Washington, D.C. – U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced the Department finalized a $105 million loan guarantee to support the development of one of the nation's first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plants. Project LIBERTY, sponsored by POET, will be built in Emmetsburg, Iowa and is expected to produce up to 25 million gallons of ethanol per year. POET estimates the project will fund approximately 200 construction jobs and 40 permanent jobs. It is expected to generate around $14 million in new revenue to area farmers who will provide the corn crop residue.
“This project represents a pioneering effort to make broad scale deployment of cellulose ethanol a reality,” said Secretary Chu. ”Producing the next generation of biofuels can not only reduce America’s oil dependency, it can also create vast new economic opportunities for rural Americans.”
Project LIBERTY’s innovative process uses enzymes to convert cellulose from corncobs, corn leaves and corn husks into ethanol. The facility will produce enough biogas to power both Project LIBERTY and most of POET’s adjacent grain-based ethanol plant. POET plans to replicate its unique process so that it is integrated into all the company's 27 grain-ethanol plants for a combined annual capacity of one billion gallons per year of cellulosic ethanol. The company estimates that 85 percent of Project LIBERTY will be sourced with U.S. equipment.
The Department of Energy's Loan Programs Office administers three separate programs: the Title XVII Section 1703 and Section 1705 loan guarantee programs, and the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing (ATVM) loan program. The loan guarantee programs support the deployment of commercial technologies along with innovative technologies that avoid, reduce, or sequester greenhouse gas emissions, while ATVM supports the development of advanced vehicle technologies. To date, the Department has issued loans, loan guarantees or offered conditional commitments for loan guarantees totaling nearly $40 billion to support more than 40 clean energy projects across the United States, including several of the world’s largest solar generation facilities, three geothermal projects, the world’s largest wind farm, and the nation’s first new nuclear power plant in three decades. For more information, please visit http://www.lpo.energy.gov.
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