Fulcrum BioEnergy files for an IPO to raise up to $115M

Biofuel companies continue to look to the public markets. On Friday, trash-to-fuel company Fulcrum BioEnergy filed for an IPO that could raise up to $115 million. The Pleasanton, Calif.-based company turns garbage into ethanol using a gasification process that bakes shredded pieces of trash at high temperatures to produce synthesis gas, then purifies the gas and converts it into ethanol.

The company, which plans to list under the symbol FLCM, is aiming to start construction of its first commercial-scale ethanol plant, called Sierra BioFuel, just outside of Reno, Nev. by the end of 2011. Fulcrum plans to start producing 10 million gallons of ethanol per year there by the second half of 2013. Fulcrum says the design of the plant will be modular, and scalable for its future facilities.

However, founded in 2007, the company has generated no revenues to date and lost $18.22 million in 2010, and $14.11 million for the first six months of 2011. Also to note, the company has been very bullish on its plant predictions, and even back in the summer of 2008, Fulcrum was predicting that it would start building the Sierra BioFuels plant that same year.

The plant is expected to cost $120 million to build — yes, close to the maximum offering price. Fulcrum had also been betting on receiving a Department of Energy loan guarantee, but that hasn’t closed yet. The company is backed by USRG Management Company and Rustic Canyon Partners.

Fulcrum actually licenses its gasification technology from InEnTech, and uses a catalyst that was jointly developed by Nipawin Biomass Ethanol New Generation Co-operative and Saskatchewan Research Council in Canada. Fulcrum says it has signed a 15-year agreement with Waste Management (s wm) of Nevada to buy municipal trash for its first plant.