An Emmetsburg, Iowa, pilot plant is on track to becoming America's first commercial-scale facility to create ethanol motor fuel out of corn waste.
Currently the facility produces ethanol from edible corn by processing one ton of plant matter every day. However, after its expansion is complete it will produce ethanol out of non-edible corn components (e.g., corncobs, leaves and husks) and overcome technical challenges to process 700 tons every day.
In the future, company officials believe the project will displace over 13.5 million gallons of gasoline each year.
If producing ethanol from corn waste proves to be a profitable endeavor, it would decrease the use of edible corn to make this motor fuel and increase supplies of edible corn.
"Our ultimate target is to be competitive with corn ethanol and gasoline," said Jeff Lautt, president of Poet LLC, the company building the ground-breaking facility. Based in Souix Falls, SD, Poet is the world's largest ethanol producer.
The project is funded by a $105 million loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy.