Solyndra Jr.?

An wood-to-ethanol factory – Range Wood Fuels – that received $65 million in state and federal subsidies was sold Tuesday for “pennies on the dollar.”

A New Zealand-based company – LanzaTech – which purchased the defunct ethanol producer  has received over $7 million in additional government funding to help it produce “alternative fuels.”

Range cost U.S. taxpayers $64 million and Georgia taxpayers another $6.2 million. Tuesday’s sale netted $5.1 million which will help offset losses suffered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Georgia’s money, which paid for some of the ethanol-making equipment, won’t be recouped outright, but state officials expect LanzaTech to use the machinery. […]

The Bush administration’s Energy Department steered a $76 million federal grant to Range. The Department of Agriculture followed up with an $80 million loan guarantee. Georgia officials pledged $6.2 million. Treutlen County, one of the state’s poorest, offered 20 years worth of tax abatements and 97 acres in its industrial park.

Private investors reportedly put up $158 million. In all, the project raised more than $320 million.

Range, unable to turn wood into ethanol, closed its doors a year ago. It never came close to creating the 70 jobs once promised.

05. January 2012 by Jason Hayes
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