Kansas could become home to one of the first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol refineries in the US.
The global energy company Abengoa Bioenergy, aims to open what could be the first ethanol plant of this scale, in Hugoton, in 2013. It is expected to create 300 construction jobs, 65 permanent jobs and generate an annual payroll of almost $5 million (€3.8 million).
‘There’s no doubt we will be one of the first, whether we are the first or not is not critical to us as long as we complete it within our time frame,’ says Chris Standlee, executive vice president for Abengoa Bioenergy’s U.S. division.
Rival company POET is in the process of developing a similar plant in Emmetsburg, Iowa, which is also set for a 2013 completion. Both facilities have begun construction and predict an approximate production of 25 million gallons of ethanol a year.
In 2011, Abengoa received a $132 million (100.38 million) federal loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy, whilst POET, who also was offered more than $100 million (76.22 million), recently turned the offer down after partnering on the project with another company.
Six counties in southwest Kansas have enrolled in the USDA’s Biomass Crop Assistance Program. The program provides financial incentives for landowners to grow switchgrass and other perennial grasses that are suited for biomass production.