Iowa adding two cellulosic ethanol plants

Photo by swanksalot, Flickr.
Photo by swanksalot, Flickr.

The ethanol industry is building plants in many states that will convert corn plant residue, wood scraps and garbage into additives for fuel.

Two of these plants will be built in Iowa – one in Nevada and one in DuPont. The DuPont facility will be the largest cellulosic ethanol plant in the nation. It’ll be completed in 2014 and will cost $200 million.

Read more here.

EPA stops sale of Dupont herbicide

Photo by xnt14, Flickr

A month ago the Iowa Environmental Focus covered a story on the link between the herbicide Imprelis and damaged trees. Last week the Environmental Protection Agency officially ordered DuPont to halt sales of the product. Earlier in the month, Dupont independently ceased selling Imprelis indefinitely.

The EPA issued a press release on their decision:

 The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today issued an order to E.I. DuPont de Nemours (DuPont) directing the company to immediately halt the sale, use or distribution of Imprelis, an herbicide marketed to control weeds that has been reported to be harming a large number of trees, including Norway spruce and white pine. Continue reading

Herbicide linked to damaged trees

Photo by IRRI Images, Flickr

A new herbicide may cause coniferous trees to die. The Quad-City Times reports that a chemical called Imprelis, created by DuPont, appears to cause damage to a few types of trees including the white pine and the Norway and Colorado blue spruce. Among the cities reporting damage are Iowa City and Cedar rapids:

The first damage reports came in late May/early June from the East Coast. Damage has now been reported in Chicago, Iowa City and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, but there has been none in the Quad-Cities, Iowa State University/Scott County Extension horticulturist Duane Gissel said.

Symptoms include twisting and curling, followed by the browning of needles, shoots and branch tips.

Although university Extension horticulturists say it is too early to determine whether affected trees are dead or will die, several nurserymen quoted in a July 14 New York Times article said they know of trees that are dead. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

EPA exempts biomass users from new greenhouse gas rules


Willow is one type of biomass that has been burned for fuel. Photo by MJ Richardson.

Under pressure from Congress, the EPA is exempting facilities that burn biomass from new rules in the Clean Air Act that require large polluters to reduce their production of greenhouse gas over three years, the Associated Press reports.

The agency said it needs more time to confirm whether biomass – including forest thinnings and waste from farms and sawmills— can produce green fuel. Continue reading