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Moving From Fossil Fuels To Bio Fuels

By Staff | Jun 12, 2012

BIOFUELS MOVING FORWARD - Jeff Broin, left, Founder and Cheif Executive Officer of POET Biorefining explains the corn stover stackyard operation for Project Libery to Fieke Sijbesman, CEO/Chairman Royal DSM of the Netherlands, right, during a visit to Emmetsburg on Friday. The two partners in Project Liberty are excited that construction is now underway after years of research and study to start the next chapter in reducing the world’s dependence on fossil fuels through the development of cellulosic ethanol. -- Dan Voigt photo

“It has moved way too slowly to now, but now we are moving forward from a fossil fuel society to a bio fuel age.”

Feike Sijbesma, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Managing Board of Royal DSM was direct and to the point during his visit to Emmetsburg on Friday, June 8.

Sijbesma was joined in his visit by POET?Biorefining President and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Lautt and POET?Founder Jeff Broin in a visit to the site where the worlds’ first commercial scale cellulosic ethanol production facility is being constructed. The joint partnership of POET?and DSM was announced in January of this year to bring Project Liberty to the start of actual construction.

Making his first trip to Emmetsburg to see where his firm’s technology will be partnered with POET’s production expertise, Sijbesma was prophetic in his assessment of the world’s need for new forms of fuel.

“For over 150 years, our society has taken fuels from the ground, the oil, the coal, and we are running out,”?Sijbesma explained. “We have reached a tipping point where our societies must look to new fuels for the next 150 years, which is what our enzyme technology will bring to POET for the creation of the cellulosic ethanol product.”

Through the joint partnership of POET?and Royal DSM, the production of cellulosic ethanol from corn cobs and light stover will create 20 million gallons of the biofuel in its first year of operation, and up to 25 million gallons per year in succeeding years.

Royal DSM?will provide the enzyme technology to assist in the conversion of the cellulosic material of the corn cobs and stover into the ethanol for POET.

With the breaking of ground for construction of Project Liberty, Sijbesma and Lautt are both excited to actually see dirt moving for the project, which many had discounted for a lack of movement in recent years.

“I am like you folks, I?think this has taken too long,”?Sijbesma said of the actual start of construction. “We are no longer just talking about it. Now building is underway and we are getting closer to creating a new fuel source that our society needs.”

As part of Sijbesma’s visit to Emmetsburg, he was taken on a tour of the POET facility prior to his visit to the Project Liberty stackyard, where area producer-partners have brought their corn stover for the past two years to allow for testing and refinements of the stover harvesting and storage component of Project Liberty.

POET?officials also announced plans to increase the tonnage of corn stover to be harvested and delivered to the Project Liberty stackyard in the 2012 harvest. For the 2012 harvest, POET is planning on an increase of 24,000 tons of corn stover, up to 85,000 tons, to be harvested and delivered for Project Liberty.

“You can’t make cellulosic ethanol without cellulose and it’s exciting to see work with farmers continue to move forward,”?noted Jeff Lautt. “With Project Liberty under construction, we’re glad to be able to offer the opportunity for more farmers to collect stover and increase their revenue per acre.”

Sijbesma was upbeat about the POET announcement as well. “This is a joint venture of two innovative leaders with one shared vision. It is a very important step for both companies to establish a leading position in cellulosic bio-ethanol. We are confident that we will succeed in this highly attractive market opportunity where DSM’s Life Sciences and Material Sciences and POET’s refining and marketing expertise will come together.”

Part of the increased stover harvest calls for an option for producers where POET-DSM will arrange for custom harvest and transport of the biomass product.

“We have taken from under the land for so many years, and now our farmers will be able to take what is left over off the land and make something valuable and friendly to our society,” Sijbesma said. “This is truly an environmentally friendly way to meet our fuel needs into the future.”