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DuPont laying groundwork for one of the nation’s first cellulosic ethanol plants

In the last two or three years, motorists in Story and surrounding counties of central Iowa have begun noticing large stacks of brown material near area cornfields. During that time, DuPont Pioneer has been building stockpiles of corn stover to be converted into ethanol at its new cellulosic ethanol plant under construction near Nevada, Iowa. But that’s not all the company has been doing to prepare for the new plant as DuPont’s Aaron Woods explains in this video.

One of the steps involves the creation of a Community Advisory Panel, which helds its first meeting in Nevada last month. The meeting was attended by more than 30 Central Iowa residents including business leaders, farmers, conservationists and educators. "We've already been working with school officials and local businesses to try to determine the best routes for our trucks to avoid disruptions to local traffic patterns," said Woods.

The CAP is expected to meet up to four times each year. Dr. Mark Edelman, CAP Facilitator who has more than 32 years of experience as a professor of economics and extension specialist in agricultural policy analysis, community entrepreneurship, and economic development, will work with the group.  Edelman also teaches an economic development course and serves as Community Vitality Center Director at Iowa State University.  During this inaugural meeting, CAP members will discuss the panel’s goals and objectives, and a process for ongoing engagement with the new facility’s management team.

"A CAP is a tool for manufacturing companies to learn the interests and concerns of nearby neighbors and community leaders," Woods said. "DuPont asked community leaders in Central Iowa to form this CAP because the company values the feedback from the public and unfiltered information from vested interests that the community can provide. 

When construction is completed on DuPont's commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol facility, the facility will produce 30 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol per year. Expected to be completed in the second half of 2014, this more than $200 million facility will be among the first and largest commercial-scale cellulosic biorefineries in the world.

To supply the corn stover for its plant, DuPont will contract with more than 500 local farmers to gather, store and deliver over 375,000 dry tons of stover per year into the Nevada facility.  In addition to the estimated 60 full-time plant operations jobs, there will be over 150 individuals involved in the collection, stacking, transportation and storage of the stover feedstock seasonally during each harvest.  The stover will be collected from an approximate 30 mile radius around the new facility and harvested off of 190,000 acres.

More information can be found here.

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