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BlueFire's First Ethanol Bio-Refinery in California

BlueFire Ethanol Fuels, Inc., a leader in cellulosic ethanol production technology, has engaged Roeslein Associates, Inc. and PAC (Process Automation Concepts, Ltd.) to begin prefabricating modules for BlueFire's first ethanol bio-refinery in Lancaster, Calif.

The Lancaster biorefinery will use post-sorted cellulosic wastes diverted from landfills in Southern California to produce a highly-economical alternative biofuel. BlueFire is in the process of obtaining the final permits to commence construction on the secured site, which is expected to produce 3.1 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol annually.

“Prefabrication and modular construction has proven itself time and again to be the best method for maintaining quality, controlling costs and creating the fastest to-market time for the deployment of complex facilities,” said Arnold Klann, President and CEO of BlueFire. “This approach also allows us to potentially sell our facilities as a turn-key manufactured product, leveraging our capabilities and expand our market reach several fold.”

Roeslein was selected as one of the world’s leading firms in the modularization, unitization and pre-assembly of specialized plant facilities. Manufacturing facilities typically have a sequence of production equipment or systems, all of which are interconnected by conveyors, mechanical piping/ducting, electrical wiring and access walkways. Using a proprietary unitizing process, Roeslein integrates all of these systems into free-standing steel structures.

The units are completely pre-assembled, enabling pre-testing and functionality checks before shipping to the final plant site. Unit sections are then broken down and transported on flatbed trailers or overseas shipping containers with all of the pre-assembled conveyance, piping, ductwork and electrical components intact. The unit section legs, ladders, stairs and miscellaneous components are also packed into the same container, so that everything needed for final re-assembly is kept together. Final installation at the plant location is accomplished at an accelerated rate as compared to conventional installations, and many common and costly construction issues are avoided.

In addition to advancing its domestic plans, BlueFire anticipates that refinements of the Lancaster facility design will form the basis for a manufactured product that will be suitable for export, particularly to developing countries.

According to Klann, “the size of our initial Lancaster facility is consistent with the feedstock-gathering capabilities in developing countries or other locations where aggregation of large quantities of useable feedstock is not as practical. These ’right-sized’ modules will be ideal for regions unable to produce locally-sourced fuels.”

BlueFire Ethanol is one of six ethanol companies awarded funding from the U.S. Department of Energy to construct ethanol production facilities. Unlike remote corn ethanol production plants, BlueFire’s biorefineries will be located in markets with the highest demand for ethanol. This dramatically reduces delivery costs and increases biofuels supply, while providing a unique waste-processing technology that helps cities better manage the problem of overflowing landfills.

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