ICM has announced that they have received $25 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to aid in the construction and operation of its cellulosic ethanol pilot plant located in St. Joseph, Missouri. The company is also contributing $6 million of its own funds required for the cost-share element of the DOE program. The $31 million cooperative agreement is administered by the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).
“We’re excited to have completed the award agreement with the DOE and look forward to commencing the first phase of pilot plant construction,” said Dave Vander Griend, ICM President and CEO. “ICM understands the importance of utilizing Recovery funds to help strengthen our nation’s energy independence, foster job creation across rural America, and produce cleaner, more sustainable fuel.”
Construction is expected to begin in August of 2010 and ICM anticipates that the first demonstration phase will be up and running by January 2011 and fully operational by 4th quarter 2011. The company will modify its existing dry fractionation grain-to-ethanol pilot plant located at LifeLine Foods, LLC to begin producing fuel ethanol from captive corn fiber and along with two cellulosic feedstocks switchgrass and energy sorghum. Novozymes will be providing the enzymes used in the process.
The company has developed new technology and will be testing pretreatment, hydrolysis and fermentation processes, all critical elements of cost competitive cellulosic ethanol production. Another strategy the company is applying is co-locating the cellulosic plant next to an existing grain ethanol plant to increase efficiencies and accelerate the production of cellulosic ethanol to commercial scale.
Vander Griend concluded, “DOE’s funding of this award will help our industry continue to displace imported petroleum with domestically produced fuels and help accelerate ethanol production targets that were mandated in the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).”