BC International Corp., Dedham, Mass., broke ground Oct. 20 on the world's first commercial biomass-to-ethanol plant. The 20-million-gallon plant will be constructed in Jennings, La. The plant will use a proprietary technology to convert sugar cane residue to ethanol. The ethanol will be used either as a fuel, industrial chemical, or as an ingredient in beverages. Biomass such as sugar cane residue, rice straw, and wood chips offer advantages over other feedstocks, such as corn and grain, because it is abundant, not used as food, and is available at a lower cost. In the future, BCI, which now has 22 employees, plans to expand its business through the construction of other ethanol plants, joint ventures, and the domestic and international licensing of its technology.