Ethanol producer POET will receive $105 million in funding by the U.S. DOE to expand a factory that will make motor fuel from corn waste.
According to The New York Times, the new factory, based in Emmetsburg, Iowa, could be the first commercial-scale plan to make ethanol from a nonfood, or cellulosic, plant source. A key technical hurdle for POET is scaling production from one ton of plant matter per day to 700 in order to make the fuel competitive with the corn-based version.
If celluosic ethanol could be produced in an economical fashion, it would vastly increase the potential for the U.S. to reduce the use of fossil fuels. It could also reduce the use of corn in the manufacturing of ethanol as a motor fuel, long criticized for reducing food supplies for people and animals.
The loan guarantee for POET is the first by the U.S. DOE for cellulosic ethanol. The Department of Agriculture announced $405 million in loan guarantees in January, reports the The New York Times.
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