Poet-DSM provides update of Project Liberty

By Poet-DSM Advanced Biofuels | December 31, 2013

Poet-DSM Advanced Biofuel’s first commercial cellulosic ethanol plant remains on schedule for startup in the first part of 2014 as workers continue equipment installation and other activity through the winter.

The plant, dubbed ‘Project Liberty,’ will produce 20 million gallons of cellulosic biofuel per year – later ramping up to 25 million gallons – from corn cobs, leaves, husk and some stalk. Commissioning for select parts of the process is scheduled to begin in January.

“We’ll be running each part of the process on its own over the winter to test performance and minimize any issues that might arise at startup,” Poet-DSM Board President James Moe said. “This is new technology at this scale, and it’s going to be exciting to see it in action.”

Construction progress to date includes:

- Biomass receiving and grinding building is mechanically complete, and biomass processing equipment is nearly ready for commissioning. 

- Saccharification, fermentation tanks and processing areas are nearing mechanical completion and commissioning.

- Other processing areas are nearing mechanical completion as construction continues.

- Cooling tower construction is complete.

- Underground utilities and electrical power infrastructure are mechanically complete.

Farmers primarily in a 40-mile radius to the plant harvested approximately 100,000 tons of biomass this fall to be used to start the plant and operate it through next fall. Farmers are already signing contracts for the 2014 harvest. POET-DSM continues to hire positions for Project Liberty.

Additionally, POET-DSM is in talks with other ethanol producers about expanding this technology to more plants around the U.S. in the future.