DOE Finalizes Cellulosic Ethanol Loan Guarantee

The Department of Energy has finalized a $105 million loan guarantee to support the development of one of the nation’s first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plants.

POETThe loan guarantee and financing allows POET to construct Project LIBERTY, a 25 million-gallon-per-year cellulosic ethanol plant in Emmetsburg, Iowa.

“This project represents a pioneering effort to make broad scale deployment of cellulose ethanol a reality,” said Secretary of Energy Chu making the announcement on Friday. ”Producing the next generation of biofuels can not only reduce America’s oil dependency, it can also create vast new economic opportunities for rural Americans.”

POET estimates the project will fund approximately 200 construction jobs and 40 permanent jobs and generate around $14 million in new revenue to area farmers who will provide the corn crop residue.

The first commercial cellulosic ethanol plants will demonstrate that the 1 billion tons of biomass available in the United States can be a major force in overcoming the country’s reliance on foreign oil, POET CEO Jeff Broin said. “Financing has been a key hurdle to getting the first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant up and running. We’re excited to show the world the tangible results of a decade of work by our researchers and engineers,” said Broin.

Project LIBERTY will be located next to the existing grain ethanol plant, POET Biorefining Emmetsburg, and will share roads, land and other infrastructure. Additionally, the cellulosic plant will produce biogas as a co-product, enough to completely power itself and eliminate the majority of the natural gas required to operate the adjacent grain ethanol plant.

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