Colusa Biomass to Build Calif. Ethanol Plant

Colusa Biomass Energy Corp., a Colusa County, Calif. -- based biomass-to-ethanol company, has hired TSS Consultants to provide technical and business assistance for a production plant in the Sacramento Valley that will convert rice straw to chemical products and ethanol.

Colusa Biomass Energy owns U.S. Patent #5,735,916, which covers the process for converting biomass to fuel ethanol.

The Sacramento Valley runs from Sacramento north to Mount Shasta and lies between the Coast Range and the Sierra Nevada mountains. The area produces about 13% of America's rice production, with each acre of rice producing about 2-1/4 tons of rice straw.

According to the company, of the 1.35 million tons of California rice straw produced, approximately 3% to 4% is used for commercial applications. The balance is either reintroduced to the soil or the fields are flooded a second time at extra expense to the farmer.

"The efficient and economical production of valuable commodities from rice straw will help solve the air and solid waste issues associated with the disposal of over a million tons per year of rice straw, while providing farmers with an additional source of income and the state with an important, renewable alternative fuel," said James Lucas, chief science officer at Colusa Biomass.

"In addition to helping with environmental issues and providing alternative choices for petroleum-based fuel, CBGY's planned facility will create numerous jobs in Colusa County, which currently has an unemployment rate of roughly 28%," Lucas said.

TSS, located in Rancho Cordova near Sacramento, is a renewable energy, natural resource management and financial consulting firm, providing evaluations of new and proposed industrial energy projects, new energy technologies, biomass waste disposal alternatives and life cycle analyses.