Water use continues to fall at Poet plants

By | January 04, 2010
News release posed Jan. 20, 2010

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - Poet Biorefining - Preston, Minn., has cut its water use by 13 percent thanks to a recently installed water recovery system. Poet LLC operates a 46 MMgy ethanol plant in Preston.

The new system allows the plant to recycle an additional 19 million gallons of waste water per year from the filtering system at the plant, bringing its total water use per gallon of ethanol down to 2.6 gallons. Poet plants on average use about 3 gallons of water for each gallon of ethanol.

It also means the Poet plant will be using less water from the city of Preston.

"This new process is good for the plant, good for the environment and good for the city of Preston," said Richard Eichstadt, general manager of Poet Biorefining - Preston.

"Water is a precious natural resource and must be managed responsibly," Poet CEO Jeff Broin said. "Despite the fact that our water use has declined more than 80 percent since we started producing ethanol, Poet is constantly looking for ways to use even less water in our production process. The Preston plant is the latest example of that."

Since Poet started producing ethanol in 1987, the company has lowered its water use per gallon of ethanol by 80 percent through a number of creative and innovative techniques. For example, Poet Biorefining - Bingham Lake (Minn.) began operating a zero-liquid discharging system this year. Poet Biorefining - Corning (Iowa), gets most of its water for the cooling process from the Corning Waste Water Treatment Plant. Poet Biorefining - Portland (Ind.) gets all of its water from a nearby quarry. Poet Biorefining - Big Stone (S.D.) gets 80 percent of its water from cooling ponds of an adjacent power plant, and the water is discharged back to the power plant.

Ethanol, like all other energy sources, uses water in the production process. Plants in Minnesota used about 4 gallons of water to produce 1 gallon of ethanol in 2006. That's a water efficiency improvement of 30 percent since 1998, according to a December 2008 study by the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board titled "Managing for Water Sustainability."

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 1.54 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.