POET produces cellulosic ethanol from corn cobs

Cobs and fiber to be feedstock for commercial cellulosic production facility constructed in joint effort with U.S. Department of Energy

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

POET, the largest dry-mill ethanol producer, announced that they have produced cellulosic ethanol from corn cobs. The company announced the results of the successful test today along with their intentions to make cobs and corn fiber the feedstock for their commercial cellulosic ethanol production facility that will be jointly funded with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

Jeff Broin, CEO of POET, said, “For a host of reasons, POET is focused on corn fiber and cobs as the first cellulosic feedstock for our production facilities. First, the fiber that comes from our fractionation process will provide 40 percent of our cellulosic feedstock from the corn kernels that we are already processing in our facility. That means that nearly half of our cellulosic feedstock comes with no additional planting, harvest, storage or transportation needs.” POET has also produced cellulosic ethanol from fiber, the husk of the kernel, which is extracted through its proprietary BFRAC fractionation process.

“The rest of the cellulosic feedstock will come from corn cobs,” said Broin, “which will expand the amount of ethanol that can come from a corn crop with minimal additional effort and little to no environmental impact. There is no major market for cobs, so we will be producing cellulosic ethanol from an agricultural residue and because the cob is only 18 percent of the above ground stover, it will not adversely impact soil quality.”

Dr. Mark Stowers, VP of Research & Development for POET said the cob has several advantages from an ethanol production perspective. “The cob has more carbohydrate content than the rest of the corn plant, giving us the ability to create more ethanol from the cob,” said Stowers. “In addition, the cob has higher bulk density than the other parts of the corn stalk, so it is easier to transport from the field to the facility.”

The cellulosic project that POET is jointly funding with the DOE will convert an existing 50 million gallon per year (mgpy) dry-mill ethanol plant in Emmetsburg, Iowa into a commercial cellulosic biorefinery. Once complete, the facility will produce 125 mgpy, 25 percent of which will be from cellulosic feedstock. By adding cellulosic production to an existing grain ethanol plant, POET will be able to produce 11 percent more ethanol from a bushel of corn, 27 percent more from an acre of corn, while almost completely eliminating fossil fuel consumption and decreasing water usage by 24 percent. Last week, POET announced that Jim Sturdevant, a 22-year veteran of the US Geological Survey, will serve as director of the project.

About POET
POET, the largest dry mill ethanol producer in the United States, is an established leader in the biorefining industry through project development, design and construction, research and development, plant management, and marketing. Formerly known as Broin, the 20-year old company currently operates 20 production facilities in the United States with seven more in construction or under development. The company produces and markets more than one billion gallons of ethanol annually. For more information, go to

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