Governor's plan to benefit paper waste ethanol

Monday, April 02, 2007

From a story by Andrew Hellpap in the Stevens Point Journal:

Wisconsin's push to develop corn-alternative ethanol shouldn't leave farmers out in the cold, according to one state official.

Gov. Jim Doyle's goal for the state to generate 25 percent of its power and transportation fuels from renewable sources by 2025 includes a proposal to create the first cellulosic ethanol plant in the United States by making available $5 million in grant money to paper producers such as Stora Enso North America, based in Wisconsin Rapids, according to a release by the governor's office in January.

Potentially, cellulosic ethanol can be produced cheaper than corn from black liquor, a byproduct of the pulp process generated at paper mills.

More profitable sources of feedstock could take away a buyer for corn from central Wisconsin farmers, but the depth of resources needed to accomplish Doyle's goal should keep corn-based ethanol supplying farmers happy for a while, said Rod Nilsestuen, Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection secretary.

"We are going to need all the sources we can get to reach those," he said.

While corn is still the main source of ethanol, its time to be profitable was about three years, according to the developer of a potential cellulosic ethanol plant in Wisconsin Rapids.