E³ BioFuels Genesis Complex
The E3 BioFuels Genesis plant at Mead officially began production in the spring of 2007; sufficient biogas to power the ethanol distillery has been produced on-site since December 2006. The complex—a commercial-scale, integrated system that profitably manages the wastes generated by CAFOs and produces ethanol—is the first of its kind. The key factors driving the Genesis plant's profitability are:
- Environmentally friendly solid waste management that meets EPA requirements
- Use of an existing concrete slatted CAFO with demonstrated profitability under retained management
- Elimination of fossil fuels (natural gas) at the ethanol plant, resulting in savings of millions of dollars each year
- Elimination of operational costs for drying and transporting corn byproducts
- Significant reduction of capital costs for the ethanol plants because drying and pollution control equipment are unnecessary
- Unfermentable byproducts ("net starch costs") are lower than competing ethanol plants, and,
- We have an experienced and dedicated management and advisory team
Bill Joy, a partner in the Silicon Valley venture capitalist firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers, recently said of ventures like ours,
"John [Doerr] used to say Google is the greatest legal creation of wealth, and I think the greatest legal creation of wealth today is in the green area—not just in the U.S. but in the developed world. There will be an enormous amount of new [green] technology, new wealth, and We are trying to create the Googles, the Microsofts of the new era."
We are trying to create the Googles, the Microsofts of the new era.
— Bill Joy, Partner, Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers
The Mead, Nebraska, site was selected due to its existing cattle feedlot, one of the few in the country which already had roofs over the cows and slatted floors for quick collection of manure. The anaerobic digester requires "clean manure" that does not contain dirt, sand or water in order to create biogas. The Mead feedlot that provides this clean manure has been in operation since 1969 and has had consistent ownership since 1988. The cattle on this feedlot have also eaten wet cake since 1995, and the feedlot for years has consistently been in the top 2 percent for economic performance in the United States.
The Genesis plant has access to both the Omaha and Lincoln ethanol markets, as well as a strong corn supply from the surrounding area. This site also benefits from an existing natural gas supply line, so there is solid backup for all facilities in the event of a temporary biogas interruption.
Union Pacific rail access is approximately two miles from the Genesis plant in Mead. Trucking ethanol to the railway (or ultimately, an ethanol pipeline) would significantly expand the range of E3's ethanol marketing program.
Saunders County provides a labor pool from which to draw qualified employees. In addition, the site is located within 40 miles of Fremont, Lincoln and Omaha, which will further enable E3 to recruit and retain qualified employees. Together the feedlot and ethanol plant employ 120 people.
The cost of corn usually accounts for about half of the cost of producing ethanol. The average annual corn production in Saunders and the adjoining counties is over the past five years 120,064,180 bushels.