A cellulosic ethanol demonstration plant opened Monday in Butte, Montana – reportedly the first such plant to integrate the use of both cellulose and starch based feedstocks.
California-based AE Biofuels celebrated the opening of its plant with various government representatives, including both U.S. senators and Governor Brian Schweitzer, who commented that he was proud “AE Biofuels’ groundbreaking technology was developed here in Montana.”
According to the company, the plant uses “proven, patent-pending Ambient Temperature Enzymes for converting cellulose and starch to fermentable sugars to optimize process conditions for multiple feedstocks. Non-food ethanol feedstocks used at the facility include switch grass, grass seed straw, small grain straw, sugarcane bagasse, and corn stalks either alone or in combination with a variety of traditional starch and sugar sources such as corn, wheat, barley, and sugarcane.”
The $1.5 million, 9000 square foot plant was privately funded. AE Biofuels officials say they plan to build a full-scale, $100 million production plant in the United States as early as next year.