Emmetsburg, IA: (Sep 04) – The first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant in the United States opened for business at the site near Emmetsburg on Wednesday.
Project Liberty, a joint venture of U.S. ethanol maker POET and The Netherland’s Royal DSM, was formally opened in the presence of a host of dignitaries, including U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack, who pronounced it “a great day for Emmetsburg.”
The new plant will use 1.5 million pounds of corn stover and husks each day to produce 20 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol in its first year of operation. Iowa Governor Terry Branstad said farmers will benefit from the new technology by being able to sell corn stover from their fields.
POET Founder & Executive Chairman Jeff Broin said the plant has developed a great relationship with area farmers and that the plant should have enough stover lined up to meet its needs. The plant will consume 285,000 tons of biomass annually from a 45-mile radius of the plant.
The new facility will add fifty jobs to the local economy.
Royal DSM CEO Feike Sijbesma said the opening of the cellulosic ethanol plant represents a major step away from the age of fossil fuels.