DuPont breaks ground on large cellulosic biorefinery in Iowa

Source: Amanda Peterka, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, December 3, 2012

DuPont Industrial Biosciences today broke ground on what will be one of the largest cellulosic biorefineries in the world.

When complete in mid-2014, the $200 million plant in the city of Nevada, Iowa, is expected to produce 30 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol a year. It will convert corn crop residues like stalks and leaves into ethanol through a fermentation process that DuPont has piloted in a project at a facility in Tennessee.

The plant will require more than 375,000 dry tons of agricultural material a year. DuPont plans to contract with more than 500 farmers to collect the material from a 30-mile radius around the plant. DuPont is also experimenting with using switchgrass as an additional feedstock.

DuPont says it plans to also work out agreements with local businesses, including an ethanol plant owned by Lincolnway Energy LLC, to sell co-products that can be used to produce energy.

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R), a staunch ally of the ethanol industry, spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony at the construction site and hailed the plant as helping Iowa to lead the country in renewable fuel production.

“This site in Nevada is the next critical step in our cellulosic ethanol journey,” Branstad said in a statement. “We look forward to bringing these advanced technologies online, creating local jobs and helping to deliver clean, sustainable energy.”