Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Ethanol giant Poet says plants fed by cellulose from corn will begin production soon

The world's largest ethanol manufacturer announced today that he is building a pilot plant to manufacture ethanol from corn cellulose, with production set to begin next year, and will complete a commercial-scale plant in Emmetsburg, Iowa, by 2011.

Jeff Broin, founder and CEO of Poet, said at the American Coalition for Ethanol conference in Omaha that his firm would begin making cellulosic ethanol at its $4 million pilot plant at Scotland, S.D., by the end of the year. The commercial plant, being retooled form a traditional ethanol distillery, is funded partly by an $80 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.

"Broin says cellulosic ethanol production is no longer a question of 'if,' but 'when'," reports Julie Harker for Brownfield Network. "The main feedstock for the plants will be corncobs and other corn fiber, largely from the hulls of corn kernels, broken down by Poet's patented process, reports Leslie Reed of the Omaha World-Herald.

Dan Looker of Successful Farming quotes Broin: ""In the past few months, our scientists have been able to achieve significant ethanol percentages in fermentation and improve the yield of ethanol from biomass. Additionally, in our work with farmers and agricultural equipment manufacturers, we had a very successful harvest of corn cobs last fall and anticipate further advances during an expanded harvest this fall."

Poet spells its name with all capital letters, but we can't find any evidence that it's an acronym, In fact, Broin explained the change from his family name last year by saying the work his employees do resembles poetry. (Thanks to Chuck Offenburger.) So we will not adopt the company's usage, which might encourage others to engage in such typographic tyranny.

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