The first cob collection of 2009 is complete as Poet continues to work with agricultural equipment manufacturers and farmers to find the most efficient and affordable means for harvesting cellulosic feedstock. Equipment for harvesting corncobs was tested in fields near Harlingen, Texas from July 6 to July 22. The trials were a precursor to larger harvesting efforts this fall. In all, the effort will see as many as 25,000 acres harvested in Texas, South Dakota and Iowa.
Corncobs are already used by Poet at its pilot cellulosic plant in Scotland, S.D. and will be used at the company's first commercial cellulosic ethanol plant, known as Project Liberty, at Emmetsburg, Iowa in 2011. Project Liberty is the plant at that northwest Iowa location which is in the process of being built for production of cellulosic ethanol from cobs. It will produce 25 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol per year.
Next door is Poet's existing "corn grain ethanol" plant, a 50-million-gallon-per- year facility which the company will remodel and update to produce 100 million gallons per year. Thus, from both sources - cellulosic ethanol at 25 million gallons per year and corn grain ethanol at 100 million gallons per year - Poet's Emmetsburg location will produce a total of 125 million gallons of ethanol per year.
Texas harvest kicks off Poet research for 2009
"Agriculture equipment manufacturers are putting the final touches on a variety of harvesters that will be on the market soon," says Scott Weishaar, Poet's vice president of Commercial Development. "Farmers will have a lot of ways to take advantage of corncobs as a new revenue stream." Poet will continue work with 15 to 20 farmers in the Emmetsburg area in further tests this fall and will purchase cobs for use in Project Liberty. "Farmers will play a big role in our nation's energy future," Weishaar says. "Their support has been instrumental in the success of grain-based ethanol and will continue to be crucial in commercializing cellulosic ethanol."
To see a documentary about Poet's pilot cellulosic ethanol plant visit www.poet.com/cellulosedocumentary.htm. Media outlets are welcome to link to the documentary in online coverage. For more information about Project Liberty, visit www.projectliberty.com.
Poet, the largest ethanol producer in the world, is a leader in biorefining through its efficient, vertically integrated approach to production. The 20-year-old company produces more than 1.54 billion gallons of ethanol annually from 26 production facilities nationwide. Poet recently started up a pilot-scale cellulosic ethanol plant, which uses corncobs as feedstock, and will commercialize the process in 2011. For more information, visit www.poet.com.