On October 17, 2014, the Hugoton and Abengoa communities came together to celebrate the grand opening of the Hugoton, Kansas Next Generation Cellulosic Ethanol plant. The ceremony, officiated by Christopher Standlee, Executive Vice President of Global Affairs, represented the culmination of years of hard work that transformed the plant from a concept into a reality. The event included contributions from the community with the local Hugoton High School band and choral group performing the Star Spangled Banner. Esteemed guests included Jack Rowden, Mayor of Hugoton; Danny Allison, Abengoa Plant Manager; Sam Brownback, Governor of Kansas; Pat Roberts, U.S. Senator from Kansas; Dr. Ernest Moniz, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy; Javier Garoz Neira, Abengoa Bioenergy Chief Executive Officer; and Manuel Sanchez Ortega, Abengoa Chief Executive Officer.
Those in attendance shared a few words recognizing the dedicated partnership between Abengoa, the Department of Energy and the Hugoton community. After a brief address and the official start of the Hugoton plant by Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy, Dr. Ernest Moniz, guests were invited to attend a luncheon and plant tours. Many town residents came to show their support for this new business and its economic contributions to their local community.
The Hugoton plant is one of the first commercial scale cellulosic ethanol plants of its kind. The plant’s innovative process takes agricultural waste left from harvests including corn stover, wheat and grain sorghum crop residue and converts it into fermentable sugars that can be used to produce ethanol. The cellulosic material is purchased from local suppliers creating an even stronger tie to the Hugoton community. Cellulosic ethanol, a sustainable, domestic energy source will reduce our oil dependency and CO2 emissions, as well as create renewable energy that contributes to the economic and social development of rural communities.