South Dakota, United States [RenewableEnergyWorld.com] Poet announced that the Iowa Power Fund has comitted US $14 million to Poet’s commercial cellulosic ethanol project, Project Liberty. The project involves the transformation of a 50 million-gallon-per-year (MGPY) grain-to-ethanol plant in Emmetsburg, Iowa into an integrated corn-to-ethanol and cellulose-to-ethanol biorefinery and is jointly funded by Poet and the U.S. 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. By adding cellulosic production to an existing grain ethanol plant, Poet will be able to produce 11 percent more ethanol from a bushel of corn, 27 percent more per acre of corn, while reducing fossil fuel consumption and water use.
Poet plans to add cellulosic ethanol production to its six other facilities in the state of Iowa, and potentially license the technology to all biorefineries in Iowa. This could represent an additional capital investment of US $2 billion and create 2,700 new jobs across the state. For the farmers of Iowa, it presents an opportunity for US $150-300 million in annual revenue from what is currently an agricultural waste product.
“For years, Iowa has been a leader in renewable fuels innovation, and with today’s award, we will continue to lead the way,” said Iowa Lieutenant Governor Patty Judge. “The new Poet facility in Emmetsburg will be one of the first in the nation to produce cellulosic ethanol. This represents the next generation in biofuels, and another step towards energy independence.”