Friday, Dupont celebrated the grand opening of the world’s largest cellulosic ethanol plant in Nevada. Cellulosic ethanol is produced from corn stover, or the stalks, leaves and cobs left in a field after harvest.
The plant has the capacity to produce 30 million gallons of clean fuel per year. At the grand opening ceremony, Governor Terry Branstad said Iowa has a rich history of innovation in agriculture.
“We’re very excited to have this feedstock for fuel which brings tremendous environmental benefits to society and economic benefits to the farmers of Iowa. This new state of the art facility will reform how we provide value to farmers, to the processors, and consumers throughout the entire world,” Branstad said.
The plant opens at a hard time for ethanol as they’ve had many uphill battles. One being the food vs. fuel debate.
“We got to remind big oil and big food that this isn’t something you have to choose between. We’re demonstrating right now in the fields of Iowa all over that we can produce both food and fuel and were going to produce it for the future. You don’t need to choose between food and fuel,” Senator Chuck Grassley said.
The plant is expected to provide 85 full time jobs and 150 seasonal jobs. It will rely on 500 local farmers within a 30-mile radius to supply 375,000 dry tons of stover to produce cellulosic ethanol.