Pasadena, Texas-based KiOr, Inc. has shipped its first production of cellulosic diesel fuel created using pine wood chips. The renewable fuel company made this shipment from its Columbus, Mississippi plant on Monday, showcasing its ability to produce on a commercial scale.
Although KiOR was founded in 2007, this is the first shipment out of the company’s first commercial-scale production plant. Most biofuel products in the US are made from corn, but the cellulosic biofuel produced at the Columbus KiOR plant uses pine wood chips to produce gasoline and diesel.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires refineries to use set volumes of alternative fuel (some of which can be the more common corn-based ethanol) into their overall usage, but there have been limited amounts available with just over 20,000 gallons being made last year. Many companies are unable to acquire the necessary biofuels, leading them to purchase waiver credits from the EPA.
In January, however, the agency took a stronger stance on cellulosic biofuels, saying it would require refineries to purchase 14 million gallons this year. KiOR Inc. plans to be there to fill help those requirements, with a goal of producing 3 to 5 million gallons of cellulosic diesel this year.
Condoleezza Rice, a KiOR board member and former US Secretary of State, points out the purpose is not just for environmental progress, but also to lessen our dependence on foreign sources of fuel. She was quoted on MySanAntonio.com:
“By making the promise of cellulosic fuels a reality, KiOR demonstrates that these fuels are an attractive option for lessening America’s dependence on foreign sources of energy.”
With this first shipment, the Texas-based company is proving itself to be the potential next-generation renewable fuels company it set out to be in 2007.