At the American Coalition for Ethanol conference, Poet announced that construction will be completed on a US $4 million pilot-scale cellulosic ethanol production facility later this year. The pilot plant will be adjacent to Poet’s corn ethanol pilot facility and a nine million gallon per year (MGPY) ethanol production facility in Scotland, South Dakota.
Poet said that this plant will allow the company to build upon recent technology advances before starting construction on Project LIBERTY, its commercial cellulosic production facility, next year. Project LIBERTY is expected to start construction in 2009 and be operational in late 2011.
“Our expanded research effort has led to several significant strides in the development of cellulosic ethanol technology at the lab scale in recent months,” said Jeff Broin, CEO of Poet. “Construction of this pilot facility will allow our company to take the next step toward the commercialization of cellulosic ethanol.”
Project LIBERTY, the transformation of a 50 MGPY grain-to-ethanol plant in Emmetsburg, Iowa into an integrated corn-to-ethanol and cellulose-to-ethanol biorefinery, is jointly funded by Poet and the United States Department of Energy (DOE). Once complete, the facility will produce 125 MGPY, of which 25 million gallons will be from corn fiber and corn cobs.