Fiberight hopes to produce 6 million gallons of biofuel per year at a converted corn ethanol plant in Iowa.
About 95 percent of old corrugated containers can be recycled into new paper, but the remaining unusable fiber goes into a mill's waste stream. And for International Paper's Cedar River containerboard mill in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, which produces 1 million tons a year of recycled paper for packaging made from old corrugated containers, that is a lot of valuable fiber that goes unused, until now.
International Paper, one of the largest paper companies in the world, is partnering with Maryland-based Fiberight to take 50,000 tons of residual fiber waste each year from the Cedar Rapids containberboard mill and turn it into fuel-grade ethanol.
Fiberight began accepting residual fiber at a converted corn ethanol plant 25 miles west of Cedar Rapids at the beginning of May. They hope to finish their first batch of ethanol later this week.
"Everyone from the average household to large industrial manufacturers is focused on reducing waste. But the reality is that there will always be a significant waste stream in this country," said Fiberight CEO Craig Stuart-Paul. Fiberight says the residual fiber waste from International Paper provides excellent base-load feedstock for the biorefinery and that the resulting fuel represents an 80-percent reduction in carbon emissions as compared to gasoline.
Fiberight will also begin to accept other household organics at its new facility and after separating, use those organic materials as feedstock for what Stuart-Paul calls, "trashanol."
When fully operational, the company hopes to produce 6 million gallons of ethanol per year.
Photo: Jason Cartwright via flickr/CC 2.0