POET CEO Jeff Broin, seen here being interviewed in the field this morning, is glad for sunshine. At last year’s Project LIBERTY Field Day we had a wet one.
We watched several different equipment manufacturers display their latest products to handle collecting the corn cobs for use in cellulosic ethanol production. I’ve got video clips of them in action which I’ll be posting in coming days. In the meantime you can see photos in the photo album which I just updated.
Before we got started I interviewed Jeff about what we should expect. He emphasizes the importance of cellulosic ethanol production and what utilizing corn cobs as a biomass will mean to farmers and rural America. You can listen to my interview with Jeff below or watch the video:
This is where I’ll be on Tuesday for the POET Project LIBERTY Field Day. The action will take place at their biorefining facility in Emmetsburg, IA starting at 10 a.m.
Agriculture equipment manufacturers will soon put cob harvesting equipment on the market, and Iowa farmers will have a chance to see the latest prototypes in action at Project LIBERTY Field day at POET Biorefining – Emmetsburg (Iowa). Cobs will be the primary feedstock for POET’s commercial cellulosic ethanol plant in Emmetsburg. Also at the event, four-star General Wesley Clark and Iowa Lt. Governor Patty Judge will join POET CEO Jeff Broin in addressing the crowd about cellulosic ethanol and its importance to our energy future.
I hope to have some coverage online here late that morning. Last year it was cold and wet. This year we’re hoping to get a break in the weather so we can see equipment harvest demonstrations in the afternoon.
A new ethanol co-product could replace more petroleum products such plastics, film and coatings.
POET has announced the new product, called “Inviz,” which the company says could be used to make a variety of petroleum-based ingredients in household products ranging from pill coatings to plastic packaging.
Inviz is POET’s brand of zein, a biodegradable, low-nutrient protein found in corn. It can be used as a gum base or in films, packaging, adhesives, coatings and glazes. Inviz zein is extracted using a patent-pending process developed by POET.
Inviz is derived from the less valuable protein in POET’s Dakota Gold HP® distiller’s grains. It differs from other zein products because POET’s production process fractionates the corn kernel and ferments ethanol without using heat. For that reason, Inviz is a more pure corn protein than other zein products, which are typically exposed to sulfur dioxide in the wet-milling process.
POET’s research into zein started in 2004 through collaboration with the National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research (NCAUR) in Peoria, Ill. Those efforts ramped up considerably 2.5 years ago with the hiring of Senior Scientist John Lawton, a leader in zein research, from the NCAUR. Lawton was intrigued by the potential for zein in POET’s no-cook ethanol production.
“Inviz can be used to make biodegradable plastics, time-release capsules for pills and other substances, varnish, there are just so many possibilities,” Lawton said. “It has been the focus of much of my research throughout my career, and I’m excited to see this product brought to market.”
A $3.5 billion dedicated ethanol pipeline may be extended to South Dakota. POET LLC and Magellan Midstram Partners LP are studying the feasibility of the 1,800-mile pipeline.
“With South Dakota being in the top five of ethanol producing states and having almost a billion gallons of production capacity, that just made sense,” said POET spokesman Nathan Schock. The extended pipline is dependent upon studies addressing technical issues and Congress revising the U.S. Department of Energy’s loan guarantee program, the companies say.
If built, the route would begin in Davison County, S.D. — further west than O’Brien County, Iowa, as originally planned — and deliver the alternative fuel from plants in Iowa, South Dakota, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio to distribution terminals in the northeastern United States.
Magellan has been working with the Association of Oil Pipe Lines for years on how to transport ethanol through a pipeline, said spokesman Bruce Heine. But he added that the biggest challenge is stress corrosion cracking, in which ethanol tends to cause internal cracking of carbon steel pipe more so than gasoline or diesel. Magellan thinks the solution will be a combination of potential additives to help protect the pipe and the use of different welding techniques.
Schock said POET is taking the lead on market analysis for the project, while Magellan is addressing technical and issues. The two are working together on legislative challenges. He added that he hopes for a decision on whether to move forward by the end of year or early 2010.
A ethanol blender pump fuel promotion was held last week at 1201 6th Street in Manning, IA that sold the domestically made fuel at a substantial discount. E20 sold for 20 cents off regular pricing, E30 was sold for 30 cents off, E50 sold for 50 cents off, and E85 sold for 85 cents off or $1.05.
“I thought the event was very successful, it was fun to see the community get involved in an ethanol promotion event. I think it’s important to give consumers what they are looking for: more choices at the pump that will positively affect their pocket book but also support our local farmers,” said Sara Courter, Market Development Coordinator for Growth Energy.
“We were very happy to assist in making the Aspinwall Co-Op Pump Promotion and Grand Opening in Manning a huge success. Growth Energy is dedicated to expanding the market and educating consumers and this is another great example of that. By giving consumers more choices at the pump with clean, green homegrown ethanol, we’re not only helping decrease our dependence on foreign oil, but also boosting our local economy,” noted Nicole Oliver, Communications specialist for Growth Energy.
Sponsors of the event included IA Corn Growers Association, IA Renewable Fuels Association, Growth Energy, Aspinwall Cooperative, Manning Motors, CENEX and POET. The station also offered free bratt burgers, hamburgers, and t-shirts during the promotion.
Attendees of the recent Fuel Ethanol Workshop and Expo in Denver, Colorado heard something they most likely already knew: the past year was a rough one for the ethanol industry.
While some folks such as Mike Bryan, CEO of BBI International point out that much of the green fuel’s woes were a concerted effort by those outside of the industry to spread misinformation, Bryan and Bob Dinneen, President and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association insisted it’s time for ethanol to take back the message and spread the good news… like the fact that the industry has created 500,000 jobs and pumps $66 billion into the American economy.
Others focused on how new, alternative feedstocks, in particular, cellulosic, and advances in corn technology will make it possible to have the food, feed and fuel this country needs in the years to come.
It was a fascinating discussion, and we bring you a bit of the conversations from FEW in this latest edition of the Domestic Fuel cast. Listen to folks like Bryan; Dinneen; Dave Vander Griend, CEO of ICM Incorporated; Jeff Broin, CEO of ethanol producer POET; David Hiller, Executive Director of the Colorado Renewable Energy Collaboratory; and Larry Johnson from the North American Business Development division of biomass ethanol producer Inbicon here:
POET CEO, Jeff Broin, announced a new division for the company this morning at the Fuel Ethanol Workshop. POET Biomass will be “a division of POET devoted to managing harvest and transportation logistics for corn cobs – POET’s cellulosic feedstock – as well as waste wood and other feedstocks to be used for cellulosic ethanol and alternative energy projects at their production facilities.”
In addition to the new division, Broin, says the company has installed an anaerobic digester at POET’s pilot cellulosic plant in Scotland, SD to create a “a self-sustaining energy cycle for producing cellulosic ethanol.”
Corn cobs at Project LIBERTY will not only be used to produce ethanol; the liquid waste will go to an anaerobic digester to power the cellulosic plant and offset natural gas usage at the attached grain ethanol plant as well. That’s renewable energy created at the plant, powering the plant and powering the adjacent facility.
Members of the biofuels industries, including those growing the feedstocks to make the green fuels of ethanol and biodiesel, made their way to Washington, D.C. this week to try to stop the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from implementing rules that the biofuels folks will hurt their industry.
The biggest point of contention is the EPA’s Indirect Land Use proposal that could end up making American biodiesel ineligible to be part of the Renewable Fuels Standard… endangering the biodiesel industry and the very standard designed to lower the amount of greenhouse gas emissions. And while ethanol is getting a pass for now, those from that industry are worried how the Indirect Land Use provisions, which estimates the deforestation of rain forests in places such as South America based on how much in row crops U.S farmers grow, could eventually affect them.
Those testifying at the EPA hearing included Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen; Steve Ruh, chair of the National Corn Growers Association’s Ethanol Committee; the National Biodiesel Board’s Manning Feraci; the American Soybean Association’s Vice President Ray Gaesser, a soybean producer from Corning, Iowa; POET Vice President for science and technology Dr. Mark Stowers; and Brent Erickson, executive vice president of the Biotechnology Industry Organization’s Industrial and Environmental Section. About 60 people testified at this hearing.
Numerous biofuels representatives testified at a day-long hearing Tuesday in Washington DC on the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rulemaking for the Renewable Fuels Standard.
National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) testified that corn growers have serious concerns about assumptions in the proposed rule regarding indirect land use changes. Ethanol Committee Chairman Steve Ruh says EPA has failed to take into account modern agricultural practices and biotechnology that are increasing both corn yields and ethanol production.
“Over the past nine years, a time when ethanol production grew dramatically, for every bushel required for the increased ethanol market, 2.89 new bushels were grown on the same acres, thus requiring no additional acres be brought into production for the purpose of ethanol,” Ruh testified.
POET VP for science and technology Dr. Mark Stowers told EPA that the model for calculating indirect land use changes is “flawed and has no basis in law or science.”
Stowers urged EPA officials to visit a modern ethanol plant to “obtain real data about the industry, rather than relying on unproven models, hypotheses and assumptions.”
About 60 people testified at the hearing yesterday, split about evenly between those who supported the rule and those who wanted to see changes.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that it is seeking public comments on the “Green Jobs Waiver” that was submitted several weeks ago requesting the current ethanol blend be increased from 10 percent ethanol (E10) to 15 percent (E15). Since 1978, the limit has been set at E10 for conventional (non flex-fuel) vehicles. The comment period will be open for 30 days after the notice is published in the Federal Register which is expected to happen on April 22nd. Last month, the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) certified all current dispensers and components for E15.
In a company statement, Jeff Broin, CEO of POET said, “Lifting the arbitrary cap and allowing ethanol blends of up to 15 percent is our nation’s means to achieve commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol, green jobs and a better environment. It is important that Americans use this comment period to let the Environmental Protection Agency know how important homegrown ethanol is to our nation.”
Growth Energy and 54 ethanol manufacturers submitted the E15 application to EPA on March 6, 2009. Current statute calls for EPA to make a decision within 270 days of receipt, which is December 1, 2009. It is imperative for the biofuels industry that the blend wall is increased in order for the ethanol industry to achieve the biofuel levels as set out in the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS). Increasing the blend wall will also help ensure that there is a market for cellulosic ethanol when full-scale plants come online.
According to a POET press release, POET Biorefining in Bingham Lake, Minnesota, has used a new technology wich will eliminate water discharge providing a more efficient way to produce ethanol.
The 35 million gallon per year facility currently uses less water than average plants. Bingham Lake facility used 3.42 gallons of water to produce one gallon of ethanol. With zero-liquid discharge, that is cut by 23 percent, to an estimated 2.64 gallons of water per gallon of ethanol.
“This process is yet another way POET is working to continue making ethanol production more efficient,” POET CEO Jeff Broin said. “Zero-liquid discharge technology benefits the plant, the community and all the area water users.”
Additional POET facilites use innovative ways to cut water use including: Corning, Iowa; Portland, Indiana; and Big Stone, S.D. POET plants on average use 3 gallons of water per gallon of ethanol.
EPA recently held a ceremony and awarded Missouri Joint Municipal Electric Utility Commission (MJMEUC) with an ENERGY STAR Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Award. This award was in recognition for their reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions at the POET Biorefining – Laddonia, Mo., ethanol plant.
“EPA is proud to recognize the outstanding pollution reduction and energy efficiency innovations of this project by presenting this award. The heat recovery system is contributing to a cleaner and healthier environment,” said Acting Regional Administrator William Rice.
By using a natural gas-fired turbine, about 26 percent less fuel is used at the Laddonia plant. This equates to a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by an estimated 31,000 tons per year.
POET CEO Jeff Broin said, “We want to thank the Missouri Joint Municipal Electric Utility Commission for helping POET in its mission to further reduce the environmental impacts of transportation fuel. As this partnership demonstrates, we are committed to making the production of ethanol even more efficient.”
The Sioux Falls Landfill is now providing methane gas to help power the daily operations of POET’s 105 million gallon per year ethanol plant in Chancellor, South Dakota.
POET CEO Jeff Broin joined representatives from the City of Sioux Falls and the Landfill Methane Outreach Program (LMOP) of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Sioux Falls Landfill on Friday.
Among those on hand for the event was LMOP program manager Swarupa Ganguli with the EPA, who explained that the program is a voluntary partnership that promotes the use of landfill gas as an energy source. “This is one of three projects in the country where landfill gas is used in the production of ethanol and the first in the state of South Dakota,” said Ganguli. “The annual environmental benefits from using this gas for power is equal to removing emissions from more than 27,000 passenger vehicles, removing carbon dioxide emissions from more than 344,000 barrels of oil or sequestering carbon with nearly 34,000 acres of pine or fir forests.
The 10-mile, low-pressure pipeline from the Sioux Falls Regional Sanitary Landfill began supplying methane to the plant at the end of February, ahead of the expected completion date. The POET plant will utilize the landfill gas in a wood waste-fuel boiler to generate process steam. Combined, the two alternative energy sources will initially offset up to 90 percent of the plant’s process steam needs currently met using natural gas and has the potential to replace 90 percent of the plant’s total energy needs (combined with waste wood) over time.
The nation’s largest ethanol producer is joining forces with a fuel transportation and distribution company to work on the development of a pipeline to deliver ethanol from the Midwest to distribution terminals in the northeastern United States.
South Dakota-based POET just signed a joint development agreement with Magellan Midstream Partners of Tulsa, Oklahoma to continue assessing the feasibility of constructing a dedicated ethanol pipeline.
The proposed common carrier pipeline system would gather ethanol from production facilities in Iowa, South Dakota, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio to serve terminals in major Northeastern markets. The project, preliminarily estimated to cost in excess of $3.5 billion, would span approximately 1,700 miles and would take several years to complete.
The feasibility of this project is dependent upon the successful outcome of ongoing studies addressing technical and economic issues associated with the transportation of ethanol via pipeline. In addition, federal legislation revising the U.S. Department of Energy’s loan guarantee program is critical for a project of this nature to move forward.