A cellulosic ethanol demonstration plant broke ground Friday in Jennings, Louisiana – the first of its kind in the United States.
Massachusettes-based Celunol Corporation also celebrated the grand opening of the nation’s first cellulosic ethanol pilot facility. Celunol officials were joined in the celebrations by dignitaries from federal, state and local government, including Louisiana Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco.
“These two milestones mark a significant step forward for Louisiana and our nation,” said Governor Blanco in a news release. “Cellulosic ethanol represents a new way to pursue the goals of increased energy security and economic development for our rural economy, while protecting the quality of our environment. We congratulate Celunol and its partners on these milestones, and look forward to the growth of this promising new industry here in Louisiana.”
Renewable Fuels Association president Bob Dinneen also congratulated the company on the accomplishment.
“To achieve the goals for renewable fuel use put forth by President Bush and Members of Congress, it will take the commercialization of cellulosic ethanol technology,” said Dinneen. “That commercialization took a big step forward today.”
When completed, the combined facilities will have the capacity to produce nearly 1.5 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol a year.
With a nominal production of 50,000 gallons per year, the pilot facility will further refine technology to convert biomass such as sugarcane bagasse, wood chips and other abundant biomass sources into ethanol. The demonstration facility will use locally-grown energy cane and sugarcane bagasse in ethanol production.