Construction of the POET-DSM Advanced Biofuel cellulosic ethanol plant at Emmetsburg in northwest Iowa remains on schedule. It will be the first commercial cellulosic bio-ethanol plant in Iowa—making ethanol from corn stover instead of corn grain. The plant is set for startup sometime in the first part of 2014 as workers continue with equipment installation and other activity through the winter.
The plant, dubbed "Project LIBERTY," will produce 20 million gallons of cellulosic biofuel per year – later ramping up to 25 million gallons – from corn cobs, leaves, husks and some of the stalk. Commissioning for select parts of the process is scheduled to begin in January.
"We'll be running each part of the process on its own over the winter to test performance and minimize any issues that might arise at startup," says POET-DSM Board president James Moe. "This is new technology at this scale, and it's going to be exciting to see it in action."
Construction progress to date includes:
Biomass receiving and grinding building is mechanically complete, and biomass processing equipment is nearly ready for commissioning.
Saccharification, fermentation tanks and processing areas are nearing mechanical completion and commissioning.
Other processing areas are nearing mechanical completion as construction continues.
Cooling tower construction is complete.
Underground utilities and electrical power infrastructure are mechanically complete.
Farmers primarily in a 40-mile radius to the plant harvested approximately 100,000 tons of biomass this fall to be used to start the plant and operate it through next fall. Farmers are already signing contracts for the 2014 harvest. POET-DSM continues to hire positions for Project LIBERTY. For more information, click here.
Additionally, POET-DSM is in talks with other ethanol producers about expanding this technology to more plants around the U.S. in the future. The most recent construction photos are available for publication at POET-DSM's Flickr site.
About POET-DSM Advanced Biofuels, LLC: POET-DSM Advanced Biofuels, LLC, is a 50/50 joint venture between Royal DSM and POET, LLC. Based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, the company is a cooperative effort of two innovators that provides a key to unlocking the opportunity of converting corn crop residue into cellulosic bio-ethanol. Built on the strengths of both companies, the joint venture has a critical mission: to make cellulosic bio-ethanol competitive with corn bio-ethanol, the most competitive renewable liquid transportation fuel on the US market today. Drawing on the deep expertise and experience of POET and DSM in different areas of converting cellulosic biomass into bio-ethanol, POET - DSM Advanced Biofuels will have its first commercial-scale plant co-located with POET Biorefining -- Emmetsburg in Emmetsburg, Iowa.
Based on this plant, the joint venture plans to globally license an integrated technology package for the conversion of corn crop residue to cellulosic bio-ethanol. More information is available at the POET-DSM website.