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Project LIBERTY construction on target for 2014 startup

By Staff | Jun 20, 2013

FERMENTATION AND SACCHARIFICATION tanks arise from the former row-crop ground on the east edge of Emmetsburg. POET-DSM’s cellulosic ethanol facility, Project LIBERTY, is scheduled to go into opertion in early 2014.

EMMETSBURG – Construction of POET-DSM Advanced Biofuels’ first commercial cellulosic bio-ethanol plant is on schedule to start up in early 2014, company executives said at the Fuel Ethanol Workshop on June 11 in St. Louis, Mo.

Project LIBERTY will use bales of corn cobs, leaves, husks and some stalk to produce 20 million gallons of cellulosic bio-ethanol annually, later ramping up to 25 million gallons.

The plant is under construction in Emmetsburg. Wade Robey, POET-DSM board member, and Steve Hartig, general managerof licensing for POET-DSM, outlined progress during the June 11 panel discussions at FEW.

To date, the biomass receiving and grinding building, which will process an average of 770 tons of biomass per day of operation, is nearly complete and workers are finishing concrete work inside.

Fermentation and saccharification tank foundations are complete and the tanks continue to be erected. Additional completed work to date includes the facility’s warehouse building, scale and the 22-acre biomass stackyard.

The next steps in construction include the continued erection of tanks, concrete, plumbing, and underground electrical as well as installation of equipment.

“Despite the wet spring, we have been able to continue to stay on schedule with construction,” Robey said. “It’s been exciting to see the tanks and buildings rise as the external structure of the plant takes shape.

“Equipment is coming in, and we’re now able to start getting into the process side of things.”

“With Project LIBERTY well on its way to full operation, POET-DSM is now reaching out to other grain ethanol producers to start laying the groundwork for future commercial cellulosic ethanol sites,” Hartig said. “This technology is going to add a new dimension to what producers are doing today.”

Farmers in the area are still signing up to deliver an expected 120,000 tons of biomass bales to the Project LIBERTY stackyard this fall.

While previous harvests have primarily been used to streamline the collection and handling process at the site, biomass collected this year will be used by Project LIBERTY to produce commercial cellulosic ethanol.

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