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Emmetsburg finishes 61,000-ton biomass harvest

By Staff | Dec 2, 2011

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (POET) – As part of the 2011 harvest, farmers around Emmetsburg, have baled approximately 61,000 bone-dry tons of corn crop residue.

The bales of corn cobs and light stover will be delivered to a biomass storage site in Emmetsburg, where POET’s commercial cellulosic ethanol biorefinery will be completed in 2013.

The harvest number represents 15 new contracts and an additional 5,000 tons above last year’s total as POET moves toward a target of 285,000 tons of biomass per year for Project LIBERTY.

Project LIBERTY is POET’s 25 million-gallon-per-year cellulosic ethanol plant scheduled to come online in 2013.

Early site work, including grading and construction of a second weigh station, is underway with heavy construction scheduled for 2012.

“Biomass harvesting is moving along as planned, and I’m confident we’ll have a large and consistent supply of corn cobs and light stover once Project LIBERTY is running,” POET founder and CEO Jeff Broin said. “Both the farmers and POET Biomass personnel have learned a lot in the last few years about best practices in biomass harvesting, and that experience will pay dividends.”

Farmers are waiting for word on the status of the Biomass Crop Assistance Program in the 2012 federal budget before delivering the bales to POET’s 22-acre stackyard.

The program is an incentive that helped many of the farmers start harvesting cellulosic feedstock last year.

The goal of these early harvests is to streamline the process for harvest, storage and delivery of biomass to Project LIBERTY. Approximately 300-400 bales will be part of ongoing biomass storage research, and up to 1,500 bales could be used for additional research.

Some of the biomass will go to POET’s pilot cellulosic ethanol plant in Scotland, S.D., and some will go to other uses.

“Research is paramount to what we’re doing in Emmetsburg,” Project LIBERTY Director Jim Sturdevant said. “Not only do we have to keep a consistent flow of biomass to the facility, we need to ensure that farmers know how to harvest in a manner that maintains soil health.”

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