Poet reopens shuttered ethanol plant in Missouri

Source: Written by Christopher Doering, Argus Leader Washington Bureau • Posted: Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Poet on Tuesday said it has started producing ethanol at its facility in Macon, Mo.

The ethanol giant said the 45 million-gallon-a-year ethanol plant suspended operations Feb. 1 mainly because of a lack of available corn from last year’s drought.

While the plant was closed, the company began work on $14 million in upgrades, including a new administration building and control system. Construction continues in some areas, Poet said.

“Macon has always been a very successful plant in the Poet network,” Poet CEO Jeff Lautt said. “Adding these upgrades will position it well for the future.”

The Macon plant, which is in northeastern Missouri, produced its first ethanol in May of 2000, starting with an annual production capacity of 15 million gallons.

Companywide, the Sioux Falls-based Poet has a production capacity of more than 1.6 billion gallons of ethanol from its 27 facilities. Poet also is working with DSM Advanced Biofuels to construct a cellulosic facility adjacent to Poet’s corn-fed ethanol plant in Emmetsburg, Iowa. The initial capacity is expected to be 20 million gallons in the first year, growing to approximately 25 million gallons per year.

The 2012 drought, the worst since the Dust Bowl in the 1930s, pushed corn prices to a record high, prompting many ethanol plants to scale back production or shutter facilities.