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  • Aemetis Inc.

Aemetis makes deal with city to purchase Riverbank, California, site

Aemetis Inc. recently announced it has signed a master developer agreement with the city of Riverbank to lease or purchase the 125-acre former military base in Riverbank, California, known as the Riverbank Industrial Complex.

The Riverbank facility features 710,000 square feet of existing buildings, a four-mile railroad loop with 120 railcar-storage capacity, and an onsite hydroelectric substation with 100 percent low-carbon hydroelectric power. The site has received more than $72 million of federal funding for facility upgrades and remediation since being decommissioned as an army base.

Aemetis plans to build its “Carbon Zero 1” sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and renewable diesel biorefinery at the site. The plant is designed to use hydroelectric and other renewable power available onsite to produce 90 million gallons per year of SAF, renewable diesel, and other byproducts.

The Riverbank Industrial Complex was an ammunition production facility employing about 3,500 people and has been converted to civilian use, including approximately 35 companies employing around 650 people. Under the terms of the master developer agreement and as the owner of the properties as parcels are transferred, Aemetis will manage current tenants, utilize existing production facilities for new tenants or as production facilities, and develop vacant portions of the site with planned renewable fuels and carbon sequestration facilities.

A federal job study estimated 2,014 direct and indirect jobs will be created as a result of developing the Aemetis biofuels plant.

“This project, from staff’s perspective, has significant potential to create an industrial job center for not only Riverbank, but the whole region,” said Sean Scully, city manager, during the city council meeting Dec. 14 at which the agreement was unanimously approved.

In mid-2018 after a competitive review process, the city of Riverbank selected Aemetis as the master developer and acquirer of the Riverbank Industrial Complex property. The city of Riverbank has managed the complex since the military leased the site to the city for conversion from military to private use.

“I’ve often stated that the city of Riverbank should not be in the business of running the Industrial Complex,” said Richard O’Brien, the mayor of Riverbank. “Finding the right entity to take over that task and come up with a deal that was good for all was at times very painful—and highly rewarding. We are truly grateful to form this partnership. There’s nothing like this effort locally and this project has regional significance.”

The Aemetis agreement to acquire the Riverbank Industrial Complex paves the way for a clean energy economic and environmental renaissance in the California Central Valley.

The Aemetis Carbon Zero facility is designed to support almond and other orchard farmers to dispose of wood waste by converting a portion of the 3 billion pounds of annual orchard wood waste into negative carbon intensity, renewable hydrogen used in sustainable jet and renewable diesel fuel production.

Aemetis has received a grant for $5 million from the California Energy Commission for the engineering and construction of biofuels production facilities at the Riverbank site.

Aemetis recently signed $2.1 billion of sustainable aviation fuel supply agreements with Delta Air Lines to supply 250 million gallons under a 10-year agreement and with American Airlines to supply 280 million gallons, for delivery to the San Francisco Airport. In addition to American, Aemetis has also signed memorandums of understanding for sustainable aviation fuel with seven other oneworld Alliance airlines.

In mid-December, Aemetis announced a $3 billion, 450-million-gallon, 10-year supply agreement with a large travel stop company to supply renewable diesel to California fueling locations.

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