Zephyr; The Western Pennsylvania Section Newsletter

Press Release: DEP Awarded $2.3 Million from U.S. Department of Energy

Harrisburg (Nov. 15) -- Environmental Protection Secretary James M. Seif today announced that the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will receive $2.3 million from the federal Commercialization Ventures Program to fund a bio-fuel project in southwestern Pennsylvania.

"Pennsylvania is a national leader in the development of green technology, and we are pleased to see our work recognized with this support," Seif said.

The Commercialization Ventures Program, offered by the U.S. Department of Energy, is expected to award eight grants nationally this year totaling $13.9 million. Seif said Pennsylvania is receiving the second highest dollar award offered this year. The grant will be administered by DEP's Office of Pollution Prevention and Compliance Assistance. The funding will support development, construction and operation of the Pittsburgh Biorefinery, to be operated by Arkenol Holdings, Inc., based in Mission Viejo, California.

The biorefinery will convert biomass feedstocks such as sawdust, newsprint, paper sludge and craft paper into fuel-grade ethanol and other valuable co-products. The state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources' Bureau of Forestry will work with Arkenol on the commercialization of this project in Pennsylvania.

Pending successful negotiations with the Department of Energy, Arkenol is expected to start work on the biorefinery in January, 1997. It is expected to be in commercial operation by March, 1999.

"This project will benefit Pennsylvania's economy and provide another fuel for cleaning up the air along our urban transportation corridors," Seif said.