GENERATING A SOLAR SOURCED FUTURE Innovation and solar energy drive POET forward vitalbypoet.com | 1
open doors to big solutions POET.COM
When the first POET plant opened over thirty years ago, it opened the door to endless world-changing possibilities. Beyond that threshold we’ve discovered a world of innovative renewable energy solutions. Biofuels, nutrient-rich proteins and oil alternatives are just the beginning.
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Vital magazine is a news and media resource managed by POET, the world’s largest producer of biofuels. Since 2007, Vital has provided readers with forward-thinking content that helps to advance an industry that provides renewable energy and bio-based products from the surface of the earth. Vital seeks to educate readers about the state of the biofuels sector today and the breakthrough stories of innovation and sustainability of tomorrow by presenting a variety of perspectives and insight. Each issue features in-depth, quality reporting on important topics, such the fight against the climate crisis, innovation in agriculture, local and national policy landscapes and stories of the men and women advocating to advance bioethanol and other renewable bioproducts. Vital by POET is committed to editorial excellence, along with high quality print production and distribution. In the spirit of its continued commitment to being good stewards of the environment, POET is proud to produce Vital using 100% recycled paper when printed. Additional reporting can be found online at vitalbypoet.com. The opinions and statements expressed by content contributors and advertisers in Vital are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of POET. Neither POET nor its third-party content providers shall be liable for any inaccuracies contained within Vital, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.
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To Subscribe Visit vitalbypoet.com to receive a digital magazine Vital is published quarterly by POET, LLC and other individuals or entities. All materials within are subject to copyrights owned by POET. POET, JIVE, Dakota Gold, BPX, ProPellet and other associated designs and logos are registrations or trademarks of POET, LLC. Growth Energy is a registration or trademark of Growth Energy, a non-profit corporation organized under the laws of the District of Columbia. Any reproduction of all or part of any document found in Vital is expressly prohibited, unless POET or the copyright owner of the material has expressly granted its prior written consent to so reproduce, retransmit or republish the material. All other rights reserved. For questions, contact the POET legal department at 605.965.2200. The opinions and statements expressed by content contributors and advertisers in Vital are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of POET. Neither POET nor its third-party content providers shall be liable for any inaccuracies contained within Vital, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. ©2021 POET, LLC. All rights reserved.
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10 | E15 Brings Big Benefits
06 | In Sight
Growth Energy study shows that nationwide E15 would bring environmental and economic benefits
By Jeff Broin
20 |New Perspectives, Same Commitment
By Brian Hefty
Fairmont plant brings wealth of new experience to POET
32 | Generating A Solar Sourced Future Innovation and solar energy drive POET forward
44 | Never Satisfied Class of 2021 Meet the recipients of this year’s POET Never Satisfied Scholarships
16 | Farm Fresh
43 | Mechanics Corner Automotive advice from the Under the Hood radio show
58 | Out Of Left Field By Scott Johnson
DEPARTMENTS 08 | Policy Corner 28 | People of POET 40 | NASCAR® Update 52 | POET PAC 56 | Prime the Pump
Upper Left: POET’s Solar Farm construction | Upper Right: E15 brings big benefits Bottom Left: Alex Seigel (Never Satisfied Scholarship recipient) walks through Augustana University Bottom Right: POET Bioprocessing – Fairmont
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The Biofuture is Coming... By Jeff Broin, Founder and CEO of POET For more than three decades POET has been on the front lines, fighting countless battles alongside our many allies to help blaze a trail for the biofuels industry. We have encountered our fair share of challenges, but our team has always been equipped with the tenacity it takes to dust ourselves off and keep going despite the obstacles we encounter. Like any army, the key to victory has always been our strategy. Although we know we’re fighting for the right side, we are still an emerging industry — an underdog compared to our opponents: David versus Goliath. That’s why we’re always working to anticipate what is to come and strategizing accordingly. Sometimes that strategy involves significant changes, like renaming the company, merging all our divisions or growing by 40% virtually overnight. Other changes may seem a bit more subtle, but regardless, every decision is made with the future in mind. Several months ago, I announced that POET would be introducing the term “bioethanol” to our vocabulary. Adopting a new word
doesn’t mean we made any changes to the exceptional product we’ve been producing for thirty years, but adding the prefix “bio” — which means “life” — aligns us with the terminology used by the rest of the world and simply serves as a better word to describe the clean, green nature of our product. In recent years, “bio” has gained popularity and recognition in the context of climate solutions. You’ve probably heard media references about the transition to the bioeconomy, a term widely used to refer to the use of biotechnology and biomass in the production of goods, services and energy. Sounds like somewhere we fit in, doesn’t it? With all that being said, I’m excited to announce that we recently instituted some additional changes at POET that will enhance our strategy as we continue to play an increasingly substantial role in constructing the global bioeconomy. Moving forward, POET Ethanol Products will be known as POET Biofuels, POET Nutrition will be known as POET Bioproducts and POET Biorefining will be known as POET Bioprocessing. We’ve also established a new group for our POET Pure brand, which includes our renewable CO2, dry ice, purified alcohol and consumer products. I believe renaming these divisions is a change that will have a positive impact on POET’s future. Many of you will also notice a change to the signs at our production facilities, which will now read, “POET Bioprocessing – Location.” To us, the term “processing” more accurately describes what we do than “refining,” which brings to mind images of oil refineries, smokestacks and pollution. This rename is a new component of our strategy that will help set us even further apart from our competition, strengthening our role as a green, Earth-friendly solution in yet another great battle against the impending threat of climate change. At POET, we know the Biofuture is coming — and we’ll be ready.
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Year-round E15: The Fight Continues By Jessica Sexe In July 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit reversed a 2019 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule change that lifted outdated restrictions on the yearround sale of E15 related to the Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) volatility waiver. What is RVP? RVP is a term that refers to the measurement of the volatility of gasoline or the emissions associated with the evaporation of the fuel. In general, more evaporative emissions can lead to more smog formation, especially in the summer when heat and sunlight increase the evaporation of fuel and the creation of smog. Lower RVP gasoline means fewer emissions from evaporation at the fuel site. A long and winding road In order to combat the rising issue of smog, especially in major American cities, the Clean Air Act prohibits the sale of gasoline with a higher volatility during the summer season of June 1 to Sept. 15. In 1990, Congress amended the Clean Air Act to provide an RVP waiver for fuel blends “containing gasoline and 10% ethanol.” Despite the fact that bioethanol increases fuel volatility when it is mixed with gasoline at lower concentrations, Congress wished to encourage use of the burgeoning fuel in recognition of its other environmental, energy and economic benefits. At the time, E10 was the highest bioethanol blend sold, and was available in only limited quantities
nationwide. By the late 2000s, however, E10 became the predominant fuel blend available for vehicles in the United States. The bioethanol industry then sought to bring a higher bioethanol blend — E15 — to market to even further take advantage of bioethanol’s blends. Among other benefits, the vapor pressure and tail pipe emissions of E15 are less than E10, and bioethanol blends above E10 will actually reduce total RVP emissions from today’s level. Put simply: if reducing smog, limiting greenhouse gases and improving air quality is a national goal of the Clean Air Act, E15 is the best fuel available for most cars on the road today. A win, a setback Upon issuing the 2019 rulemaking that allowed for the sale of year-round E15, the EPA declared the renewable fuel blend “substantially similar” to E10 and extended the RVP waiver to gasoline containing 10% bioethanol to E15. This action led the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufactures and others to file a lawsuit challenging the EPA’s actions. Growth Energy and others along with
the EPA fought to protect the 2019 rulemaking. Unfortunately, the three-judge panel found that the original RVP waiver that allowed for the sales of E10 did not apply to E15. Summer 2021 driving season likely protected In response to the court ruling, there are multiple actions that could be taken to ensure access to year-round E15. Fortunately, the 2021 summer driving season — the second in the books for yearround E15 — is almost certainly protected. This is because bioethanol advocates are appealing the decision to ask the nation’s second-highest court for an en banc hearing — a hearing before all 11 judges of the D.C. Circuit Court. This should allow for the protection of E15 throughout the remainder of the 2021 summer driving season as the process could last months. Other opportunities In addition to an en banc hearing, the EPA could act on its own to lower the RVP of the gasoline blend stock that is combined with bioethanol to make a finished fuel. However, this pathway could take considerably longer than other options. Legislation to allow the year-round sale of E15 could also provide a permanent fix to seasonal restrictions. Bioethanol supporters, including POET, are already working to garner support from biofuel champions at the Capitol and will work to include E15 legislation in any bill that has a path toward passing through Congress. The stakes couldn’t be higher on climate The Biden Administration has made climate a top priority, and E15 is a ready solution to help the administration meet its climate goals. E15 is a low-carbon, liquid fuel option to immediately reduce the GHG emissions from the 270 million vehicles on the road today. Year-round, nationwide E15 could reduce CO2 emissions by more than 17 million tons, the equivalent of removing nearly four million cars from the road. A comprehensive lifecycle analysis found bioethanol’s carbon intensity is 46% lower than the average carbon intensity of gasoline with some bioethanol in the market today achieving even higher reductions. Economic incentive As the nation continues to recover from the economic effects of COVID-19, rolling back higher bioethanol blends at the pump prevents drivers across the country from accessing affordable, available fuel blends — like E15 — and increases consumption of fossil fuels. Clean, renewable biofuels also support approximately 300,000 U.S. jobs, and increasing the use of E15 can support more than 182,000 additional jobs. In the last decade, American families have selected E15 to fuel nearly 25 billion miles driven because it is a lower-cost, higher-octane option at the dispenser, saving drivers up to $0.10 per gallon. Restricting summertime sales of E15 would increase costs for drivers, allowing oil companies to pocket as much as $3.4 billion with cleaner more affordable biofuel blends pushed out of the market.
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E15 Brings Big Benefits Growth Energy study shows that nationwide E15 would bring environmental and economic benefits By Steve Lange In April, President Biden announced two new goals for the United States: a 50 percent reduction in greenhouse gas pollution and an additional 10 million clean energy jobs by 2030. “This clean energy goal prioritizes American workers,” President Biden told the Leaders Summit on Climate. “Meeting the 2030 emissions target will create millions of good-paying, middle class jobs ... [including] farmers using cutting-edge tools to make American soil the next frontier of carbon innovation.” Despite a recent setback from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, which reversed the 2019 EPA ruling that allowed for the sale of year-round E15,
biofuel producers and industry advocates are confident the clear benefits of E15 — including direct links to policy priorities laid out by the Biden Administration — will help ensure the continuity of year-round E15 sales. Keywords in Biden’s address at the Leaders Summit on Climate — “farmers,” “cutting-edge,” “carbon innovation” — align perfectly with nationwide E15, says Doug Berven, POET’s Vice President of Corporate Affairs. “We are very positive about what the current administration wants to do to reduce greenhouse gases by 2030,” he says. “That’s nine years away. If we’re going to do that, we have to start today.”
“Bioethanol is the only option that’s immediately available, universally affordable and clean. If we want to reduce greenhouse gases, let’s start with E15. And the kicker is, it’s better for everybody’s wallet.” Doug Berven, POET’s Vice President of Corporate Affairs.
A new study also reinforces E15’s big-picture economic benefits A recent study by ABF Economics titled “The Economic Impact of Nationwide E15 Use” found that nationwide use of the 15 percent bioethanol blend would add $17.8 billion to the U.S. GDP, support more than 182,000 additional jobs, generate $10.5 billion in new household income and save consumers $12.2 billion in fuel costs. “This study really bolstered what we knew to be true,” says Chris Bliley, Senior Vice President of Regulatory Affairs at Growth Energy, the country’s largest bioethanol trade association. “It reinforced that moving to nationwide E15 would have substantial benefits not only for the bioethanol industry, but for agriculture and, frankly, for consumers and governments across the country.” For Berven, one of the biggest takeaways from the study centers on the $3.4 billion in tax revenue — an additional $1.8 billion for the federal government and $1.6 billion in state and local governments — that would be generated by the nationwide switch to E15. “People can see the real economic benefits that E15 can bring,” says Berven. “The $3.4 billion in tax revenue is important because there’s still a segment that thinks bioethanol is a subsidized industry. There are no subsidies for grain-based bioethanol. All of the economic benefit we create goes right back into the federal, local and state governments at a time when they need it most.” Standardizing E15 throughout the country would require a total of 20.3 billion gallons of bioethanol annually. Currently, America’s 210 bioprocessing facilities (across 27 states) can produce roughly 17 billion gallons, meaning production capacity would need to increase by 3.3 billion gallons annually to meet the projected demand.
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Ramping up bioethanol production would mean more jobs in rural America, more tax dollars for rural communities and more markets for the country’s surplus corn. The ABF Economics report projects that the 3.3 billion gallon increase would require the need for an additional 2.1 billion bushels of corn per year. And nationwide E15 would create a market for more than just corn; POET’s 33 bioprocessing facilities turn that corn into much more than just biofuel. The company produces dozens of coproducts — things like animal feed and corn oil and renewable CO2 — during the bioethanol production process. “We’re not just making bioethanol,” says Berven. “We’re providing clean alternatives to asphalt; we’re making feedstock for renewable diesel.”
“We’re creating a renewable energy system, one that comes from the surface of the land rather than the center of the earth.” Doug Berven, POET’s Vice President of Corporate Affairs
Many convenience store owners, including major chains like Kwik Trip and Casey’s, already realize the benefits of carrying E15, often marketed at fuel stations as Unleaded 88. It costs less, offers higher octane and gives consumers more choices at the pump. And when given those options at the pump, Americans continue to choose E15; drivers bought a record 500 million gallons of E15 in 2019. In addition, E15’s big-picture environmental benefits are clear. According to a recent report by Growth Energy, if E15 replaced E10 as the nation’s baseline fuel, it would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 17 million tons annually. That’s the equivalent of removing nearly four million vehicles from the road. But the nationwide implementation of E15 still faces some hurdles — the reversal of year-round E15 sales being primary among them. In a statement on behalf of Growth Energy, the Renewable Fuels Association and the National Corn Growers Association, the advocacy groups expressed concerns that the decision could decrease summertime E15 sales by as much as 90%. “We are pursuing all available options and will work with the administration and our congressional champions to ensure that we have a solution in place before the 2022 driving season,” the groups said in the statement. Other obstacles in the way of widespread E15 adoption also include the Environmental Protection Agency’s required on-pump labeling of E15 (which currently looks more like an orange-and-black warning label). Biofuel groups also still want to see more refineries required to blend more bioethanol. Therefore, reducing the use of toxic chemicals in the nation’s fuel supply and making sure retailers see some economic advantages for carrying Earth-friendly biofuels.
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“We can expand [market access] exponentially by making long-term infrastructure incentives available to fuel retailers,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor, who spoke to the Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Rural Development and Energy in June. “Growing the share of renewable biofuels in America’s fuel supply is crucial to achieving net-zero emissions and promoting high paying, clean energy jobs in rural America.” The ABF Economics report cut to the heart of E15’s economic advantages with its conclusion: The economic benefits from nationwide E15 use are significant increases in GDP, jobs supported in all sectors of the economy, household income and tax revenue. That was just for the biofuel blend’s bottom-line positives. The report didn’t even touch on the environmental aspects. “The beauty of bioethanol is that it’s got something for everyone,” says Berven. “If the country truly wants to do what’s best for the environment, if they want to reduce greenhouse gases, let’s start with nationwide E15. And if the country truly wants to do what’s best for the economy, if they want to add jobs, let’s start with nationwide E15.”
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Drought Proofing a Crop By Brian Hefty, CEO, Hefty Seed Company From mid-July 2020 to mid-July 2021, we had a grand total of 10 inches of precipitation, including snow, on our farm. We do not irrigate our fields. How is it possible with that tiny amount of moisture that crops can still look good? Although I used the term “drought-proof” in my title, no crop is ever completely tolerant to drought in non-irrigated situations, but below are six things farmers can do so crops can survive and, in some cases, thrive despite dry weather. • Drain tile. I know this may seem strange because drain tile removes water from a field, but more importantly, tiling (and lowering the water table) allows air into the soil. Without air, roots can’t go deep, and deep roots in a dry year are essential. On our farm in the drought year of 2012, our best yields were over the tile lines because that’s where the roots got the deepest early in the growing season. • Balanced, ample fertility. If crops are short on any nutrient, they will pull more water in to try to get that fertility. By having lots of available nutrition in the right ratios (including primary, secondary and micronutrients), crops aren’t forced to waste water that could be saved for later in the year. • Great weed, insect and disease control. Weeds, insects and diseases hurt the availability and the usage of water in crops. Pest control is always more important in a dry year than a wet year. • Selecting “dry weather” varieties. Regardless of the crop (corn, soybeans, wheat, etc.), some varieties do better than others in dry years. Those are obviously the ones to pick in dry regions like where we farm. • Building soil organic matter. For each 1% increase in soil organic matter, soil can hold roughly 4% more water. If a farmer makes a concerted effort to build soil organic matter even 2% over his/her farming career, that’s 8% more water the soil can hold when the next generation takes over that land. • Reducing tillage. No-till is great, but even in strip-tillage, there are distinct moisture savings versus conventional-till. Success in reduced-tillage was almost impossible years ago, but thanks to modern planters and herbicides, the challenges of planting and weed control can easily be overcome. The importance of achieving as much yield as possible each year cannot be understated. It’s not only imperative for farmer profitability, but think of all the end users who count on a steady supply, from livestock producers to bioethanol plants. Fortunately, there are methods like I listed above that allow farms to still do well in tough years like this one. Even 20 years ago, if we had this type of weather you would not see near the total bushels produced you will this year, and I have to believe things will continue to improve even more in the future.
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RIN MARKET RI
What is a RIN?
What is the RFS?
The Renewable Identification Number (RIN) is a numeric code assigned by the EPA to each gallon of renewable fuel produced or imported.
The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) requires oil refiners blend a certain volume of biofuels based on total number of gallons of gasoline sold. RINs are how the EPA monitors if refiners are meeting the RFS requirements.
Biofuel for sale! Biofuel
Refiners are required to blend a certain volume of biofuels and report those RINs to the EPA.
Refiners have the opportunity to make money from the sale of extra RINs acquired through blending biofuels above required quota.
If they blend above their quota they can sell them on the open market to parties in need.
RINs for sale!
Better go to the RIN Market.
Some refiners choose not to blend enough biofuels and need to acquire RINs on the open market.
Fine: Up to $37,500 per day until the quota is met.
o Oh n
What happens if a refiner does not meet its RIN quota?
N RI N RI RI
N N RI
RINs for sale!
Market Opportunity The more refiners not blending their required volume of biofuel, the greater the demand for RINs, leading to increased RIN prices.
RINs for sale!
Since retailers do not have a RIN quota, any RINs acquired through biofuel blending can then be sold. Biofuels allow retailers to have a better and less expensive fuel for customers.
NO RIN QUOTA
Retailers are not required to blend biofuels.
Retailers have the opportunity to make money from the sale of RINs acquired through blending biofuels.
2021 © POET, LLC
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New Perspectives, Same Commitment Fairmont facility brings wealth of new experience to POET By Matt Merritt
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There is a lot at POET Bioprocessing – Fairmont that stands out as unique in the POET family, from technology and co-products to the state in which it operates. But where it counts — culture, plant performance, people — it is very familiar. When General Manager David Cotten talks about his crew, the qualities he lists check all the boxes of a successful POET team. “The culture here is very can-do,” he says.
“The team wants to work, grow, develop and retire here. They want to be team members, to support each other and to make the plant successful.” David Cotten, General Manager
Prime location for logistics, supply POET Bioprocessing – Fairmont is located in southeast Nebraska, about 60 miles west of Lincoln. The plant was built in 2007 by Advanced BioEnergy and later purchased by Flint Hills Resources before coming to POET in an acquisition in June of this year. The plant employs 60 team members. Although the plant was built with a nameplate capacity of 100 million gallons, they have been able to grow to 137 million gallons through optimization since its startup, says Technical Leader Boundy Lovan. Its location, near the intersection of two highways and just 14 miles from Interstate 80, is an advantage in both bringing feedstock in and getting products out. The plant produces about 250,000 tons of distillers grain annually. “We truck our corn in, and we truck a lot of our distillers products out into the local market here. The only thing that we have to move by rail is predominately our bioethanol,” Cotten says. “So that’s a benefit about being where we are: easy access to corn, easy access to some of our customers from a feed standpoint.” POET Bioprocessing – Fairmont grinds about 42 million bushels of corn each year, sourced from local farmers. Cotten says they can count on a steady supply of high-quality feedstock. “The quality of the corn is generally very good, and it’s consistent,” he says. Nebraska: a leader in bioethanol Nebraska is no stranger to the bioethanol industry. It is the second largest bioethanol-producing state in the U.S., trailing only Iowa, and it was among the first to pursue state programs to support the industry in the early 1970s. As with other states in the Midwest, Nebraska has strong support for agriculture and business, Cotten says. The industry has a good relationship with regulators, and people want value-added agriculture — and bioethanol in particular — to succeed. “It’s pro-business: they love corn, they love farmers, they want industry in their state,” he says. “It’s a good state to operate in.”
David Cotten, General Manager at POET Bioprocessing – Fairmont vitalbypoet.com | 2 3
Matt Pedersen, Maintenance Manager at POET Bioprocessing – Fairmont
Fairmont itself is a small town of 515 people, which got its start as a railroad stop in 1971. The people there recognize the value of bioethanol to the economics of the entire area, Cotten says. “They’re invested,” Cotten says.
“It’s a small community. They’re invested in the business, in the success of the business. They want the plant to stay here to provide jobs and income into the community.” David Cotten, General Manager
“We have a full value chain here that we can take raw materials locally, hire local people and produce products that local customers want to buy,” he says. “It’s fun to see that full circle.” Unique strengths Cotten puts his plant in the “elite” category among bioethanol facilities, and much of that is due to operating discipline and processes in maintenance, environmental health and safety, he says. “I think what we bring to the table is a very strong environmental health and safety culture,” he says. “We have some really strong culture … around environmental compliance, stewardship in the community and safe work practices.” Maintenance Manager Matt Pedersen says they have developed effective processes over the years that have enabled them to not only continue operating smoothly but also handle changes in technology and processes.
“Some of the best practices and predictive maintenance visions that we were driving to as a fleet … that’s very beneficial in controlling my unplanned events and downtime,” he says. Keeping people safe is a top priority and a point of pride for everyone at the plant. “We haven’t had a lost-time in … I don’t know how long,” Pedersen says. NexPro® Perhaps the most unique thing POET Bioprocessing – Fairmont brings to the table is its NexPro® high-protein feed product. The plant produces 70-80,000 tons per year. NexPro® represents a consistent 50% protein product, as opposed to standard DDGS with protein in the 24-30% range. This concentrated protein product opens up new opportunities within swine, poultry, dairy, shrimp and finfish nutrition. “The future is in creating animal feed products that are consistent in quality and create value for our end users. Our NexPro® brand represents the work our team and business does each day to focus on food safety and quality to minimize variability in all aspects of working with our products. That focus is a key differentiator in our business and translates into a multiplier of value over traditional DDGs, which we’re excited that Fairmont has,” says Cotten. The process has been a learning experience for all involved. “We’ve done some things that we didn’t think were possible and have de-bottlenecked and just kept working through it,” Pedersen says.
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“It’s the people who make bioethanol.” There’s a lot of biofuel experience at POET Bioprocessing – Fairmont. Among the 60 team members, one stands out in particular for his longevity in this industry. Plant Manager David Gerhart has dedicated his career to bioethanol, dating back to 1983 when he started work at the Hastings, Neb. facility. “It was the first large-scale dry mill bioethanol plant built in the United States, and it was a 10 million-gallon plant at that time,” Gerhart says. Gerhart has been through expansions, evolutions in technology and more. What he has learned is that a good team is the most important component of a successful operation. “Having such a long period of experience, I’ve seen continuous fermentation, I’ve seen batch fermentation, I’ve seen pressure distillations, I’ve seen vacuum distillations.
“And I’ve seen all walks of life of people,” he says. “It’s the people who make bioethanol. If you develop people, the bioethanol comes secondary.” David Gerhart, Plant Manager
opportunity is everywhere if you know where to look
At POET, the workday ends, but the work never does. We’re using renewable resources and our endless passion to create biofuels, nutrient-rich protein and oil alternatives.
PEOPLE OF POET
From Biofuels to Bowling Fostoria Shift Supervisor draws connections between his work at POET and his love for bowling By Andrea Van Essen Most of us have gone bowling at least once in our lives. It’s a familiar process. Select a ball that’s not too light but not too heavy, wait your turn, approach the lane and aim. For most of us, knocking down the pins takes a little bit of skill and a healthy amount of luck. We cross our fingers and hope for the best. For JoJo Ramsey, however, there’s a little more science — not to mention almost 35 years of practice — behind the strike. Ramsey has invested countless hours into his decades-long bowling career, between practicing, studying various techniques and competing. In 2019, he even convinced his employer, POET Bioprocessing – Fostoria, to sponsor his local team. This year, his bowling prowess once again landed him the opportunity to compete at the 2021 USBC Open Championships in Las Vegas. Ramsey has attended the competition six times before, and this year he was determined to find success. This spring, in a competition of over 10,000 teams, his crew placed within the top 250 — an undeniably impressive feat. Ramsey’s hard-working spirit and commitment to his goals — whether in extracurriculars or on the job — are part of what makes him an excellent POET team member. Three decades of bowling Ramsey has been bowling since age three, when he would join his family at the local alley in Fostoria, O.H. “It was something that my dad and all of his brothers did, so I just grew up around it,” Ramsey said. “One of my favorite childhood memories is bowling for leagues on Saturday mornings. I’ve always been a really competitive bowler, and that’s actually what I wanted to do professionally.” It was his senior year of high school when Ohio brought bowling in as a school-sanctioned sport. His team ended up winning the state championship that year. “It was awesome to be a part of that very first year they brought bowling to high school,” he said. Into adulthood, Ramsey has continued to dedicate time to the sport, competing in various leagues, including as part of his POET-sponsored team. He puts in time at the local lanes at least every other week, and he even watches bowling tutorials on YouTube. His favorite channel is called “Brad and Kyle,” which features tips from professional bowlers and has close to 100,000 subscribers. Ramsey explains that there’s a lot more to bowling than simply launching a ball toward some pins. A successful game is the result of careful planning and precision.
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What many people might not be aware of is that no two lanes of bowling are alike. Bowling alleys are able to set the difficulty of their lanes using a special oil pattern. Mineral oil is used to condition the wood and protect it from the wear and tear of heavy bowling balls, but the way in which it’s applied is set by a customizable machine. This allows more oil to be applied in certain spots, creating a unique pattern that affects the direction and speed at which the balls roll. Additionally, every time a ball rolls over the lane, it adjusts the pattern, changing those elements ever so slightly over the course of a game. Serious bowlers like Ramsey have learned how to recognize the oil patterns and adjust their strategies accordingly. “It changes every time somebody throws a bowling ball, so you constantly have to adjust to this invisible force,” he explained. “How your ball reacts to the lane will give you indicators such as which bowling ball to use or where to stand.” At a typical local bowling alley, the oil patterns aren’t particularly challenging, but in the arena of the USBC Open, it’s a different story. “The Open Championships are very tough. It’s not your neighborhood bowling alley where you have some room to miss your target by, say, four or five inches, and you can still strike,” he said. “At the Open Championships, the target to strike is narrowed down to an inch or so.” With all of these strategies dialed in, it’s fair to say that Ramsey is a dedicated student of his craft. Ramsey’s skills as an engineer and attention to detail make him an excellent teacher as well. Leading his team with the heart of teacher As a shift supervisor at POET Bioprocessing – Fostoria, Ramsey manages a crew of three other
team members who handle plant operations. “If any operational challenge comes up, we work through it as a team,” he said. Ramsey started at POET just over ten years ago as a Technician 1. He then received his boiler’s license, and he has been in the role of shift supervisor now for over five years. “Working as a supervisor, I’ve learned that I love to teach. I love helping people grow and get better at their jobs,” he said. According to Dakota Sudlow, General Manager at POET Bioprocessing – Fostoria, supervisors are the first line of leadership. “They’re the ones that are here, day in and day out, nights, weekends and holidays. We depend heavily on them to keep things running smoothly,” Sudlow said. Part of keeping things running smoothly is being a strong leader and a patient teacher for the team. “I think JoJo excels at teaching new team members on a one-on-one basis. He does a great job of being straight and upfront, and he’s always willing to help anyone who’s asking,” he said. “Creating a culture where people are willing to help one another is something we’re incredibly proud of here at POET. Whether it’s employees who are eager to teach and to learn from one another, or a plant that’s willing to support its team and the wider community through sponsorships or volunteer activities, it’s all part of what makes POET a special place to work.” “The team and culture at POET, especially at our Fostoria plant, is second to none,” said Ramsey. “It’s really like a family, especially between the crews and management. Everybody gets along and is super supportive, and the company is great about work-life balance. That’s something that I really appreciate.”
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Generating a Solar Sourced Future Innovation and solar energy drive POET forward By Erin Smith
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POET has always been an industry leader in clean energy. From biofuels that reduce carbon and greenhouse gas emissions to renewable bioproducts created from surfaceof-the-earth ingredients, POET has been on the leading edge of the Renewable Revolution for over thirty years. Now, POET is adding to its suite of renewable solutions with the construction of its first solar farm. The POET Solar Farm will help power the company’s corporate headquarters in Sioux Falls, S.D. It will also showcase POET’s ability to construct similar solar projects for others, adding yet another sustainable service to their ever-growing portfolio. Rod Pierson, Senior Vice President and General Manager for POET Design and Construction (D&C), noted the two-fold purpose of the solar farm. First, to generate solar power and reduce the carbon intensity of POET’s corporate headquarters and also to showcase POET’s expertise in producing a state-of-the-art solar field. “Realistically, we began developing solar projects for our plants, so to a much larger scale than in Sioux Falls,” said Pierson. “As we were investing in that, we thought we’d start with our office. It makes sense because it demonstrates that we can do it, and we’ve identified a few key things that will help solar construction on a larger scale at our biorefineries.
“This is a pretty big opportunity for POET to take a step in our goal to always improve in sustainability and carbon reduction — to show that it’s not just our plants that are driven to be greener, but our office headquarters as well.” Rod Pierson, Senior Vice President and General Manager for POET Design and Construction
The solar farm will generate around twothirds of the electricity needed to power the POET office. It will produce 745,000 kWh of electricity each year, offsetting 630,000 pounds of CO2. Any excess power generated by the farm will go back to the Sioux Falls grid to supply local homes and buildings with clean, renewable power. The energy collected will not only make POET headquarters more sustainable but the Sioux Falls community as well. POET D&C will also contract out to build solar farms for other businesses interested in sustainable practices.
“I see this as an opportunity to do more for other companies in the region.” Rod Pierson, Senior Vice President and General Manager for POET Design and Construction
“We can help those that are interested in reducing their carbon footprint and their electrical costs. A solar farm like POET’s offsets the cost of electricity and pretty quickly pays for itself and the cost of construction,” said Pierson. Office buildings like POET’s benefit the most from solar energy because team members are only in the building during the daytime. The electrical load of the building is highest during the day when the sun is shining, so solar energy is a good fit as a clean, renewable power source. Pierson points out that solar energy is also a good fit for POET’s bioprocessing facilities. “Similar to our office building, but even more importantly, our plants will benefit from solar fields. A solar farm for a plant would have a lot more carbon intensity reduction. The addition of a large-scale solar field would reduce carbon intensity by three or four points in our bioethanol production.”
POET volunteers work to assemble the Solar Farm.
In a recent study from Environmental Health and Engineering, researchers found that greenhouse gas emissions from bioethanol are 46% lower than gasoline. The study attributed a carbon intensity (CI) score to bioethanol that looked at the entire lifecycle of bioethanol — from field to freeway. More importantly, the study demonstrated how the utilization of renewable energy sources, such as solar power, in the production of bioethanol will further drive emissions reductions, increasing the possibility of achieving net-zero biofuel in the future. For Jim Hill, POET’s Process Automation/Electrical Engineering Manager, there is plenty of untapped potential in the field of solar power generation. “Although generating electricity using solar energy has been around for decades, it has been very expensive and has had limited capacity,” said Hill. “In the last three to five years, the cost of installing solar has decreased in some cases by over 50%, with all trends indicating solar becoming even more affordable in the future. Even with the megawatts of solar energy being installed
each year, I feel solar is still in its infancy stages, which puts POET in a great position to continue to build large scale solar farms.” Put simply, solar energy is one of the cleanest, greenest ways to power operations for companies like POET and other corporate entities looking to move into more sustainable practices.
“Solar is definitely a renewable energy source that is here to stay. With POET setting the example for all businesses in Sioux Falls, hopefully others will follow suit.” Jim Hill, POET’s Process Automation/Electrical Engineering Manager
As a part of the building process, local POET team members had the opportunity to volunteer to help with the construction. Working in small groups, team members assembled and installed solar panels on top of support beams mounted by contractors.
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Pierson explained why some elements of construction and implementation were opened up to team members. “We invited team members to help for a few reasons. First, to give people a chance to see the solar farm and be close to it. As soon as the solar farm is up and running, unauthorized personnel won’t be able to enter the field for their safety. Secondly, at POET we give all of our team members an opportunity to be a part of the endeavors our company takes on.”
“We’re a team here, and this shows that every person can be an influential part of what’s happening at POET. These individuals can now look at the farm every day and say ‘I did that. I helped build that.’” Rod Pierson, Senior Vice President and General Manager for POET Design and Construction
As the climate crisis continues to grow, the team at POET remains dedicated to their mission of being good stewards of the environment. Jeff Broin, Founder and CEO of POET, points out the importance of always striving towards improvement and setting an example of sustainability for others. “As climate change impacts our world, it is time we find innovative ways to provide for ourselves and our communities in a way that is in sync with nature,” said Broin. “POET is proud to lead our communities away from dependence on fossil fuels and towards a more sustainable future using the sun, the soil and the seed.” Construction on the POET solar farm began in June and ended in August. Photos and a time lapse video of construction can be viewed at poet.com/solar.
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Shedding Our Skin By Ryan Welsh, Director of Sales & Marketing / Growth Energy Because snakes shed their skin through sloughing, they are sometimes seen as symbols of rebirth, transformation, immortality and healing. This process was a symbol of eternity and the continuous renewal of life by many Native American cultures. The human body, on the other hand, is constantly shedding cells through natural exfoliation to keep our skin vibrant and healthy. As a matter of fact, you’ve shed tens of thousands of cells in the time it took to read to this point. On the track, NASCAR® drivers view their cars as extensions of themselves — as a part of their persona. The car design is of utmost importance to them. A good paint scheme can help build the confidence of the driver and affect every member of a race team, while at the same time, creating a form of psychological warfare on competing drivers. A bad paint scheme can do the opposite. At the marketing level, the purpose of a NASCAR® car paint scheme, or its “livery,” is to attract fans’ eyes to the car; therefore, drawing attention to the car’s sponsor. Since the car’s colors and theme are translated to the driver’s fire suits and caps, often going on to help create additional branding opportunities for the sponsor, the paint scheme is a critical marketing tool. Changing or shedding our skin was not an idea taken lightly this year. Afterall, American Ethanol was a top ten brand in NASCAR® alongside well-known logos like Coca-Cola® and Goodyear®. American Ethanol was reborn as Get Bioethanol on Father’s Day in front of a sold-out crowd at Nashville Superspeedway. The Cup Series had not raced there since 1984, and the outpouring of fans and traffic proved it had been missed. Our new skin was featured on the famed #3 Chevrolet, and in bioethanol industry fashion, we had to overcome hardship to make the debut. Our driver was battling a severe sinus infection and earned a disappointing 28th starting position. The Get Bioethanol team dug in hard, and it paid off: We placed second in Stage 2, earning points and getting some good TV time. Overall, we finished 12th that day and proudly donned our new colors at the finish. As a primary NASCAR® team sponsor of the #3 car, Get Bioethanol works with NASCAR® and the Richard Childress Racing team to carefully choose our paint scheme for certain races. As with all NASCAR® sponsors, the paint scheme can be instrumental in helping connect NASCAR® fans with a branding proposition; the same is true for Get Bioethanol, the fans can wear key bioethanol-related messages. We will continue to have our presence around every fuel port on every car and on the green flag — not to mention in every tank! After all, we are one of the few teams that can showcase both its brand and its product performance during a race, and we believe our transformation to the Get Bioethanol brand will allow us to do both of those things even bigger and better than ever before.
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Bioethanol: Try It for Yourself Russ Evans, Under the Hood Radio Show Host and Mechanic You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Or can you? We mistakenly assumed that everyone in our close circle of mechanics was fully versed and confident on the use of biofuels like bioethanol. As it turns out, we still have some work to do. Recently one of our friends — who we assumed was confident and assured after years of using bioethanol in his own car — came to me with repairs needed to his car. After we made them, he dropped the bomb on us. “Do you think that bioethanol caused this?” He was serious, and we were genuinely concerned. We had to know why he would even ask this question after years of his own use, and his peers assuring him that it was good for his car. Then came the answer. “Well, my dad always said it was bad for my car and still does, and I guess I am still just wondering if he is right.” How many of those who work in the industry right now are asking the same questions when they work with biofuel and promote its use every day? As they pull up to the pump, do they secretly choose a bio-free option? When something has been engrained in our upbringing, it can be extremely hard to reverse. In training, mechanics become experts in vehicle engines, but not necessarily in fuels. Most programs spend minimal, if any, time on the differences between different fuels and what is best for vehicles. That means that often times, if a false statement about fuel is made, especially when it’s passed down through time, the facts can be hard to accept. We spent a half hour explaining the failed system on our friend’s vehicle, and how and why bioethanol could not play a role in the damage. After seeing the evidence, he agreed that it all made sense, but it does prove a point. Even those who work alongside mechanics and should be most receptive are sometimes not. As we have said before, when used correctly, we have never seen a vehicle come into our shop that needed repairs due to damage caused by bioethanol. Choosing biofuel to keep your engine burning cleaner and save money at the pump is a good choice. But after years of hearing misinformation about the fuel — it is going to take real education to get people, even some mechanics, to change their minds. If you are skeptical for any reason and work in the industry, we encourage you to ask someone who knows the facts about cars and biofuels. If you do run into people who are quick to answer that biofuels are bad for your car, ask them how they learned that. Don’t just accept their opinion as fact. The Under The Hood radio show is America’s Favorite Car-talk show heard on over 250 stations, YouTube and a podcast. The Motor Medics, Russ, Chris and Shannon, are three great friends having fun and offering a wide range of automotive advice without the aid of in-studio computers or reference guides. Under The Hood can be found on a station near you, on our podcast app or your favorite podcast site.
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Never Satisfied Class of 2021 Meet the recipients of this year’s POET Never Satisfied Scholarships By Erin Smith In the five years since it started, the POET Never Satisfied scholarship program — named to reflect the determination and resolve of its recipients — has awarded 47 scholarships to students who share POET’s mission to change the world for the better. The program seeks out those whose drive and ambition push them to see the world differently and who take creating change into their own hands. The Never Satisfied Scholarship seeks to reward the future pioneers of industry and innovation for their hard work and encourage them to pursue their dreams. This year, the program awarded $5,000 scholarships to 10 exceptional undergraduate students. These students, though spread across the nation and enrolled in a variety of degree programs, all share the same ambitious goal to make the world a better place. The Class of 2021 truly embodies what it means to be “Never Satisfied.”
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Lily Blechinger, Never Satisfied Scholarship Recipient 46 |
Erica Albert Hometown: Seaford, N.Y. School: Binghamton University Majors: Environmental Law and Policy Erica Albert, like POET, is a champion for environmental issues. Albert, a sophomore environmental law and policy major at Binghamton University, focuses her research on the use of algae blooms to create biofuel. “For as long as I can remember, I’ve been passionate about the environment. That pushes me to want to be a part of change. I want to leave an impact by educating people on sustainability and how we can all be a part of that change.” Albert plans to attend Columbia Law School to become an environmental lawyer. Her career goals include combating climate change and fighting for environmental justice. She plans to encourage corporations and individuals to embrace the promise of renewable energy in order to create a more sustainable future. Albert also plans to establish a nonprofit organization that educates youth on sustainable living to empower them to make a difference and fight climate change. Lily Blechinger Hometown: Sioux Falls, S.D. School: Augustana University Major: Biology/Pre-Mortuary Since learning about the harmful environmental and health effects associated with chemicals used in traditional embalming methods, Lily Blenchinger has advocated to change the field of mortuary sciences for the better. While still in high school, Blenchinger won the Augustana University Science Fair for developing an eco-friendly, non-carcinogenic embalming fluid. “I want to impact the world with positive change and bring innovation to my field. I want to impact with kindness too and make others’ lives smoother and easier.” Today the Augustana University sophomore biology major is ready to change the world through her passion to keep those in her profession safe. Sarah Cheung Hometown: San Francisco, C.A. School: Yale University Majors: Political Science and Computer Science Making waves in her home community as a champion for youth voices, Sarah Cheung stands up for and represents her peers and other young people in the San Francisco area. A San Francisco Youth Commissioner, Cheung works with the city council to represent youth needs in city planning. Cheung is a co-founder of the nonprofit When Youth Vote — an organization focused on empowering young people to vote — and a volunteer at TeenTechSF teaching app development workshops. “My personal upbringing and experiences drive me to be never satisfied. Knowing that sometimes hard work isn’t enough for people to achieve their dreams because of barriers and witnessing other people’s stories drives me to continue in my advocacy.” As a freshman doublemajoring in political science and computer science at Yale, Cheung hopes to combine her passions for technology development and social justice to help shape the world.
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Hometown: Wooster, O.H.
Hometown: Gaithersburg, M.D.
School: Ohio Northern University
Major: Electrical Engineering
Major: Aerospace Engineering
Andrew Cochran comes from a line of never satisfied individuals. A senior studying electrical engineering at Ohio Northern University, Cochran is inspired by his father, who promotes sustainable agriculture in his community. Cochran plans on pursuing a master’s degree in electrical engineering to enter a research career as a college professor in sensor hardware development. He wants to improve sensor safety, efficiency and sustainability. “I want to inspire people to work hard at what they’re passionate about. Not just meeting the minimum expectations, not giving partial effort, but doing the best that you can.” Cochran views humans not as owners of the Earth, but rather stewards, and he wants to help others understand the necessity of sustainability.
Rachel Rosenzweig shoots for the moon — and, quite literally, for Mars. Rosenzweig shows her never satisfied drive in her aspirations to be an astronaut. A freshman at the Georgia Institute of Technology and a solo pilot, she is studying aerospace engineering and hopes to become an astronaut candidate someday. Rosenzweig plans to help design aircraft and hopes to be able to work on the Mars space project. She wants to use her degree to help make aerospace programs more sustainable. “Flying and space exploration is very wasteful. That’s a big issue; I think my impact on the world and everything beyond it is trying to figure out a way to remove and reduce some of that waste.”
Jaden Feterl Hometown: Sioux Falls, S.D. School: University of North Dakota Majors: Biology and Spanish Jaden Feterl refuses to give up on his goals. Feterl dreams of ridding the world of a disease that has affected so many lives: cancer. “I want to be someone who cared about people. That after talking to me, they’ll look back and feel better about themselves.” A freshman at the University of North Dakota, Feterl is double– major in biology and Spanish. He hopes to be able to use his degrees to work with engineers and other doctors to find a cure for cancer using nanotechnology. This method would be non-invasive and less physically demanding than normal treatments. “Never satisfied’ means to have the idea that I’m not done yet, that I still have more to do. In ten years, I’ll still have that drive, I’ll still have more to do.”
Ashna Patel Hometown: Pittsburgh, P.A. School: University of Pennsylvania Majors: Business and Computational Biology Ashna Patel is determined to change the world and is already making progress towards her goals — one student at a time. Patel is the co-founder of STEM & Buds, a program that promotes the educational empowerment of at-risk youth by pairing students with mentors who encourage them to pursue their curiosities in science. “To be never satisfied means to be unconditionally and dependably selfless — realizing that whatever your role is, you can do it with a selfless heart.” A freshman studying for a dual-degree in life sciences and management and business and computational biology at the University of Pennsylvania, Patel plans on becoming an environmental justice researcher and advocate.
Rachel Rosenzweig, Never Satisfied Scholarship Recipient
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Alex Seigel, Never Satisfied Scholarship Recipient 50 |
Chloe Kreuser Hometown: Stevens Point, W.I. School: University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point Major: Environmental Education and Interpretation Chloe Kreuser is not satisfied with the status quo. A senior at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Kreuser is pursuing a degree in environmental education with a minor in sustainable energy. She plans to travel the Midwest educating young people about the potential for clean energy to create a more sustainable future. She plans to advocate for biofuels and their critical role of providing clean energy for future generations without the burdens of fossil fuels. “I want to leave this world as good as possible and have a positive impact on people; allowing people to see the light and be that light for themselves and others.” Alex Seigel Hometown: Moorhead, M.N. School: Minnesota State University Moorhead Majors: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Alex Seigel is truly a “never satisfied” individual. A senior at Minnesota State University Moorhead, Seigel is studying ecology and evolutionary biology with the plan to become a marine biologist. Seigel wants to work in ocean conservation, especially with coral reefs. He wants to educate people on the damage that climate change has on reefs and help implement protective measures for them for the future. “I want to not only help the world in everything I do, but also to inspire the next group of never satisfied individuals. I want them to know they can change the world a little bit at a time.” Grace Timm Hometown: Bainbridge, I.N. School: Taylor University Major: Biochemistry/Pre-Med Working hard to make communities a better place for students on the other side of the world, Grace Timm is the founder of Shoes for Change, a year-long project that collected shoes and funds for students in Nairobi, Kenya. While personally delivering the shoes, she met a young boy with severe scoliosis. Upon returning to the U.S., she created a GoFundMe campaign to fully fund a spine fusion surgery for him. “Passion breeds passion and joy breeds joy. When you have an idea to make the world a better place, you don’t stop until you do. I want to be a passionate and personable caregiver and to make my patients feel safe and heard.” Already incredibly successful at making those around her feel heard and cared for, this freshman at Taylor University plans to dedicate her career to finding new ways to protect pregnant women from preventable labor complications and deaths.
Applications for the 2022 Never Satisfied Scholarship program open in November 2021. To learn more or apply, visit poet.com/scholarship.
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Representative Axne: Strong Supporter of Rural Economies By Erin Smith Congresswoman Cindy Axne represents Iowa’s Third Congressional District. A fifth-generation Iowan, Axne is a small business owner, parent and community activist. With numerous biofuel processing facilities in the state of Iowa, several being in her district, Rep. Axne has actively supported the future of the biofuels industry. We talked with Rep. Axne about the impact of biofuels in the state of Iowa and what the future of the industry holds. Can you tell our readers a little about yourself? I’m Cindy Axne, and I am in my second term representing the third district of Iowa. I serve as a co-chair of the bipartisan House Biofuels Caucus as well as a member of the House Agriculture Committee and the Financial Services Committee. Throughout my time in Congress, I have been a strong supporter of our nation’s biofuels industry and an advocate for farmers and rural communities. Why is the biofuels industry important to you and the future of Iowa? Recently, I was with Secretary Vilsack in Southwest Iowa, and he shared a somber statistic: Nearly 90% of farmers do not make enough income from farming alone to support their family and need off-farm income in order to make ends meet. We also know that opportunities in rural America are becoming harder and harder to come by. Frankly, this is concerning and needs many solutions, but by supporting and expanding a robust biofuels industry, we can provide more price support for our growers and more job opportunities in rural America. Here in Iowa, we have seen firsthand the success of the biofuels industry for our rural communities and farmers. Bioethanol alone supports nearly 50,000 jobs in Iowa, adds billions of dollars to our state’s economy and provides a strong market for our corn growers. Supporting rural Iowa has been a top priority of mine since coming to Congress, and we all know that a strong biofuels industry means a strong rural economy. Why is the development of the biofuels industry critical for economic growth for the U.S. as a whole? As I often tell my colleagues in Congress, every ball bearing for a Ford Explorer made in Detroit is manufactured in Clarinda, Iowa. The point being — we cannot succeed as a country if we don’t support and invest in rural America. I’m proud of the work I’ve done as an advocate for rural communities and that includes being a champion for biofuels.
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Beyond the economic impact, the science tells us that biofuels offer significant carbon and environmental benefits. If we’re serious about decarbonizing our transportation sector, we need to invest in solutions that are available now and not look to technology that will take decades to deploy. Biofuels are that solution for our environment, for our rural communities and for our farmers. Your district currently offers E15. Why do you think consumer choice at the pump is so important? It’s quite simple why we need consumer choice at the pump: We know that when E15 is available, consumer demand increases. E15 is affordable, supports our rural communities and helps decarbonize our environment. All these reasons are why consumers want the fuel and why we need to increase the availability of higher blends of bioethanol beyond my district and to the rest of the country. That’s an issue I have been working hard on in Congress — I have introduced two bipartisan and bicameral pieces of legislation to increase the availability of E15. My biofuels infrastructure legislation, the Renewable Fuel Infrastructure Investment and Market Expansion Act, would provide $500 million to the USDA over the next five years for the deployment of renewable fuel infrastructure, and my Low Carbon Biofuel Credit Act would incentivize retailers to offer higher blends by providing a five-cent tax credit for E15 and 10 cents for blends above that. Any parting information you would like our readers to know? They should know that they have a tireless advocate in me. As soon as I heard rumors that this administration was considering providing RIN “relief” to refineries, I quickly worked with my colleagues and helped lead a bicameral letter to the White House and the EPA expressing the need for a strong RVO. In the week following, I spoke with Secretary Vilsack, EPA Administrator Regan and President Biden about the importance of supporting biofuels and what the detrimental effects would be for our producers and rural communities if the administration gave handouts to oil refineries. While I’ve been pleased with what this administration has said previously about the importance of biofuels, I won’t hesitate to stand up to the Biden Administration if necessary, just as I did to the previous administration. We are also battling frustrating court decisions. Following the Supreme Court decision on Small Refinery Exemptions, the D.C. Circuit Court struck down the year-round E15 rule at the EPA. While disappointing, my colleagues and I have worked quickly to provide a legislative fix to ensure that retailers can provide year-round E15. The ruling had nothing to do with the safety, benefits or quality of E15 — so we need to make sure the EPA has the clear authority to ensure E15 is available to consumers throughout the year. I’ve been working hard to support and expand our nation’s biofuels industry and will continue to do so. We have a significant opportunity for robust investment in biofuels, and the benefits are too clear to not act.
Providing Technologies that Bring More than Food to the Table Our processes and equipment contribute to thousands of products people use every day...from immune-boosting juices to the wine we drink in celebration. Even the condiments on our burgers, the cheese on our sandwiches and the vegetables that nourish us are processed with GEA equipment. Going beyond food, GEA solutions are put to use in power plants, on all types of boats and in water treatment plants. What’s more, sustainability and environmental conservation are key in each and every process we develop. That’s why our commitment to provide the separating technology required to produce renewable biofuels and agricultural co-products is as strong as ever. To learn more about GEA’s centrifuges and separation equipment and the industries we serve, email us at email@example.com, call 800-722-6622, or visit us online at gea.com.
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PRIME THE PUMP
Protec Fuel Provides Resources for Retailers to Make the Switch By Erin Smith The benefits of high bioethanol blends in fuel are becoming increasingly obvious. However, what does a retailer do when they’re interested in learning more about selling E15 and other blends? What resources are available to help them navigate the transition from regular gasoline or E10 fuel to higher blends? How does a retailer market new biofuel to customers? That’s where Protec Fuel steps in. Protec Fuel Management is a bioethanol fuel marketing and solutions company. They work with distributors, retailers and fleets across the nation to provide a broad range of risk management products, as well as supplying over 200 retailers with bioethanol. Steve Walk, COO and Managing Partner of Protec Fuel, discussed Protec’s mission regarding the bioethanol industry.
“Protec Fuel’s business model is to help make the C-store more successful, whether it is in the form of fuel commodity risk management to physical fuel offerings to constructing enhanced marketing techniques that utilize digital marketing and cell phone search applications.” Protec offers clients a variety of services to help them through the process of switching to bioethanol. By answering questions, helping gauge the impact offering higher blends will have on their business, aiding with the transition, supplying bioethanol and helping with marketing and technology strategies to better reach consumers, Protec assists clients through the entire process of switching from regular gasoline to higher blends of biofuels. “Protec is more than just a fuel supplier,” said Walk. “We work directly with retailers from start to finish and beyond. By helping navigate the respective state’s regulations and permitting of construction, to dispenser installation, to marketing and physical fuel supply of bioethanol, we cover all aspects of the switch to higher blends.” The biggest selling point of higher bioethanol blends for fuel retailers is the increase in customer foot traffic. The fundamental goal of retail fuel stations is to get customers at — and hopefully inside — the store. A retailer can increase their customer traffic by having a variety of fuel options, including higher blends of biofuels. This positions the station for greater exposure and a better likelihood that vehicles will stop. With the push towards lower-carbon fuel options in the transportation sector, having renewable fuel options like bioethanol blends makes retailers more competitive. Walk points out that everyone benefits from an increase in biofuel blends. “By helping make the station itself more successful, all participating parties benefit. Whether it is the bioethanol production plant, transport, jobber or station owner, they all enjoy the increased business. Most importantly however, the customer enjoys the lower fuel costs and the higher-octane fuel options.”
Protec specializes in helping retailers increase their customer base. Recently, Protec developed a program to assist retail locations in utilizing proper digital marketing and awareness through various navigation portals. Aside from the marketing exposure this brings, it also allows for data capture on customer searches, desires and eventual purchases that can be used to further cross-sell into other product offerings both inside and outside the convenience store. For Mike O’Brien, Vice President of Market Development for Growth Energy, the services that Protec offers fulfill all the needs of a new retailer looking to offer higher bioethanol blends. “For new retailers, offering E15 is definitely a process,” said O’Brien. “The retailer first has to see the value in E15. The discount the E15 gives over E10, the fact that it’s a good margin opportunity. Next comes infrastructure, the tanks and pumps need to be compatible, making sure nothing needs to be replaced. There’s a fair amount of discussion in that second step to make sure retailers have everything they need to sell E15 and feel comfortable selling it. Finally, comes labeling and marketing it. Once retailers get it into their stores, they realize that its good and makes money, but getting them to that point can prove a challenge.” That is exactly where Protec steps in. Being able to help retailers in every step of the process allows for a much easier transition to biofuels and more peace of mind in knowing how to navigate the switch. By showing the benefits of bioethanol, Protec encourages retailers to make the switch for their own benefit and the benefit of their customers. “E15 is a great replacement for the E10 biofuel of today,” said Walk. “Unlike the changes with E10, where stations across the country had to deal with phase separation issues regularly, sites will not have these issues and expensive frustrations, since 10% bioethanol is already sold.” For more information about Protec and bioethanol, please visit their website, protecfuel.com
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OUT OF LEFT FIELD
The Kitchen Remodel By Scott Johnson, A Thinker of Thoughts My house was built in 1972. It was a groovy time of shag carpet, macramé and fondue pots. The building trends of 1972 represented a paradox of complete lack of character and craftsmanship mixed with unnecessarily gaudy accents. Ours was a very typical dwelling of the period — a split foyer filled with dark oak trim and ornate brass door and cabinet hardware throughout. Also typical of the era was our boxed-in kitchen, dimly lit by a single fluorescent light fixture adorned with lovely painted pink roses. We moved into the house in 2001 — just after we were married. It wasn’t perfect, but it was everything we could afford and everything we needed at the time. It was good, but not great. But from the moment we moved in, we dreamed about changes we would make in the future. The walls would come down. Cabinets redone. Countertops replaced. Someday, we were going to remodel. We continued to dream about our “someday” kitchen over countless boxes of uninspired mac and cheese under the filtered pink glow of the most elegant plastic light fixture 1972 had to offer. And then we blinked, and 20 years had passed. Finally, this spring, we heard the imaginary sound of the last extra penny cha-chinging into our remodel savings account. No more waiting around to see if/when Nixon-era cabinet hardware was coming back into style! We hitched up our britches, strapped on our tool belts and embarked on the genesis of our epic kitchen renovation. (OK, we called a contractor.) After only a single day into the project, we walked in to find a carpet-less, wall-less void, blanketed with a haze of construction dust. Reality truly set in when we saw the pink rose light fixture sitting atop a pile of rubble in a dumpster outside our house. There was no turning back. The next several weeks were stressful as we tried to carry on with life during the project. Various strangers arrived each morning to tear a new area of our house apart, then magically piece it back together better than it was before. Through the chaos, we always appreciated the necessary turmoil to get to our goal. We did our research. We crunched the numbers. We invited this calculated risk into our lives. After the dust literally settled and the final light-switch cover was screwed in, our dream was officially reality. With a newly unobstructed view of our “open concept” living space, we could see the dirty dishes in our new sink, seated from our orange and brown flowered sofa (we didn’t budget for a new sofa.) And they were beautiful dirty dishes. It was our same kitchen, but also brand new. And it was ready for the next 20 years of culinary adventure.
vitalbypoet.com | 5 9
4615 N. Lewis Ave. Sioux Falls, SD 57104
is an endless resource
At POET, we understand that when it comes to energy solutions, the earth provides everything we need, no drilling required. Right here in South Dakota, we use6 0renewable | VITAL resources to create biofuels, nutrient-rich proteins and oil alternatives. Even after three decades, brand new innovations keep sprouting.