At the 21st annual American Coalition for Ethanol conference on Wednesday, POET CEO Jeff Broin announced that the company will complete construction on a $4 million pilot-scale cellulosic ethanol production facility by the end of this year.
The pilot plant will be adjacent to POET’s corn ethanol pilot facility and a nine million gallon per year ethanol production facility in Scotland, SD and will allow the company to build upon recent technology advances before starting construction on Project LIBERTY, their commercial cellulosic production facility, next year.
“Our expanded research effort has led to several significant strides in the development of cellulosic ethanol technology at the lab scale in recent months,” said Broin. “Construction of this pilot facility will allow our company to take the next step toward the commercialization of cellulosic ethanol.”
Broin says he is more confident about the future of cellulosic ethanol than ever before. “In the past few months, our scientists have been able to achieve significant ethanol percentages in fermentation and improve the yield of ethanol from biomass. Additionally, in our work with farmers and agricultural equipment manufacturers, we had a very successful harvest of corn cobs last fall and anticipate further advances during an expanded harvest this fall.”
During the 2007 harvest, POET worked with major agricultural equipment manufacturers to harvest 4,000 acres of corn grain and cobs from a farmer’s field in Southeastern South Dakota. Cobs from this fall’s harvest and last will serve as the feedstock for the cellulosic pilot plant, along with corn fiber extracted from the adjacent corn ethanol production facility with POET’s proprietary fractionation process, BFRAC™.
Listen to an interview with Jeff Broin from the ACE conference regarding the announcement: