The Department of Energy (DOE) awarded POET $6.85 million to help establish a market for corn cobs. This is the first portion of the funds which are expected to provide an additional $13.15 million next year. Cobs are the feedstock for POET’s effort to commercialize cellulosic ethanol which is officially dubbed Project LIBERTY and under construction in Emmetsburg, Iowa.
The second portion of the funds will be dedicated to helping develop the feedstock infrastructure for cellulosic ethanol production. For many months, POET has been working with equipment manufacturers to help speed the process of getting cob-harvesting technology into fields.
“DOE has shown an incredible commitment to speeding the commercialization of cellulosic ethanol,” POET CEO Jeff Broin said. “With this grant, we’ll be able to help farmers take advantage of this new revenue stream while helping our nation realize all the benefits of second-generation ethanol.”
The DOE has been a major supporter of Project LIBERTY. The two grant increases will bring the total financial commitment from DOE to $100 million. The entire project is estimated to cost $250 million and is expected to go online in 2011.