4 minutes with… Ron Rebenitsch, CEO, Bioenergy Fuels

0bceec3Tell us about your company and it’s role in the Advanced Bioeconomy.

Bioenergy Fuels is a project developer, focused on development of biomass-to-liquid projects of mid-size scale (5-10 MGY). We are a start-up, founded by team of seasoned professionals, with decades of experience in project development, finance and operations.

Tell us about your role and what you are focused on in the next 12 months.

Bioenergy Fuels was founded for the purpose of developing biomass-to-liquid-fuels and biomass-to-electricity projects. We have established a commitment with a new biomass conversion technology capable of producing diesel fuel from a variety of biomass feedstocks.

Our Target: Biomass Projects consisting of Micro-refineries to produce 5-10 million gals/yr., and an EBITDA yielding 10% IRR min. over 20 yrs.

We have identified target areas and over the next 12 months are working to establish long term reliable sources of biomass – the key ingredient to any successful biomass project.

What do you feel are the most important milestones the industry must achieve in the next 5 years?  

Allow RINs to apply to biomass from Federal lands. This will enable the government agencies managing the Federal lands to address beetle kill, fire thinning, invasive species, etc. in a much more cost-effective manner.

If you could snap your fingers and change one thing about the Advanced Bioeconomy, what would you change? 

Provide a clear long term policy on biomass. For instance allow a project to lock in the RINs incentive; much as the Production Tax Credit works for wind energy. (it would help to reduce the complexity and bureaucracy involved in the RINs, as well)

Of all the reasons that influenced you to join the Advanced Bioeconomy industry, what single reason stands out for you as still being compelling and important to you?  

Establishing a sustainable source of energy for future generations. After developing over 600 MW of wind energy during its growth to a mature industry, I saw biomass as the next logical step.

Where are you from? 

Born & Raised in North Dakota

What was your undergraduate major in college, and where did you attend? Why did you choose that school and that pathway?

Civil Engineering. I became an engineer because I wanted to build things – big things, like power plants, dams, bridges, railroads.

Who do you consider your mentors – could be personal, business, or just people you have read about and admire. What have you learned from them?

Both my father and mother overcame tremendous adversity in their lives. They never considered giving up.

What’s the biggest lesson you ever learned during a period of adversity?  

To quote my mother: “This too shall pass.” (In the meantime, just keep working to overcome.)

What hobbies do you pursue, away from your work in the industry?

I’m a workaholic – my hobby is work.

When my wife makes me get away, I like hunting, fishing, reading and ocean cruises.

What are 3 books you’d want to have with you, if you were stranded on a desert island

A physics or chemistry textbook (I didn’t study as hard as I should have in college)

A good spy novel

A good survival manual

What books or articles are on your reading list right now, or you just completed and really enjoyed?  

A spy novel

Renewable Energy Journals

Wall Street Journal

What’s your favorite city or place to visit, for a holiday?  

Ocean Cruises

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