SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- Broin Companies, the nation's largest dry mill ethanol producer, and the U.S. Department of Energy have agreed to jointly fund the development of a cellulosic ethanol plant.

The DOE announced a grant today that will fund a portion of Broin Companies' $200 million expansion of a conventional corn dry mill facility in Emmetsburg, Iowa into a bio-refinery that will include production of cellulosic ethanol from corn cobs.

"We are humbled and excited to be working with the Department of Energy on a project of such national significance," Jeff Broin, CEO of Broin Companies said. "Our goal is to bring cellulosic ethanol to commercial viability by the end of the decade in order to reduce global warming, revitalize the rural economy and lessen our country's dependency on foreign oil. But we can't get there alone.

"This partnership with the Department of Energy, along with the collaboration of companies like DuPont and Novozymes and the farmers around Emmetsburg, Iowa, will allow us to achieve significant progress toward these goals."

U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said, "Broin will play a critical role in helping to bring cellulosic ethanol to market, and teaching us how we can produce it in a more cost effective manner. Ultimately, success in producing inexpensive cellulosic ethanol could be the key to eliminating our nation's addiction to oil. By relying on American ingenuity and on American farmers for fuel, we will enhance our nation's energy and economic security."

The project will convert a conventional corn dry mill facility in Emmetsburg, Iowa into a commercial scale bio-refinery designed to utilize advanced corn fractionation and lignocellulosic conversion technologies to produce ethanol from corn fiber and corn cobs. Known as Project LIBERTY, the expansion will utilize an existing infrastructure with projected costs for the increased capabilities at just over $200 million dollars. The expansion will take approximately 30 months and is slated to begin as soon as the terms of the agreement with the DOE are finalized.

Project LIBERTY, which stands for Launch of an Integrated Bio-refinery with Eco-sustainable and Renewable Technologies in Y2009, will provide deliverables that include 11 percent more ethanol from a bushel of corn and 27 percent more ethanol from an acre of corn, while consuming 24 percent less water and using 83 percent fewer fossil fuels than what is needed to operate a corn to ethanol plant.

Technology efforts for Project LIBERTY began several years ago and escalated when Broin and the DOE jointly funded a five-year research initiative to develop dry mill fractionation with the assistance of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and South Dakota State University.

The project provided for the commercialization of Broin's fractionation technology, or "BFrac(TM)", which together with Broin's raw starch hydrolysis process (BPX(TM)), creates the foundation for biorefining in the future. BFrac(TM) makes higher ethanol yields possible, but more importantly creates additional value-added products and streams - including the intended use of fiber in the production of cellulose to ethanol.

To complement their own technology, Broin has forged relationships with other leaders in the cellulosic ethanol field. Broin has licensed a unique integrated lignocellulose conversion technology package developed by DuPont that converts high volumes of both the (cellulose and hemicellulose or) simple and complex sugars in corn plants into ethanol. Broin is also collaborating with Novozymes, a world leader in industrial biotechnology, on providing state-of-the-art enzyme technology in the cellulosic biomass field.

The Emmetsburg plant began operations in March of 2005 as a 50 million gallons per year dry mill facility. Once the expansion is complete, the facility will produce 125 million gallons per year of ethanol from corn and corn cobs. Additionally, it will create 80,000 tons of Dakota Gold Corn Germ Dehydrated(TM) and 100,000 tons of Dakota Gold HP(TM) produced annually as animal feed co-products.

Broin, the largest dry mill ethanol producer in the United States, is an established leader in the bio-refining industry through project development, design and construction, research and development, plant management, and marketing. The 20-year old company currently operates 19 plants in the United States while marketing more than one billion gallons of ethanol annually.

SOURCE: Broin Companies via PR Newswire.