Poet and the U.S. DOE have announced that they have signed a cooperative agreement for a commercial cellulosic ethanol project in Emmetsburg, Iowa. The agreement finalizes the first phase of a DOE award that was announced in February and will govern all aspects of the project leading up to construction. With the agreement in place, Poet will move forward on project preliminary design and engineering, environmental engineering, biomass collection and other activities. According to the cooperative agreement, phase one of the project will last approx. 20 months. A subsequent phase two agreement will then be negotiated to cover construction, which is expected to take two years. Following construction, facility operation is expected to begin in 2011. Project Liberty, Poet’s cellulosic project, will convert an existing 50MMgy dry-mill ethanol plant in Emmetsburg into an integrated corn-to-ethanol and cellulose-to-ethanol biorefinery. Once complete, the facility will produce 125MMgy, 25% of which will be from corn fiber and corn cobs. By adding cellulosic production to an existing grain ethanol plant, Poet will be able to produce 11% more ethanol from a bushel of corn, 27% more from an acre of corn, while almost completely eliminating fossil fuel consumption and decreasing water usage by 24%.