“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of dreams. And this has been a dream for many, many years,” began Iowa Governor Chet Culver during his presentation to kick off the largest global biomass harvesting pilot project in Emmetsburg, Iowa.
Project Liberty, the dream of Jeff Broin, CEO of POET and his company, is less than two years away from becoming the first commercial scale cellulosic ethanol plant using corn stover and corn cobs. This fall, nearly 85 local farmers will be harvesting and storing nearly 60,000 tons of biomass in an effort to refine the harvesting, storage and logistics for converting biomass into ethanol.
Culver noted that many people didn’t believe that this project could happen, but he has been a supporter since he took office in 2007. Now, he is proud to show the world that no where else is this type of project happening so quickly.
“I would like to thank farmers for embracing this opportunity for our country and embracing this opportunity for our state,” said Culver.
Broin added that to date, area farmers have already received $100,000 in incentive payments to establish the new harvest system on their farm. Part of the goal of this pilot project is to ensure that farmers who harvest biomass are able to do so at a profit as well as in a sustainable way. The optimal biomass harvest of any acre of land will vary between 0-25 percent depending on soil health.
I was on hand today along with several hundred local farmers and members of the community as POET unveiled the details of their biomass harvest program. Part of this program will be the completion of a new biomass storage facility in time for the harvest. The 22-acre site will have the capacity to house 23,000 tons of biomass bales at any given time.
Broin concluded, “As biomass harvesting for cellulosic ethanol grows, America’s reliance on foreign oil will wane and be replaced by a new reliance, this time on rural communities with our own borders. The American farmer will provide food, feed and fuel for the country at an unheard of rate.”
You can see pictures from the event today by clicking here.