Ethanol industry turning to plant residue, scraps - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Ethanol industry turning to plant residue, scraps

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The Poet biorefinery near Emmetsburg, Iowa is one of 13 in the state that produce cellulosic ethanol The Poet biorefinery near Emmetsburg, Iowa is one of 13 in the state that produce cellulosic ethanol

Ethanol producers have talked for decades about producing ethanol by using materials like plant residue, wood scraps and even garbage. And now, companies finally are building full-scale cellulosic refineries.

About 70 such projects are under way across the U.S., reflecting billions of dollars of private investment. Iowa has 13 such plants, including the Poet biorefinery in Emmetsburg, which broke ground last year.

It's a breakthrough that comes at a key time, after last year's drought heightened criticism about the vast amount of corn that goes towards producing fuel rather than food.

The push for more production comes amid the federal requirement that the nation's fuel supply include 36-billion gallons of ethanol by 2022.

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