An area best known for its natural gas fields will become home to the first commercial biomass ethanol plant in the U.S.
This story in the High Plains Journal says Abengoa Energy will build the plant in Hugoton, Southwest Kansas:
The new plant should be completed in 2010 and is funded in part by the U.S. Department of Energy. Abengoa Bioenergy New Technologies is constructing the facility that is designed to produce approximately 13 million gallons of ethanol annually from a daily input of 930 tons of cellulosic crop residue. The company anticipates using stock such as switch grass, corn stover, grain sorghum and wheat straw from mainly a 50-mile radius of Hugoton. The facility will also produce 88 million gallons of ethanol using traditional grain processing.
The company says it needs only about 4-7 percent of the biomass available within a 50-mile radius of the production plant to satisfy the new plant’s 930 tons per day appetite. The biomass will be the leftover residue that most farmers would get rid of… but still enough residue to help the area’s soil.
Today’s announcement was welcomed by state and federal elected officials:
The announcement of the new plant was attended by Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius. “Twenty to 25 years from today you are going to look back to today as a historic day,” she said.
U.S. Congressman Jerry Moran, also told the group he sees energy independence as key in fighting terrorism. When the United States reaches a point of being dependent on the middle East for energy production, we will all live in a safer place, he said.