Energy Secretary: Kansas biorefinery using plant waste is the future of ethanol production

Energy Associated Press

U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz says a commercial biofuels plant opening in southwest Kansas represents the future of ethanol production.

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Moniz spoke to The Associated Press ahead of Friday's grand opening of Abengoa's second-generation cellulosic ethanol plant in Hugoton, Kansas. The plant has a capacity to produce 25 million gallons of ethanol per year.

The $500 million plant is one of three commercially sized biorefineries in the United States that use only plant waste to produce ethanol. This means it doesn't compete for food crops. The facility also includes an electric generation plant.

Moniz says the project represents the Energy Department's approach to funding research on novel conversion approaches for biofuels, backed by a loan guarantee program that brings these commercial-scale projects to fruition.

Abengoa is a Spanish multinational corporation.