POET Receives Additional $76 Million
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – POET, the largest producer of ethanol in the world, today announced that it will receive $76.3 million from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to commercialize cellulosic ethanol production technology. A renewable, home-grown energy alternative, cellulosic ethanol produced from plants materials such as corn cobs and switchgrass has the potential to cut life cycle greenhouse gas emissions by up to 86 percent relative to gasoline.
In February 2007, POET was selected by the DOE for a total award of up to $80 million in federal funding for the construction of a commercial cellulosic ethanol production facility. The first phase of the agreement was signed in October 2007 and provided POET with an initial $3.7 million for preliminary design, engineering and feedstock collection. The agreement announced today provides the remaining $76.3 million for final design, construction, start-up and continuous operation of Project LIBERTY.
“Our company is honored to work with DOE on a project of such importance to our country,” said Jeff Broin, CEO of POET. “It is universally accepted that we can’t continue to spend hundreds of billions of dollars annually on imported oil. With more than a billion tons of available biomass in the U.S. and continued increases in crop yields, we can sustainably produce enough ethanol to displace almost all of the gasoline consumed in this country.
“Grain based ethanol has been and will continue to be an important part of our country’s energy supply,” Broin continued. “By pairing the production of cellulosic ethanol with our existing infrastructure of corn-based ethanol, we will continue to improve corn ethanol and accelerate the commercialization of cellulosic ethanol.”
Project LIBERTY, the transformation of a 50 MGPY grain-to-ethanol plant in Emmetsburg, Iowa into an integrated corn-to-ethanol and cellulose-to-ethanol biorefinery, is jointly funded by POET and the DOE. Once complete, the facility will produce 125 MGPY, of which 25 million gallons will be from corn fiber and corn cobs. By adding cellulosic production to an existing grain ethanol plant, POET will be able to produce 11 percent more ethanol from a bushel of corn and 27 percent more from an acre of corn while reducing fossil fuel consumption and water use. Construction is projected to begin in 2009 and production of cellulosic ethanol could come as early as 2011.