Cellulosic bio-ethanol is poised to see large scale production for the first time next year. Poet-DSM Advanced Biofuels, LLC, is ready to start construction of a plant in early 2014 that will produce 20 million gallons of cellulosic bio-ethanol annually, later ramping up to 25 million gallons. That's a lot, but to compare, the US uses 8.7 million barrels of gasoline per day (2011 average), not counting diesel fuel, and the US makes an average 832,000 barrels of corn-based ethanol each day.
Poet-DSM's Project Liberty will make the bio-ethanol from corn cobs, leaves, husks and stalk. The plant is being built in Emmetsburg, IA, by the two companies who formed the Poet-DSM 50/50 joint venture – major ethanol producer Poet, LLC, and global science-based company Royal DSM. Some of the plant already has been built on the facility; a biomass receiving and grinding building, which can process about 770 tons of biomass per day, is nearly complete and other sections are in the works. The next steps include continued erection of tanks, concrete, plumbing, underground electrical and installation of equipment. Once it's all functioning this fall, farmers in the area will be delivering an expected 120,000 tons of biomass bales to Project Liberty. More details on the construction project are available below.
In 2011, Poet announced it would start producing up to 25 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol a year at its site in Iowa by 2013, so it's all taking a bit longer than expected. The next question will be: Can Poet sell 25 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol a year? We suspect it can, but perhaps not as E15.
ST. LOUIS, MO. (June 11, 2013) – Construction of POET-DSM Advanced Biofuels' first commercial cellulosic bio-ethanol plant is on schedule to start up in early 2014, POET-DSM executives said at the Fuel Ethanol Workshop today in St. Louis, Mo.
POET-DSM's 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, Iowa. Wade Robey, POET-DSM board member, and Steve Hartig, General Manager, Licensing for POET-DSM, outlined progress in panel discussions today 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.
The most recent construction photos are available for publication at POET-DSM's Flickr site: http://www.flickr.com/photos/94159374@N03/sets/72157633976383646/.
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 JV plans to globally license an integrated technology package for the conversion of corn crop residue to cellulosic bio-ethanol. More information: www.poetdsm.com