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Iowa ethanol plant expansion will include production from cellulose

Agriculture.com Staff 11/20/2006 @ 1:36pm

Officials with dry-mill ethanol producer Broin Companies on Monday announced plans to build a cellulose-to-ethanol production facility in the state of Iowa with a completion date expected in 2009.

The announcement came during a joint press conference at the Iowa Capitol in Des Moines with Broin chief executive officer Jeff Broin, Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack and governor-elect Chet Culver.

Voyager Ethanol, located in Emmetsburg, Iowa, will be converted from a 50-million-gallon-per-year conventional corn dry mill facility into a 125 million gallon per year commercial scale bio-refinery designed to utilize advanced corn fractionation and lignocellulosic conversion technologies to produce ethanol from corn fiber and corn stover.

Broin Companies has applied for matching grant funds through the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to assist with the project. Known as Project LIBERTY, the expansion will utilize an existing infrastructure with projected costs for the project at just over $200 million dollars. Pilot research for this project has been conducted and the expansion is slated to begin in February with a commercial production timeline set approximately 30 months later.

Project LIBERTY, which stands for Launch of an Integrated Bio-refinery with Eco-sustainable and Renewable Technologies in Y2009, will create commercialization results that include 11% more ethanol from a bushel of corn and 27% more ethanol from an acre of corn while using 83% less energy needed to operate a corn-to-ethanol plant, company officials say.

Technology efforts for Project LIBERTY began several years ago and escalated when Broin and the DOE jointly funded a five-year research initiative to develop and improve dry mill fractionation with the assistance of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and South Dakota State University.

Officials with dry-mill ethanol producer Broin Companies on Monday announced plans to build a cellulose-to-ethanol production facility in the state of Iowa with a completion date expected in 2009.

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