POET announces plans for 3.5 billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol in 2022

Technology ready, CEO says, but loan guarantee, policy stability and market access still needed to achieve vision


Wednesday, April 21, 2010 - POET-DSM


POET plans to have a hand in producing 3.5 billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol per year by 2022, POET CEO Jeff Broin said today at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

POET, the largest producer of ethanol in the world, has made enough progress on technology and feedstock development to break ground on its first plant in Emmetsburg, Iowa later this year, Broin said. He is confident it will be the first of many.

According to POET’s plans, the 3.5 billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol will come from three primary sources:
1. One billion gallons of production capacity will come from adding the technology to POET’s existing network of 26 corn-based ethanol plants.
2. Licensing that technology to other corn-based ethanol producers will lead to another 1.4 billion gallons of production capacity.
3. Another 1.1 billion gallons of production capacity will come from a wide variety of other feedstocks from across the U.S. These gallons will be produced by POET or through joint ventures and opportunities where POET Biomass provides logistics support to other producers.

“By 2022, POET plans to be responsible for 3.5 billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol production by adding the technology to our existing facilities, licensing our technology to other producers and finally, transferring our technology to other forms of biomass such as wheat straw, switchgrass and municipal waste,” Broin said. That volume would represent over 20 percent of the cellulosic ethanol mandated in the Renewable Fuel Standard.

Broin said there is a role for policy-makers to play in overcoming the remaining hurdles to commercializing the cellulosic ethanol production process. “In order for this vision to become a reality, policy makers must provide access to the market and the stability needed to attract the large amount of capital that will be required to finance its construction,” Broin said.

POET submitted its application for a loan guarantee with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and looks forward to prompt approval so the company can stay on schedule, Broin said.

“We filed an application with the DOE this morning and need to have a favorable ruling from them this calendar year,” Broin said. “If we get that favorable ruling, we told the DOE that we will start construction by the end of this year, which puts us on track to start up the facility in early 2012.”

Broin ended his speech noting the tremendous opportunity cellulosic ethanol represents for the nation and POET’s commitment to help achieve the targets. “Congress has set a target of 16 billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol by 2022,” Broin said. “This is a lofty goal, but it is achievable. If we can put a man on the moon in less than a decade, a country as great as ours can meet this challenge as well. But we must take the first step. At POET, we are ready. Once policy is stabilized, we are ready to begin construction of our first commercial facility – Project LIBERTY. Then we’ll get to work on meeting our long-term goal of producing 3.5 billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol.” Broin's speech and a link to audio are posted below.

Project LIBERTY is a 25 million gallon-per-year cellulosic ethanol plant in Emmetsburg, Iowa that uses corn cobs as feedstock. POET plans to begin construction this year on the plant, which will be co-located with POET’s current grain-ethanol plant at the site. POET’s pilot-scale plant in Scotland, S.D. is already producing cellulosic ethanol at a rate of approximately 20,000 gallons per year.

About POET
POET, the largest ethanol producer in the world, is a leader in biorefining through its efficient, vertically integrated approach to production. The 22-year-old company produces more than 1.6 billion gallons of ethanol annually from 26 production facilities nationwide. POET recently started up 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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Text of Jeff Broin's comments to the National Press Club
Delivered 4/21/2010

Audio of Jeff Broin's speech and Q&A at the National Press Club
Recorded 4/21/2010