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POET Targets Water Use of 2.33 Gallons per Gallon of Ethanol in Five Years; 22% Reduction

POET plans to decrease water use in the production of ethanol by 22% over the next five years in the first goal of its sustainability initiative, Ingreenuity. If successful, it will cut the company’s water used per gallon of ethanol from an average of 3 gallons to 2.33, an annual water savings of one billion gallons.

In a presentation to employees today, POET CEO Jeff Broin said the company is committed to producing ethanol as sustainably as possible and minimizing its impact on natural resources. The reductions will come primarily through installing a proprietary process developed by POET engineers that recycles cooling water rather than discharging it. The Total Water Recovery process has recently been installed in three POET Biorefining locations - Bingham Lake (Minn.), Caro (Mich.) and Hudson (S.D.). Those facilities now average 2 to 2.5 gallons of water per gallon of ethanol.

To kick off the initiative, Broin announced that the POET Foundation has committed more than $420,000 to the non-profit Global Health Ministries (GHM) over the same five-year period as POET’s water reduction goal. A portion of the funds will help GHM repair, construct and maintain 90 wells in Nigeria that will give more than 300,000 people access to pure water.

POET will also look at water use beyond the company’s facilities. Producers of the feedstock delivered to its 26 production facilities will be surveyed to determine how much is irrigated. Additionally, POET is looking to make its new Total Water Recovery process available to other ethanol producers.

In 2009, POET plants used an average of three gallons of water per gallon of ethanol, which is an 80% decrease from when the company first produced ethanol in 1988. That average includes the alternative sources of water used at several POET plants. At POET Biorefining - Corning (Iowa) most of the water used for cooling comes from the Corning Waste Water Treatment Plant. One hundred percent of the water at POET Biorefining - Portland, Ind. is recycled from a nearby quarry. POET Biorefining - Big Stone, S.D. gets 80% of its water from the cooling ponds of an adjacent power plant and discharges it back to the power plant.

Water reduction is the first goal of Ingreenuity, POET’s new initiative to improve the environmental performance of ethanol. The company is developing goals in other areas, including greenhouse gas reductions and the development of bio-based products.


Henry Gibson

POET should immediatly arrange to get 100% of the heat needed in its process at Big Stone from the adjacent power plant. High pressure steam from the power plant's boilers can be sent to POET which will use steam extraction turbines to provide heat to its processes and condense the steam which is then sent back to the power plant as feed water. The cost of electricity and heat can be reduced by half or more. All of POETS facilities should be located next to or incorporate on site electrical generators. In fact, in return for the subsidies to the fuel ethanol producers, all should be immediatly required to install cogeneration units from Capstone or others if natural gas is being used.

Bio fuels are mostly a fraud on the taxpayers, but they should be as efficiently produced as possible. There is not enough land on the earth to produce a large fraction of the fossil fuel we use every year. ..HG..


Ah, but Henry this is why there is intense interest in algal oil. Grown on unproductive land and in ocean water. And let's not forget that we are going to electrify our transportation fleets. That currently consumes some 65% of our fossil fuels. So, the demand for liquid fuels will decrease and the proportion of that fuel supplied by biofuel will increase.

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