Nonfood Crops to Be Used at New Ethanol Site
by Leslie Brooks Suzukamo (TwinCities.com/Pioneer Press) Cellulosic ethanol – ethanol made from nonfood crops – has been an alluring but elusive promise. That promise might finally be taking solid form.
Today, ethanol powerhouse Poet will officially break ground on a $250 million commercial cellulosic plant in Emmetsburg, Iowa, next door to Poet’s corn ethanol plant.
The plant, dubbed “Project Liberty,” expects to be among the first of about a half-dozen commercial cellulosic ethanol plants that start operations over the next 18 to 24 months.
…Sioux Falls, S.D.-based Poet, one of the world’s largest ethanol producers, with plants throughout the Corn Belt – including Minnesota – has partnered with Royal DSM, a Dutch biotech company, to build the 20 million gallon-a-year plant.
Project Liberty is expected to consume 770 tons of corn cobs, leaves, husks and other crop residue from area farms. It will produce between $15 million and $20 million a year in revenue for farmers, according to Poet.
The plant is being built with the help of an $80 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy and grants of $20 million from the state of Iowa, Poet said.
…But the industry must still overcome some barriers. The country has just about reached its saturation point for a mandated 10-percent blend of ethanol in gasoline, leaving little room for new ethanol. READ MORE