Iowa Biorefinery for 30 Million Gallons Annually from Corn Stover
DuPont has broken ground on a $200 million, 30-million-gallon-per-year-cellulosic ethanol facility in Nevada, Iowa. Non-food corn stover – post-harvest stalks and leaves – will be the feedstock. The Iowa installation will be among the first and largest commercial-scale cellulosic biorefineries in the world when completed in mid-2014, DuPont said.
The company will contract with more than 500 local farmers to gather, store and deliver more than 375,000 dry tons of stover per year for the Nevada facility. In addition to an estimated 60 full-time plant operations jobs, there will be more than 150 individuals involved in seasonal collection, stacking, transportation and storage of the stover feedstock. The stover will be collected from an approximate 30 mile radius around the new facility and harvested off of 190,000 acres.
Post-harvest residue management is a major challenge to farmers seeking to maximize their potential grain yield, DuPont says. It will take material that otherwise “interferes with planting, delays stand establishment, monopolizes nitrogen in the soil and often harbors damaging insect, pests and pathogens.”
“Many of us who have participated in the stover harvest program with DuPont are already seeing benefits of this alternative residue management strategy including positive effects on grain yields the following year on our fields,” grower Jim Hill says in DuPont’s biorefinery announcement.
“By leveraging DuPont Pioneer corn production expertise and designing an integrated technology platform, we’ve built an affordable and sustainable entry point into this new industry,” said DuPont industrial biosciences president James Collins.
“We’re committed to continued productivity gains to drive costs down even further for the coming generations of plants, ones based on corn stover as well as other feedstocks,” Collins said. DuPont notes that it is already investigating switchgrass for ethanol at a facility it owns jointly with the University of Tennessee near Knoxville, Tenn.
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Source: DuPont release with Fleets & Fuels follow-up