POET Closes on DOE Loan for Cellulosic Ethanol Plant

The U.S. Department of Energy gave final approval Friday for a $105 million loan guarantee for the construction of POET’s Project Liberty, a 25 million-gallon-per-year cellulosic ethanol plant in Emmetsburg, Iowa.

POET started construction in 2010 with a 22-acre integrated stackyard to store the biomass delivered by area farmers. Preliminary site work on the biorefinery began this fall. Project Liberty will be located next to the existing grain ethanol plant, POET Biorefining–Emmetsburg, and will share roads, land and other infrastructure. The cellulosic plant will also produce biogas as a co-product, enough to completely power itself and eliminate the majority of the natural gas required to operate the adjacent grain ethanol plant.

According to POET CEO Jeff Broin, the first commercial cellulosic ethanol plants will demonstrate that biomass can be a major force in overcoming the country’s reliance on foreign oil. “Financing has been a key hurdle to getting the first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant up and running,” said Broin.

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