This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

July 13, 2011

DOE Offers $105 Million Loan Guarantee for Cellulosic Bio-Refinery

DOE announced on July 7 the offer of a conditional commitment for a $105 million loan guarantee to support the development of the first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant in the United States. Project LIBERTY, sponsored by POET, LLC, will produce up to 25 million gallons of ethanol per year and will be located in Emmetsburg, Iowa. POET estimates the project will generate approximately 200 jobs during construction and 40 permanent jobs at the plant.

Project LIBERTY will use corncobs, leaves, and husks as fuel sources that do not compete with feed grains. The project's innovative process uses enzymatic hydrolysis to convert waste into ethanol, and the project will produce enough biogas to power both Project LIBERTY and POET's adjacent grain-based ethanol plant. Project LIBERTY will displace over 13.5 million gallons of gasoline annually and fulfill more than 25% percent of the projected 2013 renewable fuel standard requirement for biomass-based cellulosic ethanol. POET plans to replicate its process at 27 other corn ethanol facilities, which would have a projected combined annual capacity of one billion gallons per year of cellulosic ethanol.

DOE's Loan Programs Office has issued loans or loan guarantees, or offered conditional commitments for loan guarantees totaling over $38 billion to support 41 clean energy projects across the United States. See the DOE press release and the Loans Program Office website.