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BlueFire Renewables Gets Plant Funding From China Huadian

BlueFire Renewables Inc., a cellulosic ethanol producer, is receiving funding from China’s fourth-largest utility to build its first commercial plant to convert wood and plant waste into ethanol and power.

China Huadian Engineering Co., a unit of China Huadian Corp., agreed to buy a stake in the Fulton, Mississippi, plant and may later also provide debt financing, Irvine, California-based BlueFire said today in a statement that didn’t give a value for the transaction. The plant will produce 19 million gallons (72 million liters) of fuel a year when complete. Huadian may provide equity and debt for five other U.S. plants and is considering forming a joint venture to build similar facilities in China.

“What they’re really interested in is the fact that these projects generate greenhouse-gas credits, and on top of that they’re integrated with the biomass power plants,” Arnold Klann, BlueFire’s chief executive officer, said today in a telephone interview.

The Fulton project will cost about $390 million, including $100 million for the embedded power plant, which will provide about 9 megawatts of its 24-megawatt power generation capacity to the grid, Klann said.

The project is also being funded with an $88 million Energy Department grant. The state is providing $47 million of tax abatement over ten years, while Iwatamba County is providing a $2 million loan and a $3.4 million grant.

The additional projects will be the same size, or slightly larger, than the Fulton facility, Klann said. Tenaska Biofuels LLC in September 2010 agreed to purchase and sell all of the biofuel from the Fulton plant.

BlueFire rose 29 percent to 20 cents in over-the-counter trading, the most since July 11.

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