Poet CEO: 3.5B Gal. of Cellulosic Ethanol To Be Produced in 2022

Poet this week laid out plans to have a hand in producing 3.5 billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol per year by 2022, Poet CEO Jeff Broin said earlier this week at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The company has made enough progress on technology and feedstock development to break ground on its first plant in Emmetsburg, Iowa later this year, Broin said. He is confident it will be the first of many.

According to Poet’s plans, the 3.5 billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol will come from three primary sources. The first step will be to add 1 billion gallons of production capacity to Poet’s existing network of 26 corn-based ethanol plants.

The second step is to license that technology to other corn-based ethanol producers will lead to another 1.4 billion gallons of production capacity. Finally, another 1.1 billion gallons of production capacity will come from a wide variety of other feedstocks from across the U.S. These gallons will be produced by Poet or through joint ventures and opportunities where Poet Biomass provides logistics support to other producers.

“By 2022, Poet plans to be responsible for 3.5 billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol production by adding the technology to our existing facilities, licensing our technology to other producers and finally, transferring our technology to other forms of biomass such as wheat straw, switchgrass and municipal waste,” Broin said.

That volume would represent over 20 percent of the cellulosic ethanol mandated in the Renewable Fuel Standard. Poet submitted its application for a loan guarantee with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and looks forward to prompt approval so the company can stay on schedule, Broin said.

“We filed an application with the DOE this morning and need to have a favorable ruling from them this calendar year,” Broin said. “If we get that favorable ruling, we told the DOE that we will start construction by the end of this year, which puts us on track to start up the facility in early 2012.”

Project Liberty is a 25 million gallon-per-year cellulosic ethanol plant in Emmetsburg, Iowa that uses corn cobs as feedstock. Poet plans to begin construction this year on the plant, which will be co-located with Poet’s current grain-ethanol plant at the site. Poet’s pilot-scale plant in Scotland, South Dakota is already producing cellulosic ethanol at a rate of approximately 20,000 gallons per year.

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