The $200 million plant in the town of Nevada, Iowa, will be completed in 2014 and will be able to produce about 30 million gallons of ethanol from corn leaves, stalks and other plant material left behind after harvest.
DuPont said in a written statement it would use waste material known as stover gathered from cornfields within a 30-mile radius of the plant rather than actual ears of corn. The project will create about 60 jobs at the plant and an estimated 130 for the collection process.
"By leveraging DuPont Pioneer corn production expertise and designing an integrated technology platform, we've built an affordable and sustainable entry point into this new industry. We're committed to continued productivity gains to drive costs down even further for the coming generations of plants, ones based on corn stover as well as other feedstocks," said James Collins, president of DuPont Industrial Biosciences.
The ethanol industry called the new plant a significant step forward in the development of biofuels because it signaled that major companies such as DuPont saw the potential of cellulosic ethanol.
"It is also worth noting that DuPont is co-locating its plant next to Lincolnway Energy, a locally-owned, traditional ethanol plant," Monte Shaw, executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, said in a written statement. "The IRFA continues to believe that the synergies between existing corn ethanol plants and next generation ethanol plants are clear and compelling."