From an article by Nathaniel Shuda in the Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune:

More than a year after garnering $30 million in federal grant money to build an ethanol plant in Wisconsin Rapids, NewPage officials continue to consider the project’s viability, a company spokeswoman said.

Although the Miamisburg, Ohio-based papermaker has completed a preliminary phase of the study into the project’s viability, spokeswoman Shannon Semmerling expects the study to last until the end of 2009.

“The (Department of Energy) and NewPage will (then) review the findings and determine how to proceed,” Semmerling said. “I would expect that we will learn more about Project Independence as 2009 comes to a close.”

In January 2008, the Energy Department selected NewPage as one of four companies nationwide to receive a total of $114 million that will be made available to build small-scale biorefineries.

The refinery will produce about 370 barrels of biofuel a day — or about 5.5 million gallons a year — out of wood chips and mill residue, according to the Energy Department. The resulting fuel will replace natural gas at the mill and can be converted into renewable diesel fuel.