New Energy Blue forms New Energy Chemicals to sustainably produce bio-sourced ethylene
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New Energy Blue forms New Energy Chemicals to sustainably produce bio-sourced ethylene

New Energy Chemicals opens multiple pathways to our exponential growth in biobased fuels and chemicals

  • By ICN Bureau | March 19, 2024

New Energy Blue, the clean-energy developer of lowest-carbon biofuel and biochemicals from crop residues, today advances its Decarbonizing America agenda by forming New Energy Chemicals.

In phase one, the new biochemical subsidiary will produce American-sourced and American-made bio-based ethylene to enable Dow's production of low carbon plastics used in everyday life; in phase two, it will expand operations at its Port Lavaca, Texas, facility to produce sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

"New Energy Chemicals opens multiple pathways to our exponential growth in biobased fuels and chemicals," says Albury Fleitas, President of New Energy Blue. "We're particularly excited by our new end-to-end alternative to Brazilian ethanol for making SAF, which will begin in the American Midwest by refining agricultural waste."

"Flexibility is baked into the process design and business operations of our biomass refineries," adds CEO Thomas Corle. "We're not locked into a single product, single market, or single feedstock. New Energy Chemicals gives us 360-degree downstream options for achieving liftoff of an American bioenergy revolution. We can pivot to mitigate market risk, seize growth opportunity, and hit lowest-carbon targets consistently."

In late 2025, the New Energy Freedom biomass refinery in Mason City, Iowa, will begin converting local corn stalks into 16-20 million gallons a year of highly decarbonized (HD) cellulosic ethanol and 120,000 tons of clean HD lignin. Lignin has high value as a fossil substitute in markets like paving American roads and decarbonizing steel production.

Some of Freedom's ethanol is destined for California and Oregon auto fuel markets; by meeting their strict low-carbon standards, it will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 100% per gallon of gasoline displaced. Millions of HD gallons will also head to Texas, where New Energy Chemicals will convert it into bio-based ethylene, transported via pipeline to Dow's U.S. Gulf Coast operations for production of renewable plastics across fast-growing end markets.

Dow's use of bio-based feedstocks from New Energy Blue is expected to be certified by ISCC Plus, an international sustainability certification program with a focus on traceability of raw materials within the supply chain. While Dow intends to mix agriculture-based ethylene into its existing manufacturing process, ISCC Plus's chain of custody certification would allow Dow's customers to account for bio-based materials in their supply chains.

Albury Fleitas reports that "strategic and institutional investors are actively involved in our Freedom and Chemicals projects and upcoming expansions. With engineering design completed and major permits secured, we've reached the final investment decision (FID) stage. By partnering with an international bank and securing USDA loan guarantees for both project sites, we anticipate ground-breaking this year."

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