First Commercial Cellulosic Ethanol Plant Opens In Iowa

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On September 3, in Emmetsburg in northwest Iowa, energy company POET-DSM's Project Liberty plant flipped the switch, and became the first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol facility in the country.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack was on hand at the opening ceremony this morning, and said the groundbreaking was proof that advanced biofuels have a place in America's energy future.

"It's a great day for Emmetsburg. Emmetsburg has been known as the governor knows full well, as a great community with great progress. But today it changes, today it becomes the capital of the advanced biofuel world. Today, it welcomes the rest of the world to a new energy future."

Vilsack says, "Now, I know there are some skeptics out there who may be asking the question, 'Is cellulosic ethanol for real? Can it be commercially produced?' Well I say come to Emmetsburg."

POET-DSM expects to process 770 tons of corn waste every day at the plant, with annual output at 20 million gallons.

Other notable people at the new plant opening ceremony were: Governor Branstad, Lieutenant-Governor Kim Reynolds, U.S. Representative Steve King, General Wesley Clark, Emmetsburg Mayor Myrna Heddinger, and the King of the Netherlands Willem-Alexander.