Fulcrum Pushes Ahead

With no shortage of loan program criticism, at least one project is greenlighted
By Erin Voegele | December 28, 2010

Fulcrum BioEnergy Inc.’s Sierra BioFuels Plant project has been selected by the U.S. DOE to enter the final stage of the department’s loan guarantee program. According to Fulcrum, the company has received a detailed indicative term sheet from DOE and has begun the negotiation process to advance the loan towards closure and funding.

“We recognize that until the loan is closed, there is no assurance that a loan guarantee will actually be issued,” says Fulcrum President and CEO E. James Macias. “However, as we move ahead and negotiate terms of the loan with DOE, and it continues its technical, commercial and financial due diligence through the closing of the loan guarantee, we are optimistic that a conditional commitment and loan guarantee will be issued.”

The Sierra BioFuels Plant will be located near Reno, Nev. Using post-sorted municipal solid waste as feedstock, the plant is expected to produce 10.5 MMgy of cellulosic ethanol and 16 megawatts of renewable electricity. Construction is scheduled to begin immediately following the award of a loan guarantee, with completion targeted for 2012. Fulcrum estimates the project will create 53 full-time and more than 450 temporary jobs.

“With equity capital in place, the DOE loan guarantee represents a vital financing tool to allow our $120 million project to move forward, opening the door to an exciting new industry,” Macias says.

—Erin Voegele