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POET's Emmetsburg cellulosic ethanol project, in review

| February 3, 2011

In Iowa, POET is reporting that farmers are now allowed to deliver bales of biomass to the company’s storage site in Emmetsburg that will supply the company’s future cellulosic ethanol plant. When operational, the facility will accept 300,000 tons of biomass but for now, area farmers harvested 56,000 tons of corn cobs, leaves, husks and some stalk this fall.

Farmers had been waiting to deliver the biomass to POET while guidelines for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) were finalized. Farmers on last week began completing the application process, and they started delivering bales soon after.

More on the story.

Last August, POET commenced construction of a new 22-acre biomass storage facility that will house up to 23,000 tons of biomass bales. The facility will form part of the 25 Mgy Project LIBERTY complex, which is now scheduled to commence construction in early 2012, pending the outcome of a loan guarantee application from the DOE.

“Removing approximately one ton of biomass out of the average 4.26 tons available per acre,” POET said in a release, “will not require any drastic changes in fertilizer management for producers choosing to participate in the program.

Meanwhile, potential suppliers of biomass to the plant have received  $100,000 in incentive payments towards establishment of their own harvesting systems. Farmers associated with the POET project will start the collection of a 56,000 ton harvest of corn cobs and light stover, which will be used as feedstock for the Project LIBERTY facility.

The facility will eventually consume 300,000 tons or more of biomass, which according to POET’s released figures could be sustainably harvested from a 468 square-mile area. By contrast, a 100 Mgy corn ethanol plant can be sustained by a 325 square-mile area using POET’s process.

More on the story.

The POET project, in 2008, received a $20 million grant from the Iowa Power Fund. In today’s Digest, due to an editing error, the grant was reported to have been given in 2011.

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