By The Canadian Press
A new cellulosic ethanol plant is headed for Saskatchewan as the result of new government incentives. Imogen Corp. was originally planning on building the facility in Idaho. Iogen Corp. is a world leader in making so-called cellulose ethanol from waste residues of agriculture, rather than from edible wheat and corn.
May 8, 2008
FALLS, Idaho — A Canadian biotechnology company
has decided to build a cellulosic ethanol plant in Saskatchewan, rather than southeast Idaho.
Iogen Corp. said Wednesday
it has suspended its operations in Idaho. For the last two years, Iogen had
leaned toward building a cellulosic ethanol facility near the community of
Shelley, near where farmers already are under contract to provide the wheat and
barley straw, corn leaves and stalks, and switch grass used to produce ethanol.
A U.S. Department of Energy
spending package included loan guarantees and an US $80 million grant for the
project, estimated in 2006 to cost up to US $350 million.
But in March, the Canadian
government announced it had allocated $500 million for projects to build
next-generation biofuels plants in Canada.
Corey McDaniel, a
legislative assistant to U.S. Sen. Larry Craig, said Wednesday that the Energy
Department's failure to offer larger loan guarantees was the main reason Iogen
decided not to build in Idaho.
He said the delay gave
officials in Canada enough time to put together the
$500 million incentive package.
McDaniel said that without
greater loan guarantees, Iogen and backers Royal Dutch Shell and Goldman Sachs
weren't comfortable building in Idaho.
McDaniel said Iogen
officials told Craig during a visit last month that having the company build
anywhere but in Canada would be an embarrassment.
"It may be that
(Iogen) has decided to focus on Canada, instead of a two-track strategy,"
said Pat Breton, director of communications for Sustainable Development
Technology Canada, the government-formed organization put in charge of the
Iogen Corp. is a world
leader in making so-called cellulose ethanol from waste residues of
agriculture, rather than from edible wheat and corn.
Iogen had identified
eastern Idaho as a "sweet spot" for straw in 2005, and began
signing contracts with area farmers.
Brandon Bird, executive
director of Bingham Economic Development Corp., said he hopes eastern Idaho would eventually help produce
"We've got what it
takes, and we're working on recruiting and marketing our straw supplies,"