Poet to idle Macon plant due to drought

By POET Biorefining – Macon | January 25, 2013

Poet Biorefining–Macon will temporarily suspend plant operations effective Feb. 1 due primarily to a lack of available local corn.

All of the plant’s 44 team members will remain employed at their current hours. Many will assist in installation of the approximately $14.5 million in upgrades to the plant that will occur during the down time. The plant will also continue to purchase corn for future use as it is available. There is currently no timeline for resuming production.

POET Biorefining—Macon, which started operation in 2000, is located in one of the worst-hit areas of last season’s drought, leaving it unable to source corn locally or bring corn in from other areas at a competitive price.

“Macon has been a very successful plant within the Poet network,” POET CEO Jeff Lautt said. “Once conditions improve, I know the plant and its hard-working team members will continue to make POET-Biorefining—Macon a star.”

The plant is in the early stages of construction on a number of upgrades that will improve profitability further once production resumes. Those include:

Voilà corn oil technology, which will provide an additional product for new revenue

Full BPX technology, POET’s patented “no-cook” process that significantly reduces heat/energy use

A new control system

A new, more efficient evaporator

A new administration building and scale house

“We’re all excited to see these upgrades taking effect,” Board President John Eggleston said. “It’s investments like these that will ensure continued long-term success for the plant.”