* Cellulosic fuel not commercial yet
* $105 million in loan aid for plant in Iowa
* DOE loan aid program under fire for Solyndra controversy
(Adds details, quote from CEO)
WASHINGTON, Sept 23 Private U.S. ethanol maker POET
said on Friday the Department of Energy has finalized approval for
$105 million in loan aid for building a cellulosic ethanol plant to
make fuel from corn waste.
The Obama administration has been under fire from Republicans who
say it missed key warning signs before the DOE issued loan aid for
the start-up solar company Solyndra, which went bankrupt.
POET, the biggest ethanol producer in the world, said its the
loan aid would allow it to construct Project Liberty, a 25 million
gallon per year cellulosic plant in Iowa.
"Financing has been a key hurdle to getting the first
commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant up and running," POET CEO
Jeff Broin said in a release. "We're excited to show the world the
tangible results of a decade of work by our researchers and
Cellulosic ethanol backers hope to make commercial quantities of
motor fuel distilled from crop waste and non-food crops like
switchgrass. Currently the fuel is too expensive to compete with
traditional motor fuels, without incentives.
(Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Editing by Marguerita Choy)