CLEVELAND--(BUSINESS WIRE)--renewaFUEL, LLC, a subsidiary of Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. (NYSE: CLF) (Paris: CLF), today announced that Cliffs’ Board of Directors has approved a plan for the construction and operation of a next-generation biomass fuel production facility at the Telkite Technology Park, which is located at Sawyer Airport near Marquette, Mich.
renewaFUEL intends to move forward with a lease agreement for the use of two large aircraft hangars, which formerly housed B-52 aircraft when the facility was part of K.I. Sawyer Air Force Base. renewaFUEL's lease of the hangars is subject to the final approval of the Marquette County Board of Commissioners and the Federal Aviation Administration. Once begun, construction and renovation at the facility, a $19 million capital project, is expected to take approximately nine months.
“We are pleased to be able to begin the necessary renovations and equipment installations to commence operations at the Sawyer location,” said William A. Brake, chairman of renewaFUEL and executive vice president, human and technical resources for Cliffs Natural Resources. “This is an exciting new economic development opportunity for renewaFUEL and Michigan's growing renewable energy industry.”
The plant is expected to employ approximately 25 people and will produce 150,000 tons per year of high-energy, low-emission biofuel cubes. The cubes are a composite of sustainably collected wood and agricultural feedstocks, which will be supplied from local farmers and loggers for the facility.
“Our objective with this first full-scale plant is to establish safe, profitable production and demonstrate to utilities and other industries currently using non-renewable energy sources that renewaFUEL energy cubes are a cost-effective way to supplement or replace fossil fuels in their operations,” Brake said. “We anticipate being in production at the Sawyer facility by the middle of 2010.”
The biofuel cubes—about the size of a coal briquette—generate about the same amount of energy as coal from the Western United States. However, they emit 90 percent less sulfur dioxide, 35 percent less particulate matter and 30 percent less acid gases than coal. In addition, the feedstocks used to create them are considered biogenic carbon—meaning they are already part of the natural carbon balance and will not add to atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide.
renewaFUEL will be able to aggregate the multiple feedstocks and engineer energy cubes to meet exacting specifications of individual customers. Because of their size and density, the cubes can be used in most solid fuel systems with little or no modifications required.
About renewaFUEL, LLC
renewaFUEL, a majority-owned subsidiary of Cliffs Natural Resources Inc., is a provider of renewable energy for industrial and institutional applications. The Company engineers, aggregates and distributes renewable energy cubes, which have positive energy and greenhouse gas balances, producing more than 35 times the energy required to collect feedstock, process cubes and deliver the products for use.
News releases and other information on the Company are available on the Internet at: http://www.cliffsnaturalresources.com or www.cliffsnaturalresources.com/Investors/Pages/default.aspx?b=1041&1=1
"Safe Harbor" Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995
This news release contains predictive statements that are intended to be made as "forward-looking" within the safe harbor protections of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Although the Company believes that its forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions, such statements are subject to risk and uncertainties.
Specifically, renewaFUEL plans to enter into a lease agreement for the facility. Any definitive lease agreement will be subject to final approval of the Marquette County Board of Commissioners and the Federal Aviation Administration.
Reference is also made to the detailed explanation of the many factors and risks that may cause such predictive statements to turn out differently, set forth in the Company's Annual Report and Reports on Form 10-K, Form 10-Q and previous news releases filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which are publicly available on Cliffs Natural Resources' website. The information contained in this document speaks as of the date of this news release and may be superseded by subsequent events.