POET Aims for Full Output at Iowa Cellulosic Ethanol Plant by Year’s End

Source: By Jeff Barber, OPIS • Posted: Monday, March 28, 2016

POET Inc. began shipping cellulosic ethanol from its Emmetsburg, Iowa, plant in December and is ramping up output in hopes of reaching full capacity by the end of 2016, a company spokesman said Wednesday.

POET, one of the U.S.’s largest ethanol producers, completed the plant in 2014 with Dutch partner Royal DSM and is producing fuel from cornstalks and cobs as feedstocks. The Emmetsburg plant has a capacity of 25 million gal/year.

In an interview published Wednesday in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, POET CEO Jeff Broin said operations at the plant are going well, adding that “there’s a good chance we can be at full production by year’s end.”

Broin told the newspaper that the plant experienced challenges in handing the large quantities of corn stocks and cobs that are rolled in bales and sent to the plant. He said some equipment in the POET-DSM plant is being replaced to improve the feedstock process.

“While it hasn’t been easy — and we were well aware of that getting into the game — we have made tremendous strides,” he said in the interview.

Broin also said that bringing the cellulosic ethanol plant up to commercial production is “moving much faster than we did in the early days of starch ethanol.”

POET has long planned to build cellulosic ethanol plants at each site where it now operates corn ethanol facilities, the spokesman said. “However, in order for expansion to happen in the U.S., at POET plants or elsewhere, the EPA must allow the Renewable Fuel Standard to work as designed to improve market access for biofuels,” he added.

POET operates 27 corn ethanol plants in South Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio.