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Iowa finalizes cellulosic partnership with POET

By Staff | Mar 13, 2009

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Iowa has once again shown its leadership in alternative energy, POET CEO Jeff Broin said last week after the Iowa Power Fund Board approved a $14.75 million contract with POET for development of a commercial cellulosic ethanol plant in Emmetsburg.

“Iowa is already the nation’s leading producer of clean, green ethanol, and the action … by the Iowa Power Fund Board demonstrates its commitment to making Iowa the leader in next-generation ethanol as well,” Broin said. “We look forward to continuing this strong partnership that creates good jobs and weans our country off its dependence on foreign sources of oil.”

In 2008, POET and the Iowa Power Fund Board agreed to terms surrounding the project. Last week’s approval finalized those terms.

“This is an important step in advancing Iowa’s strength in the biofuels industry through second-generation biofuels development, while spurring economic development,” said Roya Stanley, director of the Iowa Office of Energy Independence. “This partnership with POET demonstrates our commitment to helping Iowa chart its own course to achieve energy independence.”

Project LIBERTY will add 25 million gallons per year of cellulosic ethanol production capacity to an existing grain-to-ethanol plant in Emmetsburg.

The project is jointly funded by POET, the United States Department of Energy and the state of Iowa and is scheduled to begin production in 2011.

By adding the production of cellulosic ethanol from corn fiber and corn cobs to an existing grain ethanol plant, POET will be able to produce 11 percent more ethanol from a bushel of corn, 27 percent more from an acre of corn, while reducing fossil fuel consumption and water use.

Project LIBERTY represents a more than $200 million capital investment in Emmetsburg and at least 30 additional jobs at the plant. Farmers in the Emmetsburg area will see an increase in revenue from $5.4 million to $10.8 million.

POET anticipates adding cellulosic ethanol production to its six other facilities in the state of Iowa, which would represent an additional capital investment of $2 billion and create 2,700 new jobs.

For the Iowa’s farmers, Broin pointed out, it presents an opportunity for $150 million to $300 million in revenue from an agricultural waste product.

POET will also license the technology to other ethanol producers.

POET recently brought its 20,000 gallon-per-year pilot cellulosic ethanol plant online in Scotland, S.D.

To see a documentary about the Scotland plant, visit www.poet.com/cellulosedocumentary.htm.

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