Monday, February 4, 2013

Iowa Cellulosic Ethanol Plant Moves Ahead

Construction continues on the cellulosic ethanol plant being built by South Dakota-based POET near Emmetsburg, Iowa. The company reportedly has been holding meetings with area farmers to sign contracts for delivery of corn stover and other corn waste to be used as the primary feedstock for the facility, known as project Liberty.

POET announced last month that it has formed a partnership with Dutch conglomerate Royal DSM to commercially demonstrate and license cellulosic bio-ethanol based on their proprietary and complementary technologies. POET-DSM Advanced Biofuels, LLC, is scheduled to start production in the second half of 2013 at the Emmetsburg site, one of the first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plants in the United States. The initial capacity is expected to be 20 million gallons in the first year, growing to approximately 25 million gallons per year.

POET-DSM will produce cellulosic ethanol from corn crop residue through a biological process using enzymatic hydrolysis followed by fermentation.  The two partners plan to replicate and license the technology to additional plants to be built at the other 26 corn ethanol facilities in POET’s network and license it to other producers in the United States and the rest of the world. DSM and POET will each hold a 50% share in the joint venture, which will be headquartered in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The initial capital expenditure by the joint venture in project Liberty will amount to about $250 million. The closing of the joint venture is subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last week announced that it has set the 2013 Renewable Fuel Standard percentage for cellulosic ethanol at .008 percent which translates to a volume target of 14 million gallons. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) established the RFS2 program and the annual renewable fuel volume targets, which steadily increase to an overall level of 36 billion gallons in 2022. To achieve these volumes, EPA calculates a percentage-based standard for the following year. Based on the standard, each refiner and importer determines the minimum volume of renewable fuel that it must ensure is used in its transportation fuel.

Source: POET 

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