Poet, farmers kick off commercial biomass harvest

By | July 15, 2010
News release posted Aug. 17, 2010

EMMITSBURG, IOWA - Farmers and Poet today celebrated the upcoming collection and delivery of 56,000 tons of baled corn cobs and light stover in the first commercial harvest for Project Liberty.

Poet CEO Jeff Broin spoke to farmers about the important jobs and economic benefits that will result from this new revenue crop. In fact, area farmers have already received $100,000 in incentive payments to establish the new harvest system on their farm.

He also spoke about the growing importance of the American farmer.

"As biomass harvesting for cellulosic ethanol grows, America's reliance on foreign oil will wane and be replaced by a new reliance, this time on rural communities within our own borders," Broin said. "The American farmer will provide food, feed and fuel for the country at an unheard of rate."

Iowa Gov. Chet Culver, who attended the event, talked about new opportunities that would be created throughout the economy. "We're really proud of the fact that this is happening in the great state of Iowa. Nowhere else in the world is this happening so quickly."

Biomass harvested for Project Liberty will come to a new biomass storage facility, which is under construction now in Emmetsburg. The 22-acre site will have capacity to house 23,000 tons of biomass bales. Construction of Project Liberty - the planned 25 MMgy cellulosic ethanol plant - is slated to begin in early 2012 pending approval of a loan guarantee from the U.S. DOE.

Farmers today also heard presentations from USDA, Iowa State University and Idaho National Laboratory. ISU discussed the latest data from Emmetsburg regarding soil nutrient and erosion control when harvesting biomass.

The partners have completed two years of testing on the area's soil with different harvest types, and results, along with those from 10 site-years of additional data, are showing that collecting biomass bales will not negatively impact good land.

Removing approximately one ton of biomass out of the average 4.26 tons available per acre will not require any drastic changes in fertilizer management for producers choosing to participate in the program, the researchers have found. This work will continue for future harvests. Additionally, as corn yields continue to increase in coming years, even more agriculture residue will be left behind on fields.

For more information about Project Liberty and Poet's work in cellulosic ethanol, check out our new expanded cellulosic ethanol content at http://www.poet.com/innovation/cellulosic_ethanol.asp

About Poet
Poet is a leader in biorefining through its efficient, vertically integrated approach to production. The 22-year-old company produces more than 1.6 billion gallons of ethanol and 9 billion pounds of high-protein animal feed annually from 26 production facilities nationwide. POET also operates a pilot-scale cellulosic ethanol plant, which uses corn cobs as feedstock, and will commercialize the process in Emmetsburg, Iowa. For more information, visit http://www.poet.com.