DuPont to bring ‘next-generation’ ethanol plant to Nevada

Photo by Brandon Cripps, Flickr

Nevada, Iowa will soon be home to a new kind of ethanol plant.  DuPont’s new plant will use corncobs, leaves and stalks as feedstock instead of corn in its production.

Read more of the Des Moines Register’s coverage here:

Nevada will be the site of one of the world’s few next-generation ethanol plants, DuPont announced Monday.

The biorefinery will use corncobs, leaves and stalks as feedstock rather than corn. It will join a proposed Poet plant in Emmetsburg as Iowa’s two next-generation refineries, to go along with 40 corn-fed ethanol plants in the state.

To remain a leader in ethanol production, Iowa must find an efficient, cost-effective way to harvest the tons of biomass left on fields and turn it into biofuel. Federal renewable-energy goals will require refiners to use 36 billion gallons of ethanol a year by 2022, and much of it from sources other than cornstarch.

The Nevada plant should be ready for commercial production in 2013, said Jennifer Hutchins, spokeswoman for DuPont Danisco Cellulosic Ethanol, a subsidiary of Wilmington, Del.-based DuPont. The plant will take 12 to 18 months to build, she said.

Hutchins declined to say how much DuPont would invest in the plant. Documents filed with the state show the investment would be $275.5 million.

DuPont had previously announced that the project would go to Iowa, beating out Nebraska. The Iowa Power Fund board approved a $9 million grant for the project in February.

Nevada has said it would provide nearly $8.7 million in tax abatement over 10 years. The Iowa Power Fund also agreed to provide $586,000 in job training assistance and $4.6 million in tax credits.

The plant is expected to employ about 60 people when operational, Hutchins said.

DuPont entered into an agreement to purchase land next to the Lincolnway Energy ethanol plant. No terms were disclosed.

“We’re producing cellulosic ethanol sustainably and economically today, and the market is ready and interested to deploy large-scale biorefineries,” said Joe Skurla, CEO of DuPont Danisco Cellulosic Ethanol. “We are purchasing the site next to Lincolnway because it will meet the business needs for our project, and provides potential economic and environmental synergies for both facilities.”

DuPont had also considered placing the biorefinery near Fort Dodge.

DuPont Danisco is working with local farmers to get commitments for collecting cobs, leaves and stalks from their fields. The plant will need about 300,000 dry tons of stover annually. The project is able to collect up to 2 tons an acre now, Hutchins said.

DuPont Danisco said it is producing cellulosic ethanol now at a pre-commercial facility in Tennessee and will be working to scale up to the commercial plant in Nevada.

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