Why Kansas? (Hint: It’s not just about the corn)

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The promise of second-generation ethanol production hinges on the ability to break down corn stover — the, tough, cellulose-dense husks, stalks and leaves left over after the harvest — and turn that inedible agricultural waste into fuel. So building a new 2G plant in Hugoton, Kan., is a no-brainer, right? After all, there are cornfields as far as the eye can see in every direction. Actually, it’s a bit more complicated than that. First off, while Abengoa’s new 2G plant is using corn stover to create ethanol at launch, it can actually be modified to take in a variety of cellulose-dense organic materials, including wheat straw, milo stubble and prairie grasses. Southwest Kansas has all these natural materials in abundance, allowing Abengoa to prove its technology on a variety of…
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