Ethanol Plant Conversion Announced

Company will turn a corn-ethanol plant into a facility that makes the fuel from stalks, leaves and cobs.

A major ethanol plant construction firm has announced it will convert an Iowa facility from simply using corn to one that uses stalks, leaves and cobs to make the renewable fuel. According to a Des Moines Register report, announced late last week, the aim is to turn to added materials to further boost ethanol production.

Neither a timetable, nor a site, have been announced, but officials told the Iowa newspaper that the aim of eventually producing 30 to 60 billion gallons of ethanol willl force the use of some other feedstock besides corn. The converted plant will cost a reported $220 million and produce 125 million gallons of ethanol per year, the paper reports.

The contractor - Broin Cos. - is applying for an $80 million grant from the U.S. Energy Department to help pay for the project. Currently, the 100-plus ethanol plants in the United States can turn out about 5 billion gallons of ethanol. That's a small portion of the 140 billion gallons of gasoline used now.

Broin has licensed technology from DuPont to aid with its biomass ethanol process.

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