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INTERVIEW: Ethanol Producer POET Positioned For Expanding DDGS Markets.

October 11 2010 - Each year US firm POET produces more than 1.6 billion gallons of ethanol as well as 9 billion pounds of high-protein animal feed ingredients.

With 26 biorefineries across seven states in the Midwest, the POET portfolio also includes a pilot-scale cellulosic ethanol plant, which uses corn cobs and light stover to make ethanol. POET plans to commercialize this process in Emmetsburg, Iowa in 2012.

Today, in a interview with Feedinfo News Service, Jim Hansen, Chief Operating Officer at POET Nutrition, analyses and discusses the company's growth plans, current research and the DDGS market.

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Strategy

It is no secret that POET plans to produce 3.5 billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol by 2022.

The company has adopted a three stage strategy to achieve this goal:

1. Expand cellulosic ethanol technology to all POET biorefineries (1 billion gallons)

2. License the technology to allow access to other grain ethanol producers (1.1 billion gallons)

3. Adopt the technology to other feedstock to establish plants in other parts of the country (1.4 billion gallons)

Mr Hansen said: "The first and second pieces of that plan involve using corn cobs and light stover. Light stover includes leaves, husks, and some stalk from the top of the corn plant -- basically the material that comes out the back of the combine. The third piece involves adopting the technology to other feedstock, perhaps switchgrass or woodchips or some other biomass source."

"There is sufficient biomass available to reach this goal. The Department of Energy and Department of Agriculture completed a study a couple years ago estimating that there is more than 1 billion tons of available biomass that could be used in a sustainable manner to produce cellulosic ethanol."

Competition

The company identifies its main competitor as the oil industry. Mr Hansen said: "We support other forms of clean energy and clean fuel, and we realize that our nation must pursue multiple solutions to our nation's problems. Those problems are large enough to accommodate everyone who's working for a clean energy future."

Research

POET continues to install the Total Water Recovery system -- which recycles water that had previously been discharged -- into more of its plants.

Mr Hansen added: "We have a sustainability goal at POET of cutting our water use company-wide by 1 billion gallons of water per year by 2014. Most of our plants are also getting a device invented by a POET team member called the Load Toad, which allows us to load dried distillers' grains more quickly and evenly."

"We continue to work at the POET Research Center on technology that will allow us to produce and sell new co-products. We've recently started producing Inviz, POET's unique brand of zein. This product, which is derived from corn, can be used to replace many petroleum-based films and plastics. We are close to announcing some other exciting new co-products as well."

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Exports - Trade

In April this year Feedinfo News Service reported that Southeast Asia and China have traditionally used corn and soymeal to make animal feed but are now emerging among the world's largest importers of DDGS.

Mr Hansen said: "Our export numbers are confidential, but we sell into every global market available to us. The USGC has taken a leadership role in educating international feed companies on how to feed using DDGS and our own POET Technical Service team of PhD's in animal nutrition has played an important role in the international feed formulation as well."

Outlook

Based on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) requirement of 15 billion gallons by 2015, the industry production on a dry matter basis will be +/- 41.2 million tons.

In addition, it has been claimed that corn and cellulosic ethanol together hold the potential to replace gasoline as the main transportation fuel of the USA.

Mr Hansen said: "If corn hits 300 bushels per acre by 2030, as predicted by Monsanto, we could conceivably produce more than 48 billion gallons of ethanol from corn while adding 40 percent more grain for food and feed. That's all on the exact same amount of land."

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Publication:Feedinfo News Service
Article Type:Interview
Geographic Code:1U4IA
Date:Oct 11, 2010
Words:685
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