The facility will take corn stover — the stalks, leaves and cobs left in a field after harvest — and turn it into a clean fuel that offers a 90 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions as compared to gasoline.
Most of this fuel will be used in California to fulfill the state’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard, which requires producers of petroleum-based fuels to reduce the carbon intensity of their products.
“Cellulosic ethanol will further diversify the transportation fuel mix just as wind and solar are expanding the renewable options for power generation,” the company said.
DuPont also hopes that the facility — the world’s largest cellulosic ethanol plant — will serve as a commercial-scale demonstration of its cellulosic technology, showing that non-food feedstocks from agriculture can help meet future energy demands.
The company recently announced a licensing agreement with New Tianlong Industry to build China’s largest cellulosic ethanol plant, and a year ago a Memorandum of Understanding was announced between DuPont, Ethanol Europe and the government of Macedonia to develop a second-generation biorefinery project. The company is also working with Procter & Gamble to use cellulosic ethanol in its North American laundry detergents.
Almost 500 local farmers will supply the biorefinery with 375,000 dry tons of stover each year, providing a new revenue stream for growers while also creating 85 full-time jobs at the plant and more than 150 seasonal local jobs in Iowa.