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Dupont will invest $200MM to build a cellulosic ethanol plant with 28MM gal/yr capacity in Nevada, IA. When completed it will be one of the first commercial scale plants.

The plant will use 360 tons of biomass--probably corn stover--per year.

The cost, $7.14/gal capacity demonstrates one of the problems with cellulosic ethanol. The comparable number for a natural gas fired corn based ethanol plant is $1.50-1.75/gal. Cellulosic requires more investment for more stainless steel.

Another is waste disposal. Corn based ethanol sells its waste stream as distillers grain. Will cellulosic produce a similar stream. Also the economics of harvesting corn are well established. A learning curve will be needed to collect and store corn stover.

Success of this plant will demonstrate solutions to all the known problems. That demonstration will be necessary before investors are ready to put up their cash for more plants.

(It's about time. We have been waiting for this long promised investment for quite a while.)
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