The Valley of Fog: As Sundrop moves on from Louisiana, what’s up and what’s wrong with Loan Guarantee programs?

In Louisiana, reports surfaced in Alexandria’s TownTalk online paper that Sundrop Fuels has struck an agreement to sell the 1200-acre site where it once planned to build its $450 million, 50 million gallon capacity first commercial plant to produce green gasoline from woody biomass.

The company selected the site, the former location of the Cowboy Town entertainment complex, in November 2011 and completed the purchase in January 2012.

The CEO of Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance, Jim Clinton, told TownTalk that “The company tried extremely hard to make this work. Sundrop management did everything within their power. By the time they got to the point where they could build the plant, the economics had changed and the politics had changed.”

Sundrop has now confirmed that “It has become clear given the new politics in Washington that our application through the DOE Loan Guarantee program is not going to progress further.  As such we are not going to be able to finance and build the facility in Louisiana so there is no point in tying up money there.”

So, an unfortunate step backwards for the manufacturing sector — and an interesting proof point that the DOE Loan Guarantee program success is closely tied to the revival of domestic manufacturing. We hope a temporary one — Sundrop’s technology and team march on, with we hope another project emerging soon. Perhaps offshore, perhaps one with financing not tied back to Washington’s shifting sands. Asia has long been in the long-term focus of the company.

Note: SynSel's Funding is not dependent on the US-DOE Loan Program or any other government funding source.