossil fuels. Citrus, oak, pine and pallet wood waste can also be turned into renewable energy.
Despite a lack of robust energy demand, we’ve continued to see rising gasoline prices in the U.S., along with massive gains in energy production. With 50% growth in Marcellus Shale gas production and a plethora of transportation options being attempted for Canadian tarsands oil, it will be interesting to see how the North American energy sector unfolds in the near future. As for the trash-to-fuel technology of INEOS Bio, fossil fuel-poor nations may be best suited as customers.
The company plans to build a second plant, construct new facilities and license its technology to companies from around the world. Many oil-dependent countries have searched for viable alternatives to petrol for years, and commercialization of waste-turned-bioethanol could have a major impact on fossil fuel production.