Poet and DSM Open Commercial-Scale Cellulosic Fuel Plant in Iowa

Sep 03, 2014 3:00 pm ET

Sept. 3 (Bloomberg) -- A joint venture of Poet LLC and Royal DSM NV opened a cellulosic-ethanol plant in Iowa with capacity to produce 20 million gallons (76 million liters) of fuel a year.

The Project Liberty facility in Emmetsburg, which received a $105 million loan guarantee from the U.S. Energy Department in 2011, may eventually expand production to 25 million gallons a year, Poet-DSM Advanced Biofuels LLC said today in a statement.

The plant produces fuel from corn cobs, husks and stalks, unlike standard ethanol that’s made from the edible parts of the plant. It’s an alternative to fossil fuels and won’t have to compete for feedstock with companies that sell corn for food.

“Some have called cellulosic ethanol a ‘fantasy fuel,’ but today it becomes a reality,” Poet’s Chairman Jeff Broin said in the statement. The venture may may generate $250 million by 2020 through selling the fuel and licensing the technology.