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Agriculture Chairwoman Stabenow Visits Alpena Biorefinery

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, today highlighted the benefits of next-generation biofuels during a tour of the Alpena Biorefinery. Stabenow has led the effort to expand next-generation biofuel production, which will create new jobs and reduce America's dependence on foreign oil. The new bipartisan Farm Bill that she authored, which recently passed the Senate Agriculture Committee, strengthens initiatives to help expand biofuel innovation and production.

The Alpena Biorefinery, which was started by American Process Inc., uses advanced technology to convert hardboard waste into cellulosic ethanol-an advanced biofuel that is a clean energy substitute for petroleum produced from wood, grass, or non-edible parts of plants. This process is done in partnership with hardboard manufacturer Decorative Panels International in Alpena. The Alpena Biorefinery is expected to start commercial production in June.

Senator Stabenow said: "When we grow things here and make things here, we create jobs here in Michigan. This innovative partnership is producing Michigan-grown fuel that has the potential to spur new job growth and help reduce our dependence on foreign oil. The bipartisan Farm Bill I have authored will help businesses expand biofuel production across Michigan."

Theodora Retsina, CEO of American Process Inc. said: "We thank Senator Stabenow for visiting the Alpena Biorefinery, one of the first USA cellulosic ethanol commercial plants converting a waste stream to second generation ethanol. It is an example of manufacturing innovation in Michigan and answers our Nation's call for domestic energy production using our abundant natural resources and creating rural jobs. We are grateful to all the stakeholders that have worked with us to make this project a reality and recognize the extraordinary support we have received from  DPI, the Devere Construction Companies,  the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, The City of Alpena, Target Alpena, the Department of Energy, Michigan Tech University, Acuitas and Green Tech America."

Tim Clark, President of Decorative Panels International said: "DPI is committed to continuing the collaborative efforts with API to leverage and integrate their proprietary technology in converting our waste stream to a marketable biofuel.  APIs success in operating the biorefinery will support our objectives for sustainable manufacturing and environmental stewardship".

Chairwoman Stabenow's bipartisan Farm Bill increases access to capital for companies to help finance the development and construction of biorefineries that produce advance biofuels. Her legislation also promotes innovative biofuel research and assistance to landowners and farmers who collect, harvest, store, and transport crops that can be converted later into biofuels.

Under Stabenow's leadership, the Farm Bill also includes her Grow it Here, Make it Here initiative to advance Michigan's emerging bio-based manufacturing industry. Similar to biofuels, bio-based manufacturing uses agriculture goods to make value-added products and is an industry poised to grow and create jobs in Michigan. 

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