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Broin Aims for Cellulosic Ethanol Production by 2009
Broin Companies plans to invest $200 million in a cellulose-to-ethanol facility that will be built in Emmetsburg, Iowa, by 2009. The company announced on November 20th that it will begin construction in February on a project to convert its Emmetsburg ethanol plant, which currently produces 50 million gallons per year (mgpy) of corn ethanol, into a biorefinery that will produce 125 mgpy of ethanol from corn fiber and stover. According to Broin, the plant expansion will employ technologies developed under a five-year research initiative that was jointly funded by DOE. Under that initiative, Broin worked with DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory and South Dakota State University to develop a process that separates cellulosic biomass, such as corn fiber, into its constituent parts. Broin expects the new technology to be able to produce 27 percent more ethanol from an acre of corn while consuming only 17 percent of the energy used in corn-to-ethanol facilities. Broin is a leading ethanol producer, managing 18 corn ethanol plants in the United States while marketing one billion gallons of ethanol per year. See the Broin press release (PDF 80 KB). Download Adobe Reader.
The Broin announcement is good news for those aiming to produce 25 percent of U.S. energy needs from renewable energy sources by 2025, a goal commonly abbreviated as "25x25." The University of Tennessee's Institute of Agriculture recently analyzed the ability for forestry and agriculture to help meet that goal, and concluded that biofuels could produce 1.2 billion gallons of biodiesel and 86 billion gallons of ethanol, but only 15 billion gallons of ethanol could come from corn kernels. Cellulosic ethanol must provide the rest, and for it to do so by 2020, the study assumes that cellulosic ethanol will be available at competitive prices by 2012, just three years after Broin plans to launch its new cellulosic ethanol facility. See the press release from the University of Tennessee.