WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Energy is making a $105 million loan guarantee to support the development of the nation’s first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant.
Project LIBERTY, sponsored by POET, LLC, will produce up to 25 million gallons of ethanol per year and will be located in Emmetsburg, Iowa.
POET estimates the project will generate approximately 200 jobs during construction and 40 permanent jobs at the plant. POET estimates the project will also bring approximately $14 million in new revenue to area farmers.
“This is all about decreasing American’s dependence on oil from unstable and often hostile foreign sources,” said Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, a senior member and former chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee.
“And this pioneering facility will kick-start a major domestic industry producing advanced biofuels from plentiful feedstocks like crop residues, native grasses and woody materials, creating thousands of jobs in rural America.”
Unlike conventional corn ethanol plants, Project LIBERTY will use corncobs, leaves and husks provided by local farmers that do not compete with feed grains.
To power ethanol plant
The project’s innovative process uses enzymatic hydrolysis to convert waste into ethanol and will produce enough biogas to power both Project LIBERTY and POET’s adjacent grain-based ethanol plant.
The company estimates Project LIBERTY will displace over 13.5 million gallons of gasoline annually and fulfill more than 25 percent of the projected 2013 Renewable Fuel Standard Requirement for biomass-based cellulosic ethanol.
POET plans to replicate their unique process at 27 of their other corn ethanol facilities, which would have a projected combined annual capacity of 1 billion gallons per year of cellulosic ethanol.
The company estimates that 85 percent of Project LIBERTY will be sourced with U.S. content.