Center for Advanced BioEnergy Research, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Friday, September 21, 2007

UT Board OKs 5 M Gallon/Year Ehanol Plant

The University of Tennessee stepped into the thick of national competition for biofuel production with a board vote Wednesday to build a pilot refinery.

UT has $40 million to build the plant and a partner it considers a biofuels pioneer, Mascoma Corp. of Cambridge, Mass. UT and Mascoma plan to build and operate a 5 million-gallon-per-year cellulosic ethanol biorefinery in Niles Ferry Industrial Park in Monroe County.

State and university officials hope cellulosic ethanol can help move the country away from its dependence on oil and reduce greenhouse emissions while creating a commodity for Tennessee’s farmers.

UT’s move comes months after groundbreakings for cellulosic ethanol plants in Georgia and Louisiana.

“The bottom line is the vast majority of research-oriented universities and national labs — and a lot of private companies — are all making tremendous investment in cellulosic biofuels, and putting a lot of effort and resources toward making this commercially feasible,” said Kelly Tiller, director of external operations for the UT Office of Bioenergy Programs.

In February, the U.S. Department of Energy announced $385 million for six biorefineries in Kansas, Idaho, Florida, California, Iowa and Georgia.

Knoxville News Sentinel, Sept. 21, 2007

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