Wednesday, March 30, 2011
POET wants to help alleviate high gas prices by drastically increasing ethanol supplies in large part through expansion in cellulosic ethanol, but the industry needs market access to make that happen, POET CEO Jeff Broin told the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry today.
Broin testified in Washington, D.C. at the committee’s “Hearing to examine high gas prices and how new rules and innovative farming can help”.
Broin relayed research data to committee members that showed how ethanol already keeps retail gasoline prices about 17 cents per gallon lower, saving drivers more than $100 per year.
“The solution to keep gas prices lower is for American motorists to have an alternative to gasoline,” Broin said. “That alternative is available today – in homegrown, renewable ethanol.”
Today's impact could be much greater through future expansion, Broin said. Technology for POET's Project LIBERTY, a planned 25-million-gallon-per-year cellulosic ethanol plant in Emmetsburg, Iowa, has been reviewed by the Department of Energy, and the company is awaiting a loan guarantee to begin construction.
“Our first commercial [cellulosic ethanol] project, which is scheduled to start up late next year, will create about 300 jobs and launch an industry that will create almost 90,000 direct jobs just by meeting minimum targets in the RFS,” Broin said.
Barriers to the market have slowed development, and Broin urged senators to block attempts to prevent 15 percent ethanol (E15) – recently approved by EPA after extensive testing – from entering the market. He also encouraged ethanol tax credit reform by redirecting those funds to build out ethanol blender pump infrastructure along with a requirement for Flex Fuel Vehicles and loan guarantees for dedicated ethanol pipelines.
“With those elements in place, the oil industry would no longer enjoy exclusive access to 90 percent of the fuel supply,” Broin said. “The best way to lower prices for consumers is to allow ethanol to compete with oil in the marketplace.”
Finally, Broin encouraged members to provide stable government policy so that those working to build cellulosic ethanol capacity can move forward with confidence.
Broin’s written testimony is available on the POET website [link].
POET, the largest ethanol producer in the world, is a leader in biorefining through its efficient, vertically integrated approach to production. The 23-year-old company produces more than 1.7 billion gallons of ethanol and 9 billion pounds of high-protein animal feed annually from 27 production facilities nationwide. POET also operates a pilot-scale cellulosic ethanol plant, which uses corn cobs as feedstock, and will commercialize the process in Emmetsburg, Iowa. For more information, visit http://www.poet.com.
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