POET remains committed to developing cellulosic ethanol blends

Source: By Andrew Flinn, Brownfield • Posted: Wednesday, April 12, 2017

An spokesman for the nation’s largest ethanol producer says the company remains committed to cellulosic ethanol.

Matt Merritt, Director of Public Relations for POET DSM says the company’s Project Liberty cellulosic ethanol facility at Emmetsburg Iowa – which started production a year ago – is already nearing production goals.

“We’re already at about 70 gallons of ethanol per ton. Our initial target was 72 gallons per ton, so we’re almost right at the target,” says Merritt.

Merritt tells Brownfield POET’s cellulosic ethanol – which is made using corncobs, leaves and husks – opens new markets for farmers in a depressed farm economy.

“Lower prices, lower farm income, land values are certainly starting to come down more and more, and things are touch right now. What cellulosic ethanol offers is an opportunity to get a new crop, and it’s a new crop [farmers] are already growing,” says Merritt.

He says there are many expansion opportunities for cellulosic ethanol production, but recent talk of revising or eliminating the Renewable Fuel Standard could set back efforts.

“What we have in place right now is a law that works. We have a law  that has inspired the kind of investment that it needed to, to get this cellulosic technology going. Any time people start talking about the RFS and about possibly making changes to it, just the chatter about that raises doubts,” says Merritt.

Merritt says Poet recently added an enzyme manufacturing facility on site in Emmetsburg and the company plans to expand cellulosic production to other facilities in the near future.