POET Partners With DSM Advanced Biofuels; Breaks Ground On Commercial-Scale Cellulosic Ethanol Plant

Date posted - March 13, 2012

The company that owns the Ashton ethanol plant is coming closer to making ethanol out of corn cobs and other corn residue on a commercial scale.

POET has teamed up with DSM Advanced Biofuels, and the partners celebrated the start of full-scale construction on Project LIBERTY with a formal groundbreaking ceremony in Emmetsburg on Tuesday.

Representatives from POET-DSM Advanced Biofuels as well as government leaders including Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad met this morning to announce the groundbreaking. A formal ceremony took place later at the site, which is adjacent to POET Biorefining – Emmetsburg.

Project LIBERTY is a planned commercial cellulosic ethanol plant that will use corn cobs, leaves, husk and some stalk to produce ethanol. A 22-acre stackyard is completed, and the company has done preliminary site work in advance of the formal start of full construction.

POET President Jeff Lautt says that the groundbreaking marked a significant milestone in the company’s quest to be one of the first to commercialize cellulosic ethanol. It’s the next step in an effort that has spanned more than a decade.


He says partnering with DSM Advanced Biofuels has been a good move for them.


The price, estimated now at $3 per gallon should be competitive with corn-based ethanol, according to Lautt.

Poet officials plan to eventually license and sell the technology to other ethanol producers.

The Emmetsburg project is estimated to cost $250 million. They hope the plant will be complete and producing ethanol by the end of 2013.

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