Sioux Falls-based ethanol producer Poet awarded millions by arbitration panel

Source: By Jonathan Ellis, Argus Leader • Posted: Monday, April 8, 2019

Sioux Falls-based Poet has asked a federal judge to confirm a multi-million dollar arbitration award it received from a company that it claims botched an ethanol production system at a plant in Iowa.

A panel of three arbitrators from the American Arbitration Association held three hearings between Dec. 3, 2018 and Jan. 9 in Chicago over Poet’s complaint against Andritz Inc., a Georgie-based engineering company. On April 1, the panel unanimously agreed to award Poet more than $7.5 million, according to court records.

More: Poet accuses engineering company of failure in quest for cellulosic ethanol

Poet hired Andritz in 2010 to design and later construct a system to convert items such as corn cobs, stocks and other biomass into ethanol at its Emmetsburg, Iowa plant. Known as Project Liberty, the goal was to create ethanol out of materials typically discarded, which would add value to Midwestern corn farms.

The $275 million plant opened in 2014.

Poet filed suit against Andritz in 2017, claiming Andritz failed to create a system that pre-treated enough biomass at an economically scalable level. The lawsuit was later folded into arbitration.

In email, Poet spokesman Matt Merritt said: “We are glad to reach a resolution on this issue.”

A spokesman for Andritz did not immediately reply.