Construction is continuing at the site of the first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol facility, on the southeast edge of Emmetsburg. Project Liberty, the joint venture of POET-DSM Advanced Biofuels, announced a major purchase that will play a key role in cellulosic process.
POET-DSM announced on Thursday, Oct. 25, that they have contracted with International Technology Group ANDRITZ, through its U.S. subsidiary ANDRITZ Inc., to supply a two-step biomass treatment process for Project Liberty. The technology will help draw out the available sugar in the collected biomass so it can be converted into ethanol at the Emmetsburg cellulosic facility.
Project Liberty is projected to produce 20 million gallons per year of cellulosic bio-ethanol, increasing production to about 25 million gallons per year. The facility will utilize corn cobs, leaves, husks and some cornstalk residues to produce the biofuel. Construction on the facility is scheduled to be complete in late 2013.
Area producers have been refining their biomass harvest techniques over the past two harvests and this Fall, are increasing the amount of biomass delivered to the site in an effort to fine-tune the Project Liberty storage efforts and familiarize producers to the biomass collection process at Project Liberty's stackyard facility. Officials note the plant will hit its goal of collecting about 85,000 tons of corn cobs and light stover this harvest season, which will prepare the plant for commercial success all while adding a new revenue stream for Emmetsburg-area farmers. The harvest target represents an increase of 24,000 tons over last year's harvest, as POET-DSM moves toward collection of 285,000 tons of biomass per year for Project Liberty when it moves into full scale operations.
The purchase of the ANDRITZ technology comes as workers are currently constructing tank farms at the site, which will handle fermentation and saccharification for Project Liberty. Additional acquisitions of equipment to outfit the facility are ongoing as well, according to POET-DSM officials.
The ANDRITZ technology is a two-stage process that includes a vertical reactor, an interstage washer and a continuous steam explosion technology to draw out available sugars from the cellulose material. The sugars, which are concentrated through Project Liberty's proprietary enzyme and yeast technologies that get converted into ethanol.
"We've been working with ANDRITZ for over four years, collaborating on the development for a treatment process that aligns with our conversion technology development here at POET-DSM, and we selected them to provide that treatment process," said James Moe, POET-DSM board member. "We're happy to have them on-board. To say this has been quite a process is an understatement."
Jay Miele, Vice President and General Manager with ANDRITZ Inc., is also excited about the next phase in the project.
"Our design teams have been working closely together over the past four years to optimize our Advanced Steam-Ex pretreatment technology for Project Liberty," Miele said. "POET-DSM's dedication to becoming a leader in cellulosic bio-ethanol is quite evident to us. We look forward to successfully completing our part of the delivery for Project Liberty, and we are eager to work together on future projects."
POET-DSM officials said the plant will hit its goal of collecting about 85,000 tons of corn cobs and light stover, which will prepare the plant for commercial success all while adding a new revenue stream for Emmetsburg-area farmers. The harvest target represents an increase of 24,000 tons over last year's harvest, as POET-DSM moves toward collection of 285,000 tons of biomass per year for Project Liberty when it begins full scale operations to produce cellulosic ethanol.