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Fire breaks out on cellulosic ethanol plant's property (POET)

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By Kristen Johnson, Multimedia Journalist/ Weekend Anchor, Iowa (KTIV) -

 

Fire crews were called to an Emmetsburg, Iowa ethanol plant late Saturday night.

According Poet-DSN spokesperson Matt Merritt, emergency personnel responded to the fire in the main biomass stackyard shortly before 11 o'clock.

After the fire was contained, crews remained on site throughout the day to ensure no additional flare ups occur.

There were no injuries and the cause is still being investigated.

Poet-DSM's cellulosic ethanol plant which was under construction this winter, is the largest in the nation.

Merritt said Project Liberty was in the midst of going online next to an ethanol plant already in operation.

Merritt said no damage was caused to the plant itself, but the company is still trying to determine how much of the stackyard, which at full capacity contains three-weeks worth  of feedstock,  was destroyed.

 

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Probably Lighting.. unless of course we want to go conspiracy path ...locals we're overheard seeing men running around the Plant with BP Oil  Caps  :D 

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I think this happened before didn't it---fire? I'm still not to excited about baling and hauling off corn residue. I want everything left on my field to build organic matter. My small town keeps burning trees and leaves at a spot next to town and usually it is a smoking,poor burning fire.

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I think this happened before didn't it---fire? I'm still not to excited about baling and hauling off corn residue. I want everything left on my field to build organic matter. My small town keeps burning trees and leaves at a spot next to town and usually it is a smoking,poor burning fire.

 

 

I'm torn on the issue cessna.. I think I'l reserve judgement until after we see if everyone is leaving Enough residue on the fields or if they start scraping it clean.. I'd like to think everyone will use common sense.. but we know how that goes

 

Steve-O feel free to give us your best conspiracy theories  :D

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My brother is also concerned about removing "too much" stover from his corn fields.  They collect this, and grind it in a tub grinder, and feed with wet distillers grains to the cows over winter, as well as yearlings till they are sold in late fall.

 

They only collect a limited amount, and only from fields where there is not much (hardly any to honest) slope, and on numbers known to produce a lot of "trash"...

 

Still, they are concerned of the potential long term damage done from the lack of organic matter.

 

This fall he will be doing an experiment using a no-till drill to drill a "tillage radish" along with "austrian winter peas" for a cover crop.  In addition to providing organic matter, some of this organic matter will be deep below the surface where it is more needed.  It will also help to break up hard pan soils.  They are hoping that it will offset the tonnage of organic matter removed.  For now it is a working experiment.  He is just doing it on the 80 where he lives.  The main question is how it pencils out.  Does the cost of seed and fuel for drilling the cover crop off-set the cost of what it would take to buy corn stover from someone else who was willing to sell it...  If it looks like this is a good sollution, they may expand this to the rest of the corn acres, and acually sell corn stover as there is a demand (no cellulose ethanol around here) for cattle feed.

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I think this does an excellent job of reminding us that there is no end-all solution here. There is no perfect feedstock for ethanol - they all have some issues; whether it be low shelf-life, difficulty of processing the material, flammability and other storage issues, or simply the initial investment required in getting this feedstock going.

 

I've said many a time that while I advocate for ethanol as an alternative fuel, I do not expect it to replace gasoline. I don't think anyone is that naive. There are downsides with nearly every fuel option out there. We've discussed before how it is not in the farmer's best interest to take all of the corn stover off of the field - a fact which this corn stover study released by the University of Nebraska in Lincoln back in May forgot to include in its findings. Corn stover is an excellent feedstock, but it is not going to be the sole feedstock for ethanol. Now don't get me wrong, I am by no means accusing the corn folks of doing this, but we've all seen what can happen when one fuel source/feedstock is the primary one. By that, I mean oil. Someone (or a group of folks) get their hands on it, and manipulate it to their interests. Ethanol is not immune from this.

 

It's important to realize that corn stover as an ethanol feedstock is still a long ways away from exiting its infancy - and these folks are very much aware of that. You can't learn from your mistakes without first making said mistakes.

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