Poet Biorefining-Cloverdale welcomed FEW attendees

By Katie Fletcher | June 12, 2014

It all began from a single, humble refinery in Scotland, South Dakota, and now Poet LLC has grown to one of the world’s largest producers of ethanol. Poet Biorefining-Cloverdale is one of the company’s 27 facilities contributing to the expansion. An industry tour of this facility rounded off the 2014 International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo in Indianapolis. Fifty-five interested FEW attendees took advantage of getting a look at the 92 MMgy facility, with tickets sold out days before the conference.

The facility was purchased by Poet in June 2010, formly operated by Altra Biofuels. The facility underwent an extensive $30 million facility upgrade including installing Poet’s BPX fermentation process, a water recovery system and new pollution control equipment, improving the orginal plant design. The BPX fermentation process uses enzymes instead of heat, reducing energy usage by 10 to 15 percent. The plant was brought back online March 22, 2011, now providing a high performace, environmentally friendly fuel, as well as 246,500 tons of Dakota Gold brand livestock feed per year for regional, national and international markets. The carbon dioxide produced from the fermentation process at some of Poet’s plants is collected, compressed and marketed for use in other industries, but the CO2 at this plant is ultimately reabsorbed by future corn crops.

The facility has the world’s largest grain dryers, consumes 31 million bushels of corn per year and uses about 28,000 BTU per gallon. The plant has enhanced the local Cloverdale economy with improved corn prices, value-added markets for farmers, good-paying jobs with 46 employees at the plant and 200 local jobs and increased local tax revenue. The operation stays busy 24 hours a day and takes time out of that around-the-clock schedule to share how they produce ethanol with people from all around the world.