Wednesday, January 30, 2008

DOE Cellulosic Ethanol

The Department of Energy (DOE) is announcing today that they will invest $85 million in three pilot project plants to determine the success of early techniques in producing cellulosic ethanol. This project by the DOE is distinguished from their earlier investment in commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol trials that included Poet's Emmetsburg, Iowa plant. However, this latest round of DOE investment may allow for greater testing of cellulosic feedstocks found outside of the Midwest -- such as wood waste or other agricultural wastes. This would allow, if successful, for cellulosic ethanol to be the bed-rock of the ethanol industry in the South and Western parts of the United States much like corn has been for the nation's midsection. The three companies will have small scale plants in Boardman Oregon, Commerce City Colorado, and St. Joseph Missouri and will employ both chemical and thermochemical techniques to liberate the sugars that reside in the cellulosic material. Although this will be a good step forward in developing and encouraging data into cellulosic ethanol production, the technology remains very new and the technology to produce ethanol from cellulosic materials economically has yet to be proven.

For the original press release, follow the link below:

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