Iowa Finalizes Cellulosic Ethanol Partnership with POET

Agreement will lead to 25 million gallons of ethanol produced from corn cobs yearly, beginning in 2011.

Iowa has once again shown its leadership in alternative energy, says Jeff Broin, CEO of POET, the nation's leading ethanol manufacturer. He made the statement February 26 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.

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

The project continues to move forward

In 2008, POET and the Iowa Power Fund Board agreed to terms surrounding the project. The approval last week 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," says 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 - the name given to the northwest Iowa effort that aims to make ethanol from cobs - will add 25 million gallons per year of cellulosic ethanol production capacity to the company's existing grain-to-ethanol plant in Emmetsburg, Iowa. The project is jointly funded by POET, the U.S. Department of Energy and the state of Iowa.

Plant to begin producing cellulosic in 2011

The project is scheduled to begin production of cellulosic ethanol in 2011. By adding the production of cellulosic ethanol from corn fiber and corncobs to an existing grain ethanol plant, POET will be able to produce 11% more ethanol from a bushel of corn, and 27% more from an acre of corn, while reducing fossil fuel consumption and water use.

Broin says 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 of $5.4 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 farmers of Iowa, it presents an opportunity for $150-$300 million in revenue from an agricultural waste product. POET will also license the technology to other ethanol producers.

Firm to build other cellulosic plants, too

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  

POET, the largest ethanol producer in the world according to the Renewable Fuels Association, is an established leader in the biorefining industry through project development, design and construction, research and development, plant management and marketing. The 20-year-old company currently operates 26 production facilities in the U.S. The firm produces and markets more than 1.54 billion gallons of ethanol annually. For information go to For information about Project LIBERTY visit

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