There’s an interesting status report here on some of the factors which may influence worldwide energy use. I’ll add my own. Today marks the opening of the first commercial “cellulosic ethanol” plant in Iowa:
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A new era of ethanol fuel production will begin soon as Iowa refineries begin full operation using materials other than corn kernels.
Iowa has two major cellulosic plants under construction that will use corn plant leaves, stalks and cobs to make ethanol.
The first to go online is Project Liberty, a plant in Emmetsburg built by Sioux Falls, South Dakota-based ethanol-maker POET and Royal DSM, a biotechnology company based in the Netherlands. The $250 million plant, set for a grand opening Sept. 3, will produce up to 25 million gallons annually.
It’s among the first facility of its size in the country to make ethanol from plant material.
A $225 million DuPont plant at Nevada, in central Iowa, will start production this fall and make 30 million gallons annually.
A cellulosic ethanol plant uses plant material other than sugar or corn starch for making ethanol. In other words, it doesn’t make fuel out of food. That has enormous potential to change the cost profile of ethanol-production in the United States. That’s only in its infancy but I expect it to grow rapidly.