Vital Magazine - Spring 2024

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Why biofuels and ICEVs are essential on the roadmap toward reducing emissions




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Vital magazine is a news and media resource managed by POET, the world’s largest producer of biofuels. Since 2008, 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 insights and perspectives.

Each issue features in-depth, quality reporting on important topics, such as 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 recycled paper when printed.

Additional reporting can be found online at 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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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.

©2024 POET, LLC. All rights reserved. |03

18| Driving Decarbonization

Why biofuels and ICEVs are essential on the roadmap toward reducing emissions

28 | Building the Best POET’s Wichita team pursues excellence with its award-winning culture

38 | Technology Meets Tradition

Navigating the impacts of artificial intelligence on modern agriculture

| E15: A Ripple Becomes a Wave

Midwest E15 policies are unlocking


Automotive advice from industry experts

04 | VITAL
access and savings
06 | In Sight By
26 |
Mechanics Corner
58 |
Of Left
DEPARTMENTS 08 | People of POET 16 | PAC 36 | Get Biofuel 46 | Policy Contents
Field |05


Cultivating Carbon’s Future

Nearly 40 years ago — when we started making bioethanol as a way to create new value from corn in the face of a struggling ag industry — our mission was to ensure that agriculture could someday thrive and remain a viable way of life for farm families and rural communities.

Today, as we once again face low commodity prices, that mission is just as critical now as it was then. But in this ever-evolving ag landscape, there remains one constant: bioprocessing is essential to agriculture’s long-term success. That’s why we continue to advocate for biofuel market expansion and positive policy initiatives on behalf of farmers and biofuel producers every day.

Every year, American agriculture continues to improve. Farmers are consistently becoming more efficient and setting new yield records, and to safeguard the future, we must ensure that demand for corn continues to expand in tandem with ever-increasing yields.

Now, we believe the next major opportunity to expand markets and create value lies in carbon capture and sequestration (CCS).

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Regardless of personal political views or thoughts on decarbonization, the marketplace is demanding lower-carbon energy, and biofuel producers like POET must adapt to stay competitive. Capturing our biogenic CO2 will not only help us decarbonize bioethanol to reach low-carbon fuel markets but could also build future markets for CO2 in other applications. Down the road, biogenic CO2 could be combined with green hydrogen made from wind and solar power to produce renewable methane that could heat our homes and businesses.

And that equals more value for every bushel of corn and every acre of land.

Biofuel producers have consistently proven our ability to tackle diverse challenges, from improving energy independence to boosting octane to replacing harmful chemicals in gasoline and improving air quality. Now, as the world embarks on the monumental task of decarbonization, we stand ready with the technology and resources to help make it possible — while unleashing substantial untapped value from bioCO2.

This is no time to stand still while the bioeconomy moves forward without us. That’s why POET has partnered with Summit Carbon Solutions to capture and transport 4.7 million metric tons of CO2 annually from 17 of our bioprocessing facilities. We’re excited to partner with Summit on this historic project, and we believe it can and should go forward in a way that respects the rights of landowners and meets the highest safety standards.

Carbon capture presents a tremendous opportunity to benefit farmers, biofuel producers, and rural communities in participating states. It has the potential to unlock even more opportunities for ag and bioprocessing while strengthening our ability to make a positive global impact. And as we explore innovations like CCS to build the biofuture, we must remember that we all have the same goal: ensuring that agriculture continues to thrive for generations to come. |07


A Helping Hand

ShaQuana Brown leads her team in Savannah with a servant's heart

“Leadership is practiced not so much in words as in attitude and actions.”

Those wise words from Harold S. Geneen are an enduring reminder of what true leadership means. The presence of leaders offers hope in moments of chaos — no matter how big or small.

Although she is now, ShaQuana Brown hasn’t always been in a leadership role while working at POET. In all her POET roles, her attitude and actions have certainly exemplified that of a leader and continue to do so as she’s now taken on a leadership role.

ShaQuana works as the logistics supervisor at POET Terminal – Savannah, a rail-to-container transload facility that was purchased by POET in September 2022. The facility was formerly owned by Savannah Marine Terminal (SMT).

Located near the Port of Savannah, one of the highest volume container ports in the United States, the facility provides access to key global markets for POET’s animal feed bioproducts, including dried distillers grains and corn fermented protein. POET Terminal – Savannah is key to ensuring maximum traceability and transparency for customers, guaranteeing they get nothing less than the best in food safety and quality.

As the logistics supervisor, Brown is responsible for overseeing container movements in, around, and out of POET Terminal – Savannah’s yards, supervising three team members, and ensuring timely delivery of containers to the port of Savannah.

The job can be stressful, Brown admits. “It’s probably 70 percent stressful, 30 percent calm,” she said. |9
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However, as a leader, she helps her team manage their busy work schedules and be successful at their work.

Brown’s day-to-day duties encompass far more than just checking the shipping containers coming in and out of the port. She’s taking care of her team.

“I know what it feels like to not have the help when you need it,” Brown said. “I don't want anybody to ever feel like they don’t have anybody in their corner that really cares about them. So when I go out there, I want people to say, ‘OK, ShaQuana cares about me. Maybe I can call ShaQuana and see if she can help me,’ and they do.”

People have always been Brown’s biggest focus.

As a teenager, Brown looked after her siblings. “I was nine years older than them, so I was always helping my mom out to make sure they were OK, helping them with their homework, and taking them to practices.”

Later, as a non-commissioned officer in the Army, Brown always made sure that her fellow soldiers came first. If someone was having a hard time, they naturally looked to Brown for help.

Brown could have made the military her career. But after eight years and time spent in Germany away from her young kids — she missed their first and second birthdays while overseas — she knew it was time for a change. So, she started taking psychology classes and working in civilian life.

Work is where Brown really gets to focus on people. “I could tell them what to do — that’s my job, after all — but I’d rather connect with them,” she said.

Other times, it’s just being a sounding board for her team. “I’m always going to ask my team how they’re doing and how they feel,” Brown said. “Is there anything that I can do better to help them do their job? How can I do better as a supervisor for them? If they need me, I’m always a phone call or a text message away.”

Brown’s commitment to her team and her helpful nature have helped her move up the ranks quickly and become a valuable team member and leader of the POET team, said Austin Broin, General Manager of POET Terminal – Savannah.

“ShaQuana has grit. She’s just a hard worker. She’s willing to do whatever it takes to help us be successful,” Broin said. “At POET Terminal – Savannah, we try hard as leaders to put forth a culture of servant leadership and do whatever’s needed to succeed. ShaQuana lives that out daily. She never says, ‘That’s not my job,’ she just jumps in and helps out wherever she can. That’s leadership with a servant’s heart.”

Even people who don’t directly report to Brown look to her for leadership, Broin said.

Top: ShaQuana Brown speaks with Patrick Boles, SAV Toplift Operator

Middle: Stacked shipping containers

Bottom: ShaQuana Brown reviews shipping details |11

“Anything we’ve thrown at her, ShaQuana does — and does well,” he said. “She just wants to do a good job. She’s had that attitude since day one.”

It’s her commitment to POET and her team that keeps Brown going.

But it’s also her “little people” at home, son Amari and daughter Christina. You’ll likely find the three of them exploring the world. If it’s a nice weekend with nice weather, they might even take a road trip to Florida to enjoy the beaches or spend time at Disney World.

More than anything, Brown wants to be a good role model for her kids. “They inspire me to do good things,” she said.

But Brown doesn’t need — or look for — the credit for anything she does, at work or at home.

“When we achieve something big, it feels so rewarding,” she said. “I don’t need someone saying, “Hey, ShaQuana, you did a great job.’ If the team did a great job, I know I did a great job.”

“We all want to get the job done right,” she said. “That’s why I’m always trying to help everybody.”

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Securing Tomorrow

How POET PAC Dollars Work

POET PAC is the largest and most effective political action committee (PAC) in the biofuels industry. Every day in Washington, D.C., decisions are being made on policies that will impact bioethanol, energy security, the environment, and agriculture. It’s an ongoing conversation, and POET PAC is committed to consistently engaging with legislators to educate them on the impact of bioethanol.

POET PAC works only because of your support. The PAC collects voluntary contributions from individuals who are committed to supporting pro-biofuels candidates and advocating for pro-biofuels policy at the Federal level.

The resources POET PAC members provide are critical. Policy impacts us all, regardless of industry. As we fight to increase biofuel blends and expand markets, it is vital that we support champions who will fight to support the issues that are most important to bioethanol producers, farmers, and the communities that we love and call home.

POET PAC dollars are strategically used to:

• Support the campaigns of existing biofuel champions in the House and Senate

• Counter the influence of anti-biofuel candidates and special interest groups

• Support and educate candidates who will become the biofuel champions of the future

• Support trusted voices, providing focused advocacy that impacts the future of biofuels and rural communities

Bioprocessing has transformed economies in rural America, and we’ve only just begun. The potential to create new value through agriculture is tremendous. Gaining access to higher blends and expanding markets for low-carbon bioethanol and innovative co-products made in the Midwest are on the horizon. POET PAC is a critical tool in bringing that promise to reality.

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The generosity of POET PAC contributions has enabled the PAC to punch above its weight class over the years. We’ve seen great success in Washington, D.C. that has enabled bioethanol producers and farmers to step up, innovate, and create tremendous value for rural economies. But there is a lot of work to be done. The policy decisions being debated and implemented today will have generational impacts on the future.


You can join the thousands of members who are already making their voices heard. Visit or email to join today.

Contributions to POET PAC are not tax-deductible for federal income tax purposes. Contributions to POET PAC will be used in connection with federal elections and are subject to the limits and prohibitions of federal law. The maximum an individual may contribute to POET PAC is $5,000 per year ($10,000 per couple). Corporate and foreign national contributions are not permitted under federal law. Please make checks payable to POET PAC. Federal law requires us to use our best efforts to obtain and report the name, mailing address, occupation, and name of employer for each individual whose contributions aggregate in excess of $200 per calendar year. Your contribution to POET PAC is strictly voluntary.

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Driving Decarbonization

Why biofuels and ICEVs are essential on the roadmap toward reducing emissions

“We must move from climate procrastination to climate activation. And we must do it today."

–UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen remarked on the Climate Change 2023: Synthesis Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

The consensus from the international science community is clear; the Paris Agreement calls for a reduction in emissions of 45 percent by 2030 and net zero by 2050.

Which begs the question: Why in the area of transportation — the largest carbon-emitting sector of the United States — do we hesitate to take the obvious step of dramatically increasing biofuel use to improve engines on the road today? And why is the nation’s attention so narrowly focused on electric vehicles (EVs), which will take decades to reach a meaningful level of use?

Internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs) are the dominant vehicles in the U.S. and across the world, and they will continue to be so for the foreseeable future, according to a recent study from the Transportation Energy Institute, a non-advocacy research organization. Improving emissions in these vehicles alongside growth in EVs is crucial to succeeding in our emission-reduction goals — and higher biofuel blends, like E15, will play a critical role.


Fleet penetration

The study, called Decarbonizing Combustion Vehicles, notes that as of 2022, 98.7% of the U.S. light-duty fleet is powered by gasoline blends (conventional, gasoline-hybrids, and Flex Fuel Vehicles).

Of the new cars sold today, half will still be on the road in 16 years, said John Eichberger, Executive Director of Transportation Energy Institute, citing data from Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

That same source also notes that with the current fleet turnover rate, it will take 29 years for new vehicles to replace all of the vehicles sold in 2021.

to meet our target,” Eichberger said.

In addition, the focus on new vehicles excludes a large number of people. Many in the U.S. cannot afford to purchase new vehicles, and internationally, that’s even truer.

“You can bring in new technology, and that's awesome, and we should continue doing that. But if you don't take care of the core product, which is the one and a half billion combustion engines on the road in the world, where are you going to go?” he said. “And let's say the United States could go all-electric, and let's say we could green the grid. What about Africa? What about Latin America? What about Australia? What about the Far East? There are communities within our country and in the world that cannot do this anytime soon. And so we need solutions for all of them, too.” Light duty vehicle population and percent of

“So you start putting that in context, and we're supposed to have a net zero economy by 2050. Those vehicles need to have a lower-carbon fuel. Otherwise, there's no chance we're going

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total for fuel types and technologies |21

Reducing emissions with EVs and biofuels

Comparing emissions between EVs and ICEVs is difficult. EV emissions vary depending on the source of electricity. But overall, the study found them comparable to biofuels.

“Today’s ICEV fleet emissions are approaching EV emission rates, and ICEV emissions will continue to be reduced into the future as the ICEV fleet gets cleaner and more fuel efficient,” the study states.

The case for using biofuels is clear, said Doug Berven, POET Vice President of Corporate Affairs. It works, and it works in today’s engines. Global bioethanol production reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 100 metric tons annually, the equivalent of taking 20 million cars off the road, he said. Higher blends like E15, which is already available to consumers, could reduce greenhouse gas emissions even further.

“That's significant. And the fact that we can increase blend ratios of bioethanol and reduce emissions while reducing the price of gasoline with an already available product — I mean, it just makes total sense,” he said. “Why would we not expand the use of biofuels for those reasons? We can do that today. We don't have to wait years and years for the market to adopt a new technology.”

On the policy front, states are beginning to recognize the benefits and need for biofuels like E15.

“E15 is a high-performance biofuel blend made from Midwest-grown corn that is compatible with nearly every car, truck, and SUV on the road today,” said Joshua Shields, POET Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs. “It’s an American-made fuel that brings big benefits to rural communities, Midwest economies, and farm families.”

Eichberger said the key to emission reduction is continued innovation along the supply chain.

“You can reduce carbon emissions even further at the bioprocessing facility. You can reduce carbon emissions in the distribution chain. You can reduce the carbon emissions on rail transport. You reduce carbon emissions in truck transport and pipeline operations, and you start layering those benefits throughout the life cycle, and you start seeing a real, meaningful impact,” he said.

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Many solutions

It is going to take a multi-faceted approach to solve our climate problems, Eichberger said. Biofuels will play an important role, as will EVs and even other solutions that might not be viable yet today.

“It really comes down to the fact that we have options,” he said. “Some of them are near-term, some of them are longer-term. Some of them have technical challenges. Some of them have economic challenges.”

To be successful, we must stay focused on the goal rather than governments picking favorites.

“What you've just done is you've completely taken the scientists and engineers and shut them out of the lab,” he said. “That’s the worst thing we can do. We have got some really smart people in this world that have solved problems for hundreds of years.”

Broadly, Berven sees an increasing role for agriculture in solving our world’s energy problems.

“The reality is agriculture and biofuels are going to play a major, major part of any climate mitigation policy going forward, and that's being recognized by world leaders all over the world,” Berven said.

“We know that by agriculture's role at COP 28 in Dubai; it was everywhere. It is being realized that agriculture holds the greatest potential solution to decarbonization.”

More specifically, the U.S. needs to increase the availability and use of E15, he said. Many states are putting policies in place to do so, but more work must be done.

Cumulative GHG reductions from biofueled ICEVs vs. EVs |23

U.S. anthropogenic CO2 emissions by source (1990-2020)

“Eight bipartisan Midwestern Governors have championed yearround E15 in their respective states and succeeded in expanding access to affordable biofuels across the Midwest,” said Shields. “E15 reduces America’s reliance on foreign oil, cuts emissions, and lowers prices at the pump. Access to higher blends of biofuel is common sense, is impactful, and we can do it today.”

Progress on those solutions is important, Eichberger said. ICEVs are simply too prevalent and last too long to be ignored when talking about the “now” problem of climate change and emission reductions. That fact is what motivated this research.

“[ICEVs] are going to continue to have a huge market share; they're going to be a great part of the economy. We can’t overlook them as a viable, readily available solution to our transportation needs. And biofuels are continuously proving themselves to be the low-carbon, liquid fuel key to decarbonizing the transportation sector.”

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Fueling a new era of the bioeconomy.


Automotive Expert Q&A

Brian West is an automotive engineer who has dedicated his career to researching advanced fuels and engine technology. He has worked for nearly two decades to expand the use of higher biofuel blends.

Tell us about your credentials, education, and experience. How did you become an expert?

I have degrees in mechanical engineering and went to work at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), a Department of Energy (DOE) multiprogram research lab. In the early years of my career, our alternative energy research was primarily focused on energy security, later expanding to include greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. I have always loved cars and did a lot of my own maintenance; I was fortunate to work on some interesting and impactful engines, vehicles, fuels, and advanced emissions control technologies for over 30 years. Our work has been cited multiple times by federal and California regulators, influencing national fuel policy.

I have worked on bioethanol utilization since 2006, just before Congress passed the Energy Independence and Security Act. I was the lead engineer at ORNL during the DOE Mid-Level Ethanol Blends (MLB) program when we conducted vehicle, engine, and materials work with E15 and E20. During this program, we urged a move to higher-octane fuels. I felt that bioethanol could do so much more than simply displace gasoline. Bioethanol boosts octane and allows improved engine efficiency, thereby displacing even more gasoline and providing even greater reductions in GHG. The DOE heard us and supported a pilot high-octane fuel study, which led to the Co-Optimization of Engines and Fuels Initiative. After Co-Optima pivoted to novel, higher-risk combustion approaches, I was able to continue high-octane fuel work with industry partners. Throughout the last 17 years, while continuing to build on my fuel and engine experience, I have learned about modern agriculture and bioethanol production. I retired from ORNL in 2019 but have stayed engaged with the technical communities in agriculture, bioethanol, and vehicles.

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In your experience, how has the automotive industry changed over the years?

I started driving in the 1970s. Cars were rather crude then, and early emissions control advancements could be troublesome for the consumer and the manufacturers. In my lifetime, we’ve seen the complete phaseout of tetraethyl lead and remarkable innovation in engine and vehicle systems. Vehicles today are safer, more durable, have more power and better fuel economy, and dramatically lower emissions due to the robust systems and the calibrators’ ability to micromanage the powertrain.

Flex Fuel Vehicles (FFVs) came on the scene about 25 years ago and ramped up to over 150 different models being offered in 2013. The idea for FFVs arose from the challenges of fueling vehicles with alternatives that were not widely available. Flex Fuel was a great idea that, in my opinion, was never fully implemented. A lack of regulatory certainty led to fewer and fewer FFVs being offered each year since 2013. To develop product plans, manufacturers need to know at least 3 to 5 years ahead of production how their vehicles will be regulated.

For years, I’ve encouraged automakers to build optimized FFVs, vehicles that produce exceptional power and efficiency when fueled with highoctane E85 while still operating adequately with gasoline. Only a few manufacturers have produced FFVs that take full advantage of E85, some producing up to 25% more power with E85 than with gasoline. I’d like to see this become commonplace, with a focus on improved efficiency.

My view is that it is all in the regulators’ hands. With honest accounting of carbon sources and appropriate incentives, manufacturers would produce optimized bioethanol-fueled vehicles, making a significant contribution to curbing carbon emissions.

What is the biggest bioethanol myth you have to dispel regularly?

There are two. One is the food versus fuel “debate.” There is no debate. U.S. farmers produce about 15 billion bushels of corn annually. About one-third of the crop produces bioethanol, and the bulk of the other twothirds is “food that our food eats,” including a valuable high-protein coproduct from the bioethanol production process (DDGS). In any given year, there are one to two billion bushels of carryout, which is the corn left over from the previous harvest just before the harvest. Clearly, there is no competition between food and fuel.

The other trope is that it takes more energy to produce a gallon of bioethanol than it contains or that the carbon intensity (CI) of bioethanol is worse than that of petroleum. These matters have been analyzed comprehensively by DOE and its laboratories. Bioethanol produced from corn demonstrates a substantial positive energy balance, meaning that the process of producing bioethanol fuel does not require more energy than the amount of energy contained in the fuel itself. Corn bioethanol’s CI today is about half that of gasoline and is improving all the time. With continuous improvement in agriculture, bioprocessing, and carbon reduction initiatives, we could see net-zero carbon bioethanol come to market in a few years. |27

Building the Best

POET’s Wichita team pursues excellence with its award-winning culture

After winning the Wichita Business Journal’s “Best Places to Work in Wichita” in 2022 and earning the spot of first runner-up in 2023, it’s clear there’s something special about POET’s Wichita office, a hub for the marketing, distribution, and transportation of many of the bioproducts produced at POET’s 34 bioprocessing locations.

That something special, said Trishell Dreiling, Accounting Director, is POET’s unique ability to understand what’s needed and build the best team.

“I think POET has determined that team members are more productive and care about the work they’re doing when they feel fulfilled,” she said. “It’s about ensuring you’re able to be successful with all the hats you might wear at home and work.”

For nearly two decades, Dreiling has had a hand in many functions at POET: she’s been involved in accounting, contracts, trade processing, transaction flow, “and some reporting, too.” Over the length of this career, she’s watched as POET has grown from a small business to a world-renowned organization committed to making the world a better place, one gallon of bioethanol, one bioproduct, one innovation at a time.

“When I interviewed for an accountant role,” she said, “I could feel the pride and ownership each person had in the company. I was excited to join a place that had positive impacts on the world but also on each of their team members.”

Dreiling has found a workplace culture that is as supportive and adaptable as it is cutting-edge. The office space, for instance, is set up with an open concept layout, like a trading floor: team members have desks and can step into meeting spaces for collaboration or more quiet conversations. The physical space and team have expanded in the past couple of years to welcome 30 new team members who joined the POET family as part of the 2021 acquisition of Flint Hills Resources. Today, there are 210 people working together in the Wichita office.

Top: POET team members sign their names on a beam | Middle: POET Wichita team Bottom: POET's expanded office

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In 2023, the office underwent an expansion to make room for the team’s rapid growth, adding 192 desks and nine conference rooms. The steady increase in team members is a testament to POET’s culture and workplace values.

“Since we’re located in Wichita, our team has the advantage of being in an area with a rich history of entrepreneurship and innovation,” said Bob Whiteman, Chief Financial Officer of POET Biofuels. “We have a dynamic, skilled group of individuals and an energized office space; our team is always finding creative ways to problem-solve and enhance our culture while embracing any and all challenges and opportunities that come our way.”

Outside of offering a dynamic workspace, POET is known for creating world-class bioproducts such as bioethanol, biogenic carbon dioxide, purified alcohol, and dry ice. The Wichita location is responsible for moving those items around the country and, in some cases, the world, obtaining new clients, researching and investing in new markets, and ultimately helping to create value for farmers and communities who underscore the country’s vital agricultural landscape.

From Dreiling’s desk to POET’s shipping terminals, team members in the Wichita office have found their own way to contribute to growing this forward-thinking work.

For Seth Bowers, Truck Planning Manager, being involved with and encouraged to develop new, collaborative strategies to bring POET to the world is one way he contributes to and is shaped by this atmosphere.

“It’s contagious being surrounded by highly motivated and talented people who check their egos at the door and genuinely give their best to work together as a team,” he said. “It’s unique to be part of a company that is the largest in our industry and also remains agile in decision-making with a continued desire to embrace change and see transformation.”

Top Left: Team members have a conversation in the break area

Bottom Left: Team members have a meeting in a conference room |33

Bowers, who has been with POET for nine years, oversees much of the physical movement of goods. His truck planning team, which coordinates internally and externally with POET bioprocessing facilities and bioethanol customers, is responsible for demand forecasting and strategic planning of supply movements to customer terminals. His team’s work is built on understanding and anticipating demand to move POET bioproducts where they’re needed, and the critical, creative thinking required for this work is something that Bowers has enjoyed since his first days at POET as an accounting intern in college.

“Having the opportunity to lead our truck planning team while coordinating with others has challenged me to widen my understanding of the business and look for opportunities to create synergies across our groups,” he said. “This motivates me to think of a ‘future state’ and collaborate with others to transform our tools and processes. Collaborating with and managing our team of truck planners is a privilege that drives me to learn and grow as a leader.”

Since the inception of the business in the 1980s, everyone within the POET team has shared a commitment to innovating and finding ways to do things as efficiently and as sustainably as possible. This blending of creativity and innovation is foundational and flows through every area of the business, said Shamryn Holzwarth, Director of Terminals and Logistics at the Wichita office.

“Our leadership’s passion for the POET business and making the world a better place is energizing,” she said. “It’s exciting to work for a company that truly puts the vision in the forefront and looks to advance it in every way possible.”

Holzwarth is responsible for ensuring POET’s bioethanol has multiple ways to enter the market, which provides her and her team with opportunities for “thinking outside the box and being creative” while fulfilling POET’s mission.

Coordinating these activities to help decarbonize the country has been an exciting and rewarding opportunity for everyone at this location. Whether it’s at the end of a meeting or the middle of one of the fun office lunches, foosball tournaments, or holiday parties, what makes POET’s Wichita office such a great place to work is the dynamic mix of people who inspire the team with creative ideas and concern for the Earth and each other.

“If there’s one thing that has landed us at the top of the ‘Best Place to Work,’ it is the people and the culture,” Dreiling said. “Each person on our team understands the value in promoting our culture and is intentional in showing it each day.”

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What’s in a Brand?

Evolution is a necessary part of almost every aspect of life. Companies are not immune to this growth. Growth Energy’s brand is its calling card, signaling our identity to the world. And like a NASCAR racecar, we must fine-tune our brand to stay in the spotlight.

Companies throughout history have rebranded to stay relevant to their evolving market. Tupperware, Dunkin’ Donuts, Starbucks, and Apple have all adopted new brand identities to stay in touch with their ever-changing consumer. Likewise, the biofuels industry has similarly adapted. For example, in 2007, Broin Companies evolved to POET reflecting its commitment to shaping the biofuel industry and cultivating the road to the low-carbon bioeconomy of the future.

Growth Energy’s new brand identity puts our industry’s innovative spirit front and center. Our new look highlights how our members are shaping new markets and fueling a new era for plant-based solutions that expand our bioeconomy. Our new tagline — formerly America’s Ethanol Supporters — became Expanding America’s Bioeconomy. This new mantra perfectly fits our members who are cultivating a new generation of plant-based solutions that are helping Americans meet our energy needs, our economic demands, and our nation’s carbon reduction goals, all at the same time.

Our new logo reflects the transformation of farm-based resources into an evergrowing array of bioproducts that deliver benefits on the ground and in the air. The new Growth Energy logo is a natural evolution from the leaves depicted in our former logo. Each color and line forming the new leaf and its echoes reinforce the diversity of the biofuels industry.

It is an exciting time for our industry, and it is time we highlight the full extent of our value chain, including the science, labor, and investment that allows the U.S. to produce an endless variety of products from renewable, plant-based feedstocks.

“Growth Energy members are fueling a new era for America’s bioeconomy,” said CEO Emily Skor. “We are blazing a new trail toward a clean energy future that is both affordable and sustainable, and we want our brand to reflect these advancements.”

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The Road to Summer E15

Summer driving season is almost here, and American consumers can rest easy knowing they’ll be able to save money at the pump by using higher blends of biofuels like E15.

On April 19, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued an emergency Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) waiver, ensuring uninterrupted summertime access to E15.

In the EPA’s press release for the 2024 wavier, EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan said, “The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to protecting Americans from fuel supply challenges resulting from the ongoing war in Ukraine by ensuring consumers have more choices at the pump. Allowing E15 sales during the summer driving season will not only help increase fuel supply, but support American farmers, strengthen U.S. energy security, and provide relief to drivers across the country.”

POET commended the EPA for extending summertime access to E15.

“Maintaining access to E15 will bring big benefits to drivers as we head into the summer driving season when gas prices typically rise,” said POET Vice President of Corporate Affairs Joshua Shields. “This decision will play a crucial role in ensuring Americans have the freedom to fuel with a clean, affordable option at the pump when they need it most.

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“With conflicts overseas impacting global fuel supplies and gas prices here at home, it makes sense to ensure access to higher blends of American-made bioethanol is maintained. This simple move can help shield consumers from gasoline supply shortages and price spikes while reducing smog-forming emissions, especially in congested urban areas. In fact, E15 has lower evaporative emissions than standard summertime gasoline, which can mean fewer negative health effects from air pollution.”

Growth Energy, the largest biofuels trade association in the country, praised the waiver as well. “We commend EPA Administrator Regan, Secretary Vilsack, and the Biden administration for easing pain at the pump this summer by protecting access to lower-carbon, more affordable E15,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor in a press release. “Given ongoing supply threats stemming from unrest in Ukraine, the Middle East, and Red Sea shipping routes, this waiver will serve as a valuable shield against volatile fuel costs and help more working families benefit from E15, which has been saving drivers 10 to 30 cents per gallon.”

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The history of RVP waivers is complex. Per an amendment to the Clean Air Act in 1990, Congress authorized that fuel with 10% bioethanol (E10) could be sold year-round to encourage the use of bioethanol-blended fuels. This was allowed under an RVP waiver. However, the waiver for E10 predated higher blends like E15. Though E15 has a lower cost, lower emissions, and a lower RVP than E10, it does not qualify for the RVP waiver, which means without action, it cannot be sold in the majority of states between June 1st and September 15th.

This is the third year the administration has issued these emergency waivers to help shore up the domestic fuel supply and enhance our energy security in the face of global conflicts and volatile international petroleum markets.

However, the need for a more permanent, year-round solution is clear.

“Of course, the push doesn’t end with this summer waiver; what Americans really need and deserve is permanent, year-round access to E15, which is why we continue to advocate for this commonsense policy change along with a large coalition of fuel retailers and other producers, processors, and distributors,” said Shields. |41


Technology Meets Tradition

Navigating the impacts of artificial intelligence on modern agriculture

Today, there is an unprecedented opportunity for farming to advance more quickly and efficiently than ever before as technology and tradition converge. Across the globe, farmers are embracing this era of possibility, where predictive analytics guide planting decisions, drones scout fields with unparalleled precision, and robotic harvesters navigate rows with the finesse of seasoned hands.

Welcome to a new age of technology in agriculture, where farmers find themselves at the forefront of innovation as the timeless rhythm of planting and harvest harmonizes with the cutting-edge algorithms of artificial intelligence (AI).

To be clear, artificial intelligence in agriculture is not new. For decades, AI technologies have enabled farmers to make more informed decisions, leading to increased efficiency and productivity. Today, however, it’s more accessible than ever, with a new form of generative AI changing the game for many farmers.

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Let’s back up a step. What is AI, exactly?

“AI is a catch-all term,” said Kit Barron, Head of Data Science, Data Engineering, & Analytics at Farmer’s Business Network. “It encompasses all kinds of technology where computers mimic human behavior.”

Going back to the beginnings of AI in agriculture, various forms of it — including machine learning and computer vision — have helped agricultural producers engage in data-based decision-making and optimize their products and supply chains. These early AI applications laid the groundwork for more sophisticated systems that can predict weather patterns, manage resources more efficiently, and even automate tasks. The evolution from simple analytical tools to advanced, autonomous systems reflects the rapid advancement of AI technology in the farming sector. But AI has increasingly become something used in everyday farming. Look no further than autonomous tractors and robotic dairy farms to see some of the more innovative examples.

The recent boom of so-called generative AI, or GenAI for short, continues this trend of what Barron calls “farmer-facing AI.” Put simply, GenAI tools are capable of generating original, unique data, including not only text and images but also computer code and synthetic datasets. Crucially, users can benefit from these tools without any understanding of the underlying technology — something that anyone who has used OpenAI’s ChatGPT or Google’s Bard will know. The same can’t be said for predictive analytics, remote sensing, and precision agriculture platforms, which typically require a user to have some amount of technical knowledge and expertise to leverage effectively. Even learning to fly a drone to monitor crop health or apply treatments involves a steep learning curve compared to the intuitive user interface of most generative AI applications.

Farmer’s Business Network, the organization Barron works for — which collaborates with POET in its Gradable program, a voluntary, farm-led platform that matches farmers who use environmentally friendly practices with buyers who pay a premium for low-carbon corn — has already launched a GenAI tool aimed directly at farmers. Called Norm, the tool is built from the same language model on which ChatGPT is based and is trained to answer a wide range of farmingrelated queries.

Barron sees this kind of technology as a great equalizer.

“Farmers face a wide range of complex problems on any given day, and small producers don’t have the same resources as larger ones — for example, teams of experts on speed dial. With Norm, we’re trying to make that same level of expertise and problem-solving available to anyone at any time.” |45

This accessibility and ease of use allows for what Barron refers to as a “paradigm shift” for many farmers.

Dr. José-Marie Griffiths, President of Dakota State University, a four-year higher education institution in Madison, South Dakota, that’s training the next generation of professionals in emerging technology, agrees that AI is beginning to narrow the gap, although she doesn’t see large-scale agricultural producers being displaced anytime soon. They will, however, likely have to adopt new strategies.

“AI is going to create more and more efficiency gains in farming, and hopefully this will benefit everyone,” she said. “But it will take large producers working in alignment with governments, regulators, and the academic community to make that happen. For small farms, the current wave of generative AI is beneficial in terms of locating, summarizing, and interpreting information, which can make a huge difference in the day-to-day business.”

For both small- and large-scale farmers, Griffiths also points out that the proliferation of AI in agriculture will require new investments in infrastructure. More broadband, more computing power, and more edge computing capabilities,

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which allow data to be housed and processed more locally, will all be needed to support farmers’ growing use of AI tools, especially in the field. In other words, AI adoption involves more than meets the eye.

For example, while AI stands to make farms more efficient, productive, and profitable, it will also make farms increasingly reliant on factors outside the farmer’s control. Some of these, like threats related to data privacy and cybersecurity, may be totally unpredictable. According to Griffiths, farmers will be able to safely benefit from GenAI tools without diving deep into these considerations, for the most part. She does caution, however, that a thoughtful approach is necessary.

“We always have to have a little skepticism about new technologies,” Griffiths said. “When people implement new tools and AI especially, they should ask questions about it. For example, does it come with new risks? Who might benefit from exploiting those, and how can they be managed?”

While Griffiths emphasizes discretion, her overall attitude toward AI in agriculture is one of deeply informed optimism. Similarly, Barron believes that with mindful development and application, the sky is the limit for this new generation of tools. |47

“ChatGPT was big when it came out, and most people have used it or at least heard of it by now,” said Barron. “But many people are still underestimating what these tools can and will do. All of us — people, businesses, governments — we’re trying to wrap our heads around it. Part of our mission at Farmer’s Business Network is to help farmers learn about the emerging possibilities and feel confident in taking advantage of them.”

As technology rapidly advances, AI will continue to revolutionize industries across the board, and agriculture will be no exception. From precision farming techniques that optimize crop yields to predictive analytics for smarter resource allocation, AI is poised to lend a helping hand to farmers across the country. Farmers are increasingly integrating AI-driven solutions into their operations, which can enhance efficiency, sustainability, and productivity.

As generative AI begins to play a more central role in agriculture, its promise lies in real, tangible benefits, like assistance with crop management, pest control, and market insights, directly impacting productivity and the bottom line. Still, the shift is about more than just the success of individual producers — as Griffiths points out, enhancing and optimizing agriculture can benefit everyone. In embracing AI, farmers may be sowing the seeds for a more resilient and equitable future in agriculture.

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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 at 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, visit us online at |49
GEA North America

At some point, technology and nature fell out of rhythm. POET is getting us back in rhythm with nature, and paving the way to a new, sustainable future with an ever-expanding suite of clean energy solutions.

The world’s leader in plant-based bioproducts. //

in rhythm with nature fueling our future

E15: A Ripple Becomes a Wave

Midwest E15 policies are unlocking access and savings

Decades ago, a few Midwest states led the drive for American energy independence and savings at the pump by advocating for greater access to E10. What began as a small ripple in the fuel supply grew into a giant wave of benefits nationwide, and nearly every gallon of gasoline sold in the U.S. now contains at least 10 percent bioethanol.

New policies and incentives emerging across the Midwest have swelled sales of 15 percent bioethanol blends, and the next wave of fuel could be the most rewarding.

About E15

E15 is a 15 percent bioethanol gasoline blend that is EPA-approved for all 2001 and newer cars, light-duty trucks, and SUVs. Drivers can find E15 at over 3,400 gas stations in 31 states and growing. According to Growth Energy, the nation's largest biofuel trade association, earlier this year, Americans surpassed 100 billion total miles driven on E15.

In 2023, Americans saved an average of 22 cents per gallon with E15 compared to E10 gasoline, with savings reaching 40 to 60 cents per gallon in some states. Unfortunately, drivers can only access savings from E15 at the limited number of stations where it is offered today. Lawmakers across the Midwest are working to change that.

Midwest states driving E15 policy

Iowa and Nebraska recently signed Access Standards into law to ensure consumers have the freedom to fill up with E15 at gas stations with compatible infrastructure and fueling equipment. Leaders in both states understood that the economic benefits of E15 measure far beyond the gas pump. Increasing in-state bioethanol production and sales of E15 lifts farm incomes, generates more state and local tax revenues, and supports local jobs and investments.

As Nebraska Governor Jim Pillen noted when signing his state's E15 Access Standard into law last year, increasing bioethanol production with E15 also expands the available supply of bioprocessing co-products, helping beef, dairy, and pork producers access more abundant and affordable feed.

In addition to E15 Access Standards, a growing number of Midwest states are considering temporary tax incentives to get more retailers and consumers to make the shift. Illinois passed a 10 percent sales tax exemption, which offers consumers an additional discount on E15. More than a half dozen other Midwest states are focused on expanding E15 offerings at more locations by offering tax incentives for each gallon of E15 retailers sell.

"E15 incentive programs more than pay for themselves," said Michael Walz, POET Vice President of Public Affairs. "The cost is capped in most states, so the fiscal price tag is small, but each incentive has the potential to generate millions more in consumer savings each year." |53 FEATURE

South Dakota

South Dakota is aiming to expand the use of bioethanol and value-added agriculture with a new E15 tax refund for the state's fuel stations. Governor Kristi Noem signed into law a 5-cent-pergallon tax refund on E15 sales from any South Dakota fuel station. The program is scheduled to run from 2025 to 2030.

"Renewable fuels are a very important part of America's all-ofthe-above energy supply, and ethanol is vital to South Dakota's future," said Governor Noem. "It will make higher ethanol blends more readily available, bringing prices down at the pump. We're committed to an all-of-the-above approach to energy that doesn't pick winners and losers but lowers prices for all South Dakotans."

South Dakota joined Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri, and Illinois in adopting tax incentives for E15. Similar E15 incentive legislation has also been introduced in Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, and Ohio.

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In February, the Ohio House of Representatives passed House Bill 324, sponsored by State Representative Riordan McClain, by a vote of 88-6.

"E15 is not a new product, but since it entered the market, its availability has been suppressed," said McClain. "It is our hope by offering this temporary tax credit, the availability of this Ohio-produced, costsaving fuel will increase across the state."

The bill now awaits a hearing in the Ohio Senate.

Ensuring year-round E15 access

In 2022, a bipartisan group of Midwest governors sent a letter to the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) exercising their authority under the Clean Air Act to provide “relief, flexibility, and certainty in the fuel market" and give E10 and E15 regulatory parity in their states.

In February of this year, the EPA approved the final rule, giving Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin the ability to sell E15 year-round starting in 2025.

"Providing year-round sales of E15 is the permanent solution that was needed to provide long-term economic relief and certainty in the fuel market," said Minnesota Governor Tim Walz. "This action means lower emissions and lower-cost choices for drivers."

E15 policies are paying off

Minnesota and Iowa are the only two states that currently track retail sales of E15, and both reported record-breaking sales in 2023. The Iowa Department of Revenue's Retailers Motor Fuel Gallons Annual Report showed E15 sales increased 47 percent year-on-year to a record 178 million gallons.

"Iowans appreciate having cheaper, cleanerburning E15 as an option at the pump, leading to record-breaking sales in 2023," said Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds. "Biofuels not only play a huge role in Iowa's agriculture economy, but provide Iowans with a cheaper alternative to regular fuel."

Nationwide sales of E15 reached an estimated record of 1.1 billion gallons in 2023, up approximately 8% year to year.

As we enter the summer driving season, E15 remains the best choice for the most vehicles, offering better engine performance, lower emissions, and significant savings. Consumers can also rest assured that every time they fill up with E15, they're helping to grow our economy and make America more energy-independent.

"We are grateful to Midwestern champions of E15 and excited to see their efforts already paying off," said Joshua Shields, POET Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs. "The Heartland is leading the way to year-round, nationwide E15, and that's good news for every American."

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We put Fermentation First™. You get yeast, yeast nutrition, enzymes and antimicrobial products, alongside the industry leading expertise of our Technical Service Team and education resources. Find the right solution for your ethanol business at

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The Perfect Steak

The perfect steak. Tender. Juicy. Beefy. So buttery and delicate that you can cut it with a spoon. The pinnacle of culinary experiences.

I’ve found that grilling that perfect steak is like…. Well it’s sort of like... You know it’s…uh… Okay, I don’t know what grilling the perfect steak is like because I have never experienced that desired outcome. I’ve consumed a perfect steak, but my personal efforts in steak preparation have never succeeded. My finished product resembles beef but has the texture and flavor of a garden hose.

Where have I gone wrong? I seek out the finest cuts of beef. I then dismiss those cuts when I see the price: $23.99/lb. Is that a typo? Why would I pay $23.99/lb. when I can get a package of “Stayk™” for $1.79/lb.? (It can’t legally be labeled as “steak” due to its < 25% beef content.) Time after time, I convince myself the bargain beef will taste as good as the expensive stuff if I can just find the right “hack.”

Maybe the trick is in the marinade. Maybe “Stayk™” is best on a charcoal grill. Perhaps it requires an initial high-temperature sear or ends with a reverse sear to seal in the juices. Maybe the secret is a double reverse sear that probably isn’t a thing, but theoretically could unlock the hidden potential of cheaper cuts of meat.

Ultimately, everything I try fails. I deflect blame to my cheap Bluetooth meat thermometer that only reads in Celsius (I’m willing to do a bit of math if I can save a few bucks).

Recently, I decided to give the good stuff a try: USDA Prime filet mignon. I’d passed over this expensive cut hundreds of grocery trips before. I couldn’t justify spending that kind of money when my kids preferred chicken nuggets shaped like dinosaurs instead. But it was time to see what all the fuss was about.

I paid a premium for the best cut from the best cow — likely one fed a consistent diet of highquality distillers grain from a certain network of bioethanol facilities throughout the Midwest.

Truthfully, part of me wanted this experiment to fail. I wanted a sense of vindication for being a cheap steak cheapskate. But I gave it an honest effort. I didn’t want to sway the result with special marinades or seasoning or cooking trickery. Just some salt, pepper, and a bit of diligence.

I monitored the meat carefully and removed it from the grill when it reached 51.67 degrees Celsius. I allowed it to rest, allowing the temperature to rise another 5.55 degrees Celsius, achieving a perfect medium rare.

It was tender. It was juicy. It was beefy.

The perfect steak was easily attainable this whole time. Unfortunately, it took me this long to confirm I couldn’t “hack” my way to quality. At least when it comes to steak, you get what you pay for.

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Discover the benefits of POET


Distillers Grains

Animals require a well-rounded nutritional diet, and each species has different needs - which is why POET offers a wide variety of feed products to match application uses and price points. With superior quality and consistency you can depend on, we offer easy access to a variety of products to meet your feed ingredient needs and help you get desired results. |59
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