NEVADA - Nevada Mayor Gearold Gull II welcomed a new neighbor to the community Friday morning.
The DuPont Co. of Wilmington, Del. will earnestly push construction on its $200 million cellulosic ethanol facility several miles west of town.
Joining Gull were Gov. Terry Branstad, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, and Jim Collins, president, DuPont Industrial Biosciences in a ceremony adjacent to grain ethanol facility Lincolnway Energy, several miles west of Nevada.
T-R PHOTO BY MIKE DONAHEY
Iowa Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, left, is shown behind Gov. Terry Branstad, center, while he speaks with Des Moines Register reporter Dan Piller (back to camera) at DuPont’s biorefinery flag-raising event near Nevada Friday morning. Expected to be completed in 2014, the facility will be among the first and largest commercial-scale cellulosic biorefineries in the world, generating more than 30 million gallons of biofuel annually.
"We marketed this event as a ground-breaking," Collins said. "But as you can see the worked ground and construction equipment behind us, our team was anxious to get started, so we will raise the American and Iowa flag instead."
Expected to be completed in mid-2014, the refinery will employ approximately 60 skilled workers and will contract with more than 500 local farmers in a 30-mile radius to gather, store and deliver over 375,000 dry tons of stover per year into the Nevada facility.
DuPont will process the stover into ethanol.
Corn stover residues are a non-food feedstock that consists of corn stalks and leaves.
Branstad said the concept Iowa being a major producer of renewable fuels was first seriously discussed in 1972 and much advancements have been made since.
He also cited accomplishments statewide.
"During my previous terms of governor, we were excited to bring ethanol production to the state," Branstad said. "After many hard years of work by Iowa growers and technology companies like DuPont, Iowa now leads the country in renewable fuel production. This site in Nevada is the next critical step in our journey."
Echoing Branstad's comments were Reynolds, who highlighted Iowa State University's contribution.
"Iowa State provided valuable assistance from the beginning," she said. "They will continue to partner with DuPont in this project's success."
Collins said DuPont began exploring the stover to ethanol concept approximately 10 years ago.
"We wanted to develop an innovative technology that would result in low capital and low-cost cellulosic ethanol production," Collins said. "We recognized that science-powered innovation was the catalyst to make cellulosic ethanol a commercial reality and to help reduce global dependence on fossil fuels."
Gull cited DuPont's 210-years of business success.
"This is a great day for the state of Iowa and Nevada," Gull said. "DuPont is the kind of company Nevada wants as a neighbor. They will pay good wages and their safety record is exemplary. All of Nevada will benefit. Main Street will see more business from the construction work alone, and in the longer term as well.
In addition to the 60 full-time plant operational jobs, there will be an estimated 150 individuals involved in the collection, stacking, transportation and storage of the stover feedstock seasonally during each harvest.
He also congratulated Nevada's economic development team.
"I especially want to thank LaVon Schiltz, her associates, and the Nevada Economic Development team," he said. "They were the hub and the wheel to make this project a reality."
The Nevada site was chosen because of the tie to the Lincolnway Energy plant, producer interest and support and the density of corn stover in the area.
DuPont purchased the land - once a nine-hole golf course - adjacent to Lincolnway in 2011.
Once operational, the Nevada plant will compliment another DuPont facility in Vonore, Tenn.
Construction at the Nevada site is expected to take 12-18 months, according to DuPont.