Project Liberty start-up on target

Project Liberty start-up on target

- Project Liberty expected to produce 20m gal. of cellulosic ethanol.

- Biomass receiving and grinding building nearly completed.

- Warehouse, scale and biomass stackyard ready.

By ANDY VANCE

CONSTRUCTION of POET-DSM Advanced Biofuels' first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant is on schedule to start production in early 2014, according to executives speaking at the Fuel Ethanol Workshop last week in St. Louis, Mo.

Project Liberty will process bales of corn cobs, leaves, husks and some stalk material and is expected to produce 20 million gal. of cellulosic ethanol annually, with a potential to produce 25 million gal. Located near Emmetsburg, Iowa, the facility is slated to process an average of 770 tons of biomass per day when fully operational.

According to the company, the biomass receiving and grinding building is nearly completed. The foundations for the fermentation and saccharification tanks are also done, and installation of the tanks themselves was underway as of June 11.

The next steps to completion of the project include installing additional concrete, plumbing, underground electrical lines and the actual processing equipment. Construction of the plant's warehouse, scale and 22-acre biomass stackyard is already completed.

"Despite the wet spring, we have been able to stay on schedule with construction," Wade Robey, POET-DSM board member, said. "It's been exciting to see the tanks and buildings rise as the external structure of the plant takes shape. Equipment is coming in, and now, we're able to start getting into the process side of things."

POET-DSM's general manager for licensing said the company is now reaching out to other grain-based ethanol producers to begin laying groundwork for future commercial cellulosic ethanol sites.

Farmers in the Emmetsburg area, meanwhile, are signing up to deliver an expected 120,000 tons of biomass bales to the stackyard this fall.

Volume:85 Issue:24

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