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Agricultural News

Governors Coalition Announce Cellulosic Biofuels Industry has Arrived

Wed, 03 Sep 2014 09:57:32 CDT

Governors Coalition Announce Cellulosic Biofuels Industry has Arrived

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, vice chairman of the Governors' Biofuels Coalition, today called on the nation to recognize the accomplishment of the Poet-DSM Advanced Biofuels cellulosic ethanol plant, and other plants that have now come into production, in helping transform the nation's energy future.

That future was envisioned by the governors when they worked with Congress and President George W. Bush to launch an ambitious federal research program to deliver cost-effective advanced biofuels, such as cellulosic ethanol. The Coalition helped persuade Congress to pass the first Renewable Fuels Standard over a decade ago, accelerating the move away from imported oil toward domestically produced biofuels.

"The cellulosic ethanol industry has arrived and is an important avenue for adding value to agricultural products and spurring economic and family income growth in rural America," Governor Branstad said. The Poet-DSM plant will produce as much as 25 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol a year by utilizing corn stover, which offers farmers in the area an additional revenue stream. By removing only 25 percent of the corn stover from the field the soil retains the nutrients needed for sustainable crop production.

"Companies such as Poet and DSM have invested more than $1 billion to build the next generation of ethanol plants that can make biofuels from non-grain feedstocks. In addition, companies like Poet-DSM, Abengoa, DuPont and others have constructed advanced biofuel plants, putting thousands of Americans to work in building these plants," Governor Branstad remarked.

In just ten years, the public-private partnership envisioned by the governors has provided America with a new industry and positioned the nation as the world leader in biofuels technology. These early facilities will refine the technology, producing cellulosic biofuels on a commercial scale, and will serve as a proving ground as the technology spreads throughout the nation.

"Walking through this complex biorefinery today is inspiring. This plant demonstrates the innovative spirit and technological skill needed to meet the nation's energy challenge. It's an important milestone on the nation's road to clean fuels, diversifying our nation's energy portfolio, rural economic growth, giving consumers choices at the fuel pump," Governor Branstad added.

Another plant also using corn stover residue is expected to open late this year at Nevada, in central Iowa. That $225 million DuPont plant will have the capacity to make 30 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol a year.

Other commercial and demonstration scale cellulosic plants that have recently begun production include the Quad County Corn Processors, Galva, Iowa; INEOS Bio, Indian River, Florida; and Abengoa Bioenergy, Hugoton, Kansas.

"Poet-DSM's plant confirms what has been tested and proved in the Illinois-located National Corn-to-Ethanol Research Center. Putting this research into action can lead to the exciting growth of cellulosic plants across the country," said Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, the Governors' Biofuels Coalition chairman. Other states, including Illinois, Florida, Mississippi, Nebraska, and Kansas, will soon have cellulosic plants, and plans are underway for additional plants in more than 20 states.

"Cellulosic ethanol has the ability to address two national issues: our dependence on foreign oil and the viability of our nation's farms. Cellulosic ethanol production can make our agricultural system more resilient and sustainable while reducing our dependence on foreign oil. Experts in Illinois and Iowa are hard at work making that happen, and Poet-DSM is a great step toward achieving that," Governor Quinn added.

The use of cellulosic feedstocks was the major factor in the Coalition's support for the expanded RFS in 2007. As with many new technologies, it has taken longer than expected to develop, but that technology is now on the brink of major national production. As a result, the nation is on the path to its goal of producing cellulosic ethanol for a cost competitive $2.15 a gallon, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Cellulosic ethanol is a nascent industry about to blossom and assume the role that Congress had envisioned in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.



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