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THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE Spring 2019

ADVANCES IN INNOVATION AND TECHNOLOGY UNLOCK ACCESS TO CORN FIBER POET NAMED TO FAST COMPANY’S ANNUAL LIST OF WORLD’S MOST INNOVATIVE COMPANIES DOMINO EFFECT Corporate Sustainability Partnerships Have Impact Beyond Company Doors


opportunity is everywhere if you know where to look

POET.COM

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.


38

FEATURES 10 POET Named to Fast Company’s Annual List of World’s Most Innovative Companies

12 Biofuels Are Key to Boost Ag Markets, Ag Policy Consultant Says ‘It’s going to be demand for ethanol that will help turn this boat around’

16

28 Domino Effect From Tyson Foods’ New Pact to POET’s Partnership with the City of Sioux Falls, Corporate Sustainability Partnerships Have Impact Beyond Company Doors

38 Advances in Innovation and Technology Unlock Access to Corn Fiber

Another Use for Lignin Research Collaboration Demonstrates Lignin, a Coproduct of Cellulosic Production, Is a Replacement for Fossil Fuel-based Glues

Visit VitalByPOET.com for exclusive online content.

Cover photo by Emily Spartz Weerheim


COLUMNS 04

In Sight

By Jeff Broin

11

Mechanic’s Corner

Automotive Advice from the Under the Hood radio show

24

Farm Fresh

by Brian Hefty

34

Nascar® Update

by Ryan Welsh

56

Out Of Left Field

by Scott Johnson

MAIL POET, LLC 4615 North Lewis Avenue Sioux Falls, SD 57104

ARTICLE SUBMISSIONS Please direct all article ideas, as well as questions or comments regarding the magazine to: vital@poet.com

ADVERTISING INFORMATION POET 605.965.2200 vitaladvertising@poet.com

SUBSCRIPTIONS

DEPARTMENTS

$4.95 per issue To subscribe, visit www.vitalbypoet.com

06

COPYRIGHT

Policy Corner

22

Prime the Pump

36

Energy For Life

46

Renew

50

People Of POET

POET’s Vital magazine is an important conduit to share how POET is moving our country and our world from depending on fossil fuels to producing sustainable resources from the Earth. We will represent the voices of producers and biofuels supporters, as well as educate and inform readers about agriculture and industry knowledge, opportunities and the power of the human spirit.

In the spirit of its continued commitment to being good stewards of the environment, POET is proud to produce Vital using 100% recycled

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. ©2019 POET, LLC. All rights reserved. Publication Design & Layout: Cassie Medema hello@newover.com

paper, with eco-friendly soy-based ink.

2

P / 605.965.2200 F / 605.965.2203

VITALBYPOET.COM


Taking care of future generations depends on plants like yours.

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www.novozymes.com


IN SIGHT

Growth Energy 10 Years Leading an Industry

by Jeff Broin, Executive Chairman and CEO of POET

Time flies! It has been an entire decade since POET, along

number will increase quickly and significantly once RVP relief

with 10 other industry leaders, left behind the existing ethanol

is granted. In fact, we have enough commitments to reach 3,500

advocacy groups and launched Growth Energy. It was a bold

E15 locations within the next few years.

move, but the E10 Blend Wall was fast approaching and the

Today, Growth Energy is the largest organization of its kind

previous organizations weren’t doing enough to get us beyond it.

in the world, with a budget four times larger than any other

Little did we know that an organization formed out of necessity

ethanol trade association. While others’ membership and

would grow to not only lead the ethanol industry in the next 10

revenues are decreasing, ours are growing. We currently have

years but also change the world.

100 plant members and 88 associate members, as well as a

The formation of Growth Energy was far from impulsive; we had previously tried to unite the existing advocacy groups for the good of the industry. Although their boards of directors were interested, their executive directors worked hard to make sure it didn’t happen. Our goal to create a new industry powerhouse was scoffed at by many. However, there were 11 ethanol producers that understood the vision and wanted to see things handled differently in the future. That group decided to come together to take biofuels to the next level. Those companies had the courage to go against the grain in order to establish a new organization with the vitality, drive and budget to reach that goal — and quite frankly, there wasn’t another option. At the time, commodity supplies were increasing with no market to consume them. If we couldn’t obliterate the Blend Wall, the future looked bleak for ethanol and agriculture. But we saw opportunity just beyond that wall, so we

staff of 22 talented individuals located in six

There were 11 ethanol producers that understood the vision and wanted to see things handled differently in the future. That group decided to come together to take biofuels to the next level.

took the leap and established Growth Energy.

4

different cities across the country who work tirelessly every day to represent and champion our industry. We believe E15 will become America’s fuel in just a few short weeks, thanks in large part to the efforts of Growth Energy. E15 will create 7 billion gallons of new ethanol market and 2 billion bushels of new corn demand, and it will show the world that ethanol is the best readily available solution to global climate change. Once thought of as the underdog, Growth Energy has become the unlikely hero of the ethanol industry and has grown into a dynamic organization. Were it not for the vision of those 11 companies and the many members that have joined along the way, we would still be years away from realizing the market for E15. It took more than 30 years to convert the nation to E10, but the strides we’ve made with E15 in only a decade prove that Growth Energy is a

Our first action as an organization in 2008 — within the

great example of what it takes to be successful. Change requires

first month of operation — was the writing and filing of

extraordinary vision, significant risk and exceptionally hard

the E15 Green Jobs Waiver. In the years that followed, we

work. It takes the blood, sweat and tears of an army to move a

continued to take charge. Growth Energy took the lead on every

mountain. E15 is that mountain, and Growth Energy is our

legislative, political, legal and public relations issues facing the

army.

industry on both federal and state levels.

I would like to thank and congratulate the board of directors

In 2013 we created the Prime the Pump initiative to generate

and members of Growth Energy as well as our highly dedicated

retail momentum for E15. Since its inception, Prime the Pump

staff for a remarkable 10 years. We are moving a mountain.

has become the largest marketing program in the history of

We are changing the world. We are creating a better future for

biofuels. Our retail partners are now selling biofuel blends at

everyone on the planet, and it’s something we should all be

more than 1,700 stations across 30 states, and we believe that

proud of.

VITALBYPOET.COM


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POLICY CORNER

Biofuels Industry Leaders, Stakeholders Applaud EPA’s Plan to Provide Uninterrupted Access to E15 On March 12 the Environment Protection Agency (EPA)

near-term solution that can get agriculture out of crisis

announced its long-anticipated plan to allow uninterrupted

mode and help get farmers back on their feet,” Broin said.

access to E15, a fuel blend with 15 percent biofuel. The

In Iowa — the nation’s leading producer of biofuels —

EPA’s proposed rule would change the nearly 30-year-old

policymakers praised the announcement, saying it just

limitations on year-round E15, allowing consumers to have

makes sense for farmers and the U.S. economy.

unfettered access to the clean, lower-cost option at the

“Ending the nonsensical ban on summertime sales of

pump.

higher blends of ethanol is a no-brainer and a big victory for

Biofuels

the

Iowa, Midwest farmers and the country as whole,” said Sen.

announcement as a significant achievement for the industry

Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) in a statement. Gov. Kim Reynolds

and a win for farmers, consumers and the environment.

said the proposed rule helps bring “greater stability to our

But many also expressed concerns to changes in the

ag economy.”

Renewable Identification Number (RIN) market that could

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), a member of the Senate

hinder investment in proposed higher blends.

Environment and Public Works Committee, also said she

“This rule is a critical milestone for rural Americans who

was “thrilled to see the proposed rule” and reiterated

make renewable biofuels and for all American drivers, who

the importance of the rule being in place in time for this

may soon have a cleaner, more affordable, higher-octane

summer’s driving season.

fuel all year long,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “We

For Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), a member of the Senate

look forward to working with the EPA to ensure that any

Agriculture Committee, the EPA’s plan is a long-awaited

changes — particularly in the RIN market — do not upend

announcement. In a statement, he noted that it is a win

the marketplace, and continue to encourage investment in

for farmers, consumer choice and energy security. “I’ve

E15 and other higher ethanol blends. We appreciate the

pushed for the year-round sale of E15 for over a decade,

administration’s efforts to fulfill the president’s promise

and I thank President Trump for his commitment to seeing

and will continue in our commitment to making the

this through. Extending E15 sales through the summer

environmental and economic benefits of E15 available to

driving season will expand consumer choice for a lower-

consumers nationwide.”

cost and cleaner fuel, reinforce our energy independence,

The

and

ag

administration

industry

is

advocates

expected

to

touted

complete

the

and provide a shot in the arm for our farmers.”

rulemaking process by June 1, in time for this summer’s

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) also expressed that it has

driving season. During the rulemaking process, the EPA is

been a long fight to reach this point. “Allowing for the year-

accepting comments from biofuel producers, farmers and

round sale of E15 will give us cleaner, more affordable

other stakeholders.

fuel choices — it will bring down prices at the pump,

Year-round E15 sales will benefit not only consumers

strengthen our homegrown energy economy and decrease

but also help to boost the nation’s crippling ag economy,

our dependence on foreign oil. I have been fighting for

proponents

of

years to allow for the year-round sale of E15, and this

Agriculture (USDA) reports that the amount of debt held by

say.

The

United

States

Department

announcement is a positive step for consumers, farmers

America’s farmers reflects a level of strain that hasn’t been

and the environment.”

seen since the 1980s agricultural crisis.

EPA’s announcement is an example of a promise kept

The rule is anticipated to bring in demand for an

by the Trump administration, said Congresswoman Cheri

additional 7 billion gallons of ethanol in the coming years,

Bustos (D-Ill., 17th District). In a statement, she applauded

which will require an additional 2 billion bushels of corn

“the White House for finally taking this commonsense step

each year.

that will help farmers and consumers across the heartland.”

Year-round E15 is a fundamental step to remedy the ag economy, said POET CEO Jeff Broin. “Biofuels are the only

6

VITALBYPOET.COM


POLICY CORNER

What is E15? Ethanol is an advanced, homegrown biofuel that is already in 98 percent of the U.S. fuel supply and is moving America forward every day. And E15 — a fuel blend with 15 percent biofuel — gives drivers across the country a cleaner, higher-performing and more affordable choice at the pump. Did you know? E15: • Is a higher-blend, higher-octane fuel choice • Burns cleaner and cooler, which is good for your engine • Utilizes more earth-friendly ethanol, which cuts carbon emissions by 43 percent and displaces chemicals that create smog and are linked to cancer and asthma

E15 for Drivers: • E15 is sold at more than 1,700 locations across 30 states • The EPA has approved E15 for cars 2001 or newer • E15 is approved by automakers for 93 percent of new vehicles • Using E15 saves drivers up to 10 cents per gallon compared to traditional fuel • American motorists have driven seven billion miles on E15

E15 for Our Communities: • E15 offers an opportunity to reverse a 44 percent plunge in farm income over the last six years • E15 boosts employment by 136,000 jobs, on top of nearly 366,000 jobs nationwide supported by ethanol today • E15 creates a market for up to seven billion additional gallons of U.S. ethanol and two billion bushels of American corn • Support rural manufacturing at more than 200 biofuel plants across the heartland by using E15

THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE

7


POET PAC

Join POET PAC Today POET PAC is committed to advancing the interests of its members through educating legislators and regulators on the benefits of biofuels

WHAT does POET PAC do? POET PAC builds strategic relationships with and educates policy leaders on issues that are important to our industry and supports candidates who will be bold champions for the biofuel and agricultural industries in Washington D.C.

WHY is having POET PAC so important to the industry? What happens in Washington D.C. over the next few years will impact the biofuel and agricultural industries for the next decade. POET PAC must invest in champions who are on the frontlines of our most difficult battles as our biggest competitors invest millions to undermine our success. PAC dollars are strategically used to: • Keep congressional seats in the hands of pro-biofuel and agricultural lawmakers • Counter the influence of anti-biofuel candidates and lawmakers • Reserve our industry a seat at the table during critical discussions that impact the future of biofuels and rural America

WHO can make a difference? YOU! Your investment in POET PAC today will go a long way in helping create a pipeline of champions and a bright future for biofuels and rural America. The future of biofuels and rural America depends on YOU. Join today!

8

VITALBYPOET.COM


POET PAC

FAST FACTS FACT 1 POET PAC collects voluntary contributions from people who want to influence the decisions made in Washington D.C. that impact the future of biofuels and rural America.

Over 1,600 members strong

FACT 2 The key advantage of a well-financed PAC is that small and large individual contributions are pooled together to go against our well-funded opponents. PAC members from all over the country fight for a better future.

FACT 3 POET PAC is bipartisan and does not consider a candidate’s political affiliation when making contribution decisions. PAC dollars are strategically utilized to support those who support issues that are important to the biofuel and agricultural industries.

2018 POET PAC Distribution:

44% Republican

45%

11% Other

Democrat

How do I join? www.poetpac.com

(605) 965-2377

poetpac@poet.com

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.

PAID FOR BY POET PAC THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE

9


POET Named to Fast Company’s Annual List of The World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2019

POET, the world’s largest producer

the way in bioproducts and biofuel

New studies on global warming

of biofuels, has been named to Fast

production.

from 13 U.S. federal agencies and the

Company’s prestigious annual list of

The

World’s

Companies

10

for

“Our world is addicted to fossil

United Nations continue to indicate

Most

Innovative

fuels. At POET, we’re breaking that

the urgency of this problem and the

2019.

This

list

addiction,” POET CEO and Founder

need for biofuels as the solution.

highlights businesses with the most

Jeff Broin said. “Biofuels like ethanol

Furthermore,

impactful innovations from the past

are the best solution to reverse the

continue to show the wide-reaching

year.

devastating effects of climate change

effects of air pollution on human

POET’s mission centers on being

caused by a century of burning

health. A study from the University

good stewards of the Earth and on

fossil

impact

of Texas found that, looking globally,

developing technologies to efficiently

extends beyond the fuel tank; we’re

outdoor air pollution reduces the

produce

launching

average life expectancy at birth by

sustainable

biofuels

and

fuels.

And

POET’s

additional

bioproducts

additional

studies

oil alternatives to clean the air and

from starch and biomass including a

one year.

reverse the detrimental impacts of

new eco-friendly, renewable asphalt

“There’s really only one readily

climate change.

component for U.S. roadways. We’re

available solution to reduce the impact

POET is being recognized for this

making the roads we drive on as

of emissions from the transportation

award for the company’s pioneering

green as the biofuels used to power

sector: biofuels like ethanol,” Broin

work on its JIVE™ asphalt rejuvenation

our vehicles.”

noted. “Omitting the flawed theory

product. POET and JIVE earned the No.

“We

be

of indirect land use change, biofuels

3 spot in the transportation category.

recognized by Fast Company for

are currently more than 60 percent

JIVE allows asphalt producers to use

creating sustainable solutions to our

cleaner than gasoline.”

more recycled asphalt, which makes

world’s most challenging problems,”

POET is featured in Fast Company’s

their product less expensive and is

Broin said. “At POET, we’re committed

Most Innovative Companies issue

better for the environment. The latest

to striving for innovations to help

(March-April

in POET’s co-products, JIVE is another

build a sustainable future for our

available online and in app form on

example of how POET is leading

children and grandchildren.”

iTunes.

are

truly

honored

VITALBYPOET.COM

to

2019). The

issue

is


MECHANICS CORNER

Ethanol Is the Fuel of Cars, Conversations Automotive advice from The Under The Hood radio show

Ethanol is the fuel that feeds not only our engines’ fire

their cars without having to go into their shop. From those

but also the fire of many conversations. It is our belief that

conversations we find that many shops have told them to

ethanol is the fuel that can make a difference in our future.

not use ethanol so they are leery of it and switch between

It’s clean burning, renewable and good for our vehicles.

10 percent and no ethanol or buying premium non-ethanol

That is what we believe now, but even as mechanics we

fuel when their car didn’t require it. Under The Hood is not

needed education first to reach that conclusion. In 1990, when I came to South Dakota, one of the first things I noticed was a difference at the fuel pump. The pump read “contains ethanol.” I wasn’t sure what it meant, so I asked and received a mix of everything from love to hate. I had been a mechanic for a while and I had to make a choice, and my choice was to use ethanol. My car was a carbureted 1979 Chevrolet. While driving it for another 15 years, I never had an issue with it due to the fuel. I spent a large amount of time over those years as a mechanic and attending trainings

from

manufacturers

and

independent trainers. Working with mechanics, technicians often discussed ethanol. Cars would come in, and when a drivability issue couldn’t be nailed down as one specific thing, a lot of techs would say, “It has to be the fuel, so try non-ethanol gas.” I have now been a

about politics; it’s about what’s good for

Under The Hood is not about politics; it’s about what’s good for your car. We will continue to bring our listeners information that helps them save money and keep their car running as best as it can.

mechanic for over 30 years, and while

your car. We will continue to bring our listeners information that helps them save money and keep their car running as best as it can. We believe there is a need for educating both

the

mechanics

and

general

consumer. For years we have listened to mechanics and consumers who have said ethanol is bad. But when you ask them why, they can’t give an educated answer

derived

from

independent

testing. Rather, it’s from word of mouth. As a mechanic and talk show host, I strive to know more. I look at many test results and ask my friends who are mechanics to show me evidence of parts that failed due to ethanol. All of the results I found reaffirm my decision that ethanol is the best choice for a car’s fuel. I will continue to research and study findings as automobiles change. The Under The Hood radio show is America’s Favorite Car-talk show heard on over 230 stations and podcast. The Motor Medics — Russ, Chris and Shannon

some views on ethanol have changed, others have not.

— are three great

Unfortunately, most of it is based solely on opinion.

friends having fun

As the working manager of an automotive service center,

and offering a wide

it is my job to pass on accurate information to my customers.

range of automotive

Consumers want to know how to care for their vehicles, and

advice without the

the No. 1 source for their information is often the shop that

aid

services their vehicle. As the host of Under The Hood, my

computers

partners and myself also are a source of that information

reference guides.

of

in-studio or

over the radio where listeners tune in to learn more about

THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE

11


BIOFUELS ARE KEY TO BOOST AG MARKETS, AG POLICY CONSULTANT SAYS ‘It’s going to be demand for ethanol that will help turn this boat around’ by Steve Lange

The recent ag headlines don’t paint a pretty picture for

Miller grew up on and eventually ran his family’s century-

farmers.

old farm in Washington state before getting more involved in lobbying efforts and moving to the other Washington —

“Corn prices hovering at 10-year lows.” “Corn carryover

D.C. — to serve as vice president for government affairs at

threatening to break 30-year highs.”

the National Association of Wheat Growers. He served a two-year stint as Under Secretary for Farm and Agricultural

“Interest rates and farm debts rising.” “Farm profits falling.”

Services, held a senior position for the National Farmers Union, and has spent the last five years as the Vice President

“Farm bankruptcies up.” “Farm investments down.”

and Chief Economist for Growth Energy.

For some, the news reminds them a bit too much of the late

Today, Miller is still watching those headlines and pushing

1970s and early 80s, just before the ag industry fell into its

for policy changes from Arizona, where he runs Agriculture

worst six-year stretch since the Great Depression.

and Biofuel Policy Consulting (ABPC), a company he started in 2017.

Jim Miller, a farmer and longtime ag policy consultant, has closely followed and sometimes helped lead U.S. policies on

In this interview for Vital magazine, Miller discusses

agriculture, energy and trade for more than 40 years.

biofuels’ ability to lift agriculture out of a crisis, the importance of value-added products, and the anticipated

He was farming during that 1980s ag crisis. He was helping

uptick in grain and ethanol demand from year-round E15.

craft policy soon after it.

12

VITALBYPOET.COM


Vital: Can you, in a few words, characterize the current state of the ag economy?

Miller: I think everyone in the industry is looking at, “Okay, how do we process this corn into other products?” One key element is the bioethanol industry. That is our

Miller: Pretty poor. That’s primarily due to declining commodity prices, especially for major grains such as corn, wheat and soybeans.

best opportunity to increase demand for corn. We need to increase the production of ethanol and find good markets both at home and around the world. If we can do that, we can work our way through this.

Vital: So, are we in the middle of a farm crisis? Miller: I don’t know that I would characterize it as a crisis at the moment. But if these commodity prices continue to be depressed and we continue to see a fairly significant uptick in the number of farmers declaring bankruptcy, we could be entering a crisis.

Vital: OK. So why isn’t the answer just to export more corn? Miller: History has shown that we just don’t see huge changes in the amount of demand for number two yellow corn around the world. We really haven’t seen any sort of a major shift in the export demand for yellow corn in decades.

Vital: Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue recently said conditions today mirror the early ‘80s: ever-increasing yields, falling profits, rising interest rates. Do those comparisons scare you? Miller: Well, they can. The domestic market for major agricultural commodities is pretty well saturated. A lot of what we need centers on international trade. What we really have to do is find new demand for corn around the world, especially if we’re going to continue to have the kinds of productivity increases that we’re witnessing.

Vital: The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is predicting nearly 2 billion bushels of corn carryout (or “ending stocks”). How do we work through that huge corn inventory?

Vital: Is there a history of biofuels helping pull ag out of this kind of crisis? Miller: Yes. Historically, biofuels have done that repeatedly. If one looks back over the past 10 to 20 years, and especially from the time that the U.S. passed its Renewable Fuel Standard, you see the ethanol industry has continued to figure out new and better ways to export this excess corn. And now the industry utilizes about 5.6 billion bushels of corn to produce ethanol as well as coproducts such as distillers grains. The real change in the demand for corn has come from the ethanol industry over the last decade or so. And there are opportunities for that demand to continue to grow.

THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE

13


$100 BILLION

US FARM INCOME

50

0 2006 2008 2010 2012 2014 2016

Vital: How will it grow?

Miller: That demand will grow through higher ethanol blend grades in the United States and through rapid increases in the amount of ethanol being demanded in many overseas markets. It’s going to be that demand for ethanol that will help turn this boat around.

Vital: The EPA has announced a proposed rule that allows retailers to sell E15 yearround, including summer. Is that one of those steps in the right direction? Miller: Oh, it certainly is. Allowing E15 to be marketed year-round will result in a significant increase in the number of retailers that begin to offer E15. That’s a big step to introduce more ethanol into the market.

Vital: You’ve been doing this for a long time. Is this still exciting for you? Miller: Oh, yes. Agriculture — and especially the bioethanol industry — are both extraordinarily

Vital: What are some of the things that let you sleep at night?

exciting. There are going to be even more opportunities in agriculture. Bioethanol has changed the game in the last decade when it comes to new markets for corn around the world, and

Miller: Well, I’m optimistic that our trade relationship

that has certainly kept things exciting in the industry.

with China, particularly in the areas of agriculture and energy, can get resolved in a way that’s favorable to the United States. That is a huge — albeit, almost always uncertain — market, but it portends opportunities for a significant part of U.S. agriculture. … And we’ve got one country that could really be a game changer, and that is India. It’s the world’s largest democracy, second most populous country, has a rising middle class, huge environmental air quality problems. But they’ve also had a very protectionist policy. Growth Energy, the Renewable Fuels Association and the U.S. Grains Council continue to work very hard in India to get a policy that would encourage increased ethanol production. Selling biofuels into these new markets could make a big difference in helping the farm industry by moving that excess corn.

14

Vital: Can biofuels be a game changer when it comes to turning the current ag economy around? Miller: Definitely. Biofuels is certainly the leader in the kinds of new products, like distillers grains and corn oil, we can and need to export. We have so many uses for biofuels now. The growth in demand as well as the increased global interest in ethanol bodes well for us. Biofuels continue to lead in terms of helping create the demand for corn that our farmers need so badly. We know biofuels can help turn this thing around. We just need some help to make that happen.

VITALBYPOET.COM


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Part 4 of a series that focuses on POET’s collaboration with area universities.

16

VITALBYPOET.COM


ANOTHER USE FOR LIGNIN Research Collaboration Demonstrates an Additional Way to Replace Petrochemicals With a Renewable Alternative by Steve Lange | photos by Brian Koch

In a lab at Michigan State University

lignin, Nejad’s research was the first

walls, is the second-most abundant

(MSU), researchers are trying to

to prove the viability of 100 percent

natural polymer in the world, behind

revolutionize the wood adhesives

replacement of phenol with lignin.

only cellulose. As part of their “use

industry using an agricultural co-

Using a bio-based alternative instead

every byproduct” philosophy, the

product supplied by the team at

of a toxic, chemical-based one offers

team at POET burns the dry lignin to

POET’s Project LIBERTY, POET-DSM

the potential to bring not only health

create steam that provides heat and

Advanced

commercial

benefits for construction workers

power to Project LIBERTY.

scale cellulosic biofuels facility in

and consumers at large but also cost

When Nejad analyzed POET lignin

Emmetsburg, Iowa. The joint POET-

savings for the adhesive industry. The

isolated from corn stover, she found

DSM venture uses biowaste like corn

collaboration has been successful,

that POET lignin is a suitable lignin to

cobs, leaves and husk to produce

group members from POET and MSU

replace petroleum-based phenol.

cellulosic ethanol.

say, in part because of their shared

“Our goal is to convince adhesive

What MSU researcher and assistant

vision to replace petrochemicals with

producers that they can formulate

professor Dr. Mojgan Nejad’s team

green, renewable alternatives. The

a bio-based adhesive with similar

has found is that lignin — organic

POET/MSU collaboration recently won

performance as a petroleum-based

material that is left over from biofuel

the 2018 Small Business Innovation

adhesive using lignin,” Nejad says. “I

production — can completely replace

Award from the Adhesive and Sealant

had wanted to be a chemistry professor

petroleum-based

Biofuels’

Council for the group’s efforts.

since I was 9 years old, and now that I

ingredient in wood adhesives. In

Lignin has long been considered to

have my dream job, I am passionate to

the last 30 or so years of published

have little marketable value. Lignin,

see that our work can make a positive

work

which acts as natural glue in plant cell

change in the world. This work has

on

phenol,

replacing

a

phenol

toxic

with

THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE

17


Steve Bly and Tyler Jordison look at a lignin sample from Project LIBERTY in POET’s research lab. The sample will be sent to Michigan State University for further analysis.

BIOWASTE

BIOFUEL

POET-DSM uses biowaste like corn cobs, leaves and husks to produce cellulosic ethanol.

Lignin is an organic material that is left over from biofuel production.

PLYWOOD The plywood produced with lignin-based adhesive was shown to have similar wet and dry adhesion strengths as a commercially formulated adhesive.

18

LIGNIN

VITALBYPOET.COM


This lignin sample from Project LIBERTY will be sent to Mojgan Nejad at Michigan State University.

This work has a great potential to improve the health of industry and construction workers and also the general public by reducing their exposure to phenol and formaldehyde.

contains 50 percent less formaldehyde

for POET and Nejad to again work

than the petroleum-based phenolic

together. They had started working

adhesive that is currently available on

together six years earlier, when Nejad

the market.

was doing her postdoctoral research

Phenolic

adhesive,

in

fact,

is

at the University of Toronto.

the most common adhesive in the

When Nejad asked for samples from

production of exterior-grade wood

POET, the company shipped lignin in

products (plywood, oriented strand

various forms. The lignin from Project

boards and laminated veneer lumber),

LIBERTY, turned out to be different

and had a market value of $11 billion

than other lignins. It also turned out

in 2016, a number expected to grow

to be the best candidate for phenol

to $16 billion by 2022, according

replacement.

to Stratistics MRC, a global market

“The collaboration with Mojgan

research company.

and Michigan State has been great

The switch could be a direct savings

for everyone involved,” says Tyler

for the adhesive industry, since the

Jordison, a POET research scientist

phenol is petroleum-based and its

(and

a great potential to improve the

cost fluctuates with the price of oil,

“She mentors us on lignin and its

health of industry and construction

unlike lignin that is produced from

composition and capabilities, and

workers and also the general public

agricultural waste produced in the

we have shown her how it may be

by reducing their exposure to phenol

United States.

possible to produce these results

and formaldehyde. We found that

This type of project focused on

on a large scale. Her lab results of

the developed lignin-based adhesive

sustainability seemed like a great fit

replacing phenols with lignin have

THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE

a

Michigan

State

grad).

19


Mojgan Nejad (center) with her group from Michigan State University in 2017.

Tyler Jordison, POET research scientist, has worked with Michigan State University on looking at lignin’s composition and capabilities.

20

VITALBYPOET.COM


been surprisingly positive.”

also replace 100 percent

“We were hoping to get maybe

of formaldehyde with

60 percent of phenol with lignin,”

a

says Nejad. She was at a conference

raw material, but we

when her PhD student (Isal Kalami)

now have a formulation

called and was excited to report, after

that has very similar

continuing to increase the mixture,

performance

“the adhesive developed by replacing

petrochemical-based

100 percent of phenol with lignin, had

adhesive.

excellent water resistance and did not

perfect

dissolve in water after 24 hours of a

are now happy to see

bio-based,

that

We believe in this collaboration with Michigan State. And finding a use for a biochemical as an alternative compound to a petrochemical completely aligns with the mission and vision of POET.

nontoxic

to

We

the

got

result, some

a

and

adhesive

producers are seriously looking

at

replacing

phenol with lignin.” For POET Bioproducts Research Director Steve Bly, the lignin research shows

promise,

but

more important is the long-term,

big-picture

relationships by

these

created university

collaborations. “The

best

part

of

these collaborations is that they benefit both POET and the university

is in nature,” she says. “We believe

researchers,” says Bly, now in his

in this collaboration with Mojgan.

tenth year at POET. “We’re involved in

We believe in this collaboration with

a number of these collaborations, and

Michigan State. And finding a use

the university professors extend our

for a biochemical as an alternative

reach from a research perspective.

compound

water immersion test.”

Mojgan is a well-respected expert in

completely aligns with the mission

Nejad and her team then began

lignin utilization and her knowledge

and vision of POET.”

to work on optimizing the resin and

in this area helps to accelerate our

And for Mojgan Nejad, that big-

adhesive formulations, and received

research

picture

efforts.

We

give

them

to

plan

a

of

petrochemical

replacing

toxic

even more promising results. With

feedback, and show them real-world

ingredients with safe alternatives is a

the new mixture, the amount of

applications

lifelong passion.

formaldehyde

very

standpoint. Even hundreds of miles

“We can really do this,” she says.

toxic, and its emission is always a

apart, we’re working together for the

“We can change an entire industry

concern with woods products — was

same goal: replacing toxic petroleum-

for the better. We can make the whole

decreased by 50 percent.

based compounds with something

world safer. Everything that is made

Various tests proved the wet and dry

that’s safe and grows naturally.”

of petrochemicals we could someday

adhesion performance of developed

Margaret Slupska, Lignocellulosic

replace with plant-based materials.

lignin-based glue were similar to

Research Director at POET, agrees.

Think what a difference that would

phenol-based glue.

“Lignin

make.”

“This

was

very

which

is

exciting,”

is

from

a

a

really

commercial

fascinating

says

compound when you think about how

Nejad. “We need more research to

it is structured and how abundant it

THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE

21


PRIME THE PUMP

Kum & Go Continues to See Success With Offering E15 by Janna Farley Kum & Go is no stranger to the

“They were interested, but they

“That’s really driven the adoption of

biofuels market.

didn’t know if they could use E15 with

E15,” Herro says.

The chain has been an industry

their engine,” he says.

Since it launched E15, Kum & Go has

leader

alternative

Kum & Go’s initial success with E15

been working with Prime the Pump

fuels. In the 1970s, Kum & Go was

in

introducing

can be attributed to the Prime the

on how to consistently brand E15

among the first to offer 10 percent

Pump initiative.

across the industry, testing different

ethanol blends. In 1997, the chain

Prime

expanded its fuel options to include

volume,

high-profile

retailers

to

retailers have started using the name

E85. In 2015, E15 — a fuel blend with

provide

E15

and

assists

“Unleaded 88” at the pump instead

15 percent biofuel — was added to the

early retail adopters of higher-level

of the trade name E15, but many

mix.

biofuel blends by awarding grants

retailers are still evaluating options

Along with its core values of

to help with their initial investments

for what makes the most sense for

caring, excellence, integrity, passion

in

consumers at the pump.

and

marketing

access

infrastructure

and

high-

consumer

“Our goal throughout the branding process has been to make it easier

says Sam Herro, Director of Retail

$85 million in this initiative. Those

to be an E15 customer, whether that

Fuels for Kum & Go.

retailers involved in the initiative have

means

Today, E15 is available at 120 Kum &

seen a competitive advantage with

88,” Herro says. “Through several

Go locations and is quickly expanding

higher income, lower pump prices

to more. The chain is moving into

and higher-octane E15, as well as

the Denver market this year and E15

increased traffic to their convenience

will be in every new store that the

stores.

company builds there.

It didn’t take long for Kum & Go

“The Denver metro area is a

customers to learn that E15 is a

dynamic market, and we see demand

cleaner-burning, higher-octane and

for E15,” Herro says. “We believe that

more affordable choice. “People are

it will be a differentiator for us in the

starting to get the message that it’s

near future.

the most tested fuel ever,” Herro says. &

Go

first

education.

“They know it’s safe to use.”

introduced E15, Herro admits that

Add a better price point into the

customers were a little uncertain.

equation and the decision is easy.

Any time you are able to offer more of what the consumer is asking for, you are setting yourself up for success. Not all of our competitors have embraced it yet. It has been a profitable fuel for us. It’s beneficial to both customers and Kum & Go. Sam Herro, Director of Retail Fuels for Kum & Go

22

names in different markets. Several

The

Kum

and

targets

biofuels industry has invested nearly

when

environmental

Pump

sustainability is a corporate priority,

Back

teamwork,

the

VITALBYPOET.COM

E15,

eblend

or

Unleaded


PRIME THE PUMP

KUM & GO FAST FACTS highly targeted campaigns we have been asking ourselves, ‘How can we highlight the benefits or E15 without causing confusion?” What E15 is called can change the perception of the fuel and influence sales, Herro says. “Prime the Pump has been very helpful in guiding where we’re at today and where we’re going to be in the next few years. It’s been a very good partnership.” More than that, however, it’s been good for Kum & Go’s business. “Any time you are able to offer more of what the consumer is asking for, you are setting yourself up for success. Not all of our competitors have embraced it yet,” Herro says. “It has been a profitable fuel for us. It’s beneficial to both customers and Kum

Founded in Hampton, Iowa, in 1959 by William A. Krause and Tony S. Gentle. Today, Kum & Go is still a family-owned operation run by Kyle J. Krause, son and grandson of the original founders. Kum & Go employs more than 5,000 people in 400 stores across 11 states (Iowa, Arkansas, Colorado, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wyoming).

Every year, Kum & Go donates 10 percent of its profits to good causes in the communities it serves. Since 2011, all new Kum & Go stores have been designed, constructed and submitted for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices.

& Go.”

THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE

23


FARM FRESH

How Can Farmers Beat Mother Nature? by Brian Hefty At first glance, raising great crops looks almost impossible;

over a few weeks and plant both early and late-maturing crops.

Mother Nature is a powerful force.

Along those same lines, we advise farmers to plant multiple

Here are some of the challenges that farmers must face: The

seed varieties, because each variety responds differently based

weather is often too cold, too wet, too hot, too dry, too windy,

on all the environmental challenges the year will bring. As we

too sunny or too cloudy. You know that the average is just the

drive through the field with our planter today, we can seed two

number in between all the extremes we get each year, right?

different varieties, and each variety can be planted at different

Even if the weather is perfect, farmers fight weeds, diseases,

populations, higher or lower based on agronomic factors. By

insects, nematodes and other pests that can damage or even

better matching up the crop density and variety to the area of

destroy the crop. Despite all the control methods farmers use to

the field we are seeding, we set ourselves up for better success.

stop these yield-robbers, they still have to face a number of soil

Seed treatments. The corn we will plant on our farm this

issues, including poor drainage, compaction, excess sodium or

year will have 33 different products on it. Our soybeans will

magnesium, soil composition that is too light (sandy and usually

have even more than that. Twenty-five years ago, our corn and

too little organic matter) or too heavy (excess clay or organic

our soybean seed each had just one treatment. Many of the

matter), and of course, soil erosion, which is usually worse the

issues I listed previously mean that each seed a farmer places

greater the slope of the land.

in the soil must run the gauntlet in terms of challenges. Today’s

I could continue these lists, but I think you get the point.

seed treatments help seed fight off pests and solubilize more

Farming is challenging, and we haven’t even talked about

nutrients to emerge quicker and healthier, which ultimately

commodity prices, land and equipment costs, labor, insurance,

leads to higher yields.

interest, and so many other factors that impact success and

Improving soil health. From reducing tillage to using cover

failure.

crops, farmers are typically trying to increase soil organic

The title for this article is “How Can Farmers Beat Mother

matter if it is low, and they are working to increase beneficial

Nature?” The simple answer is, they can’t! However, by working

microbial life in the soil. Other steps to a healthier soil include

in conjunction with Mother Nature, rolling with whatever

improving drainage, getting pH in the six range, having massive

challenges come up, and being prepared for what comes next,

plant root systems which in part means ample and balanced soil

farmers continue to increase yields. Here are some of the ways

fertility, and the use of manure or compost when possible.

they are doing this.

Farming has never been more challenging. There are a lot

Spreading risk. Rather than planting the entire crop in one

of dollars at stake, and so much of what happens during the

day, we always encourage farmers to spread planting dates

growing season is beyond the farmers’ control. Nevertheless, by focusing on what can be controlled, farmers continue to do a fantastic job increasing yields and providing more healthy food. I say this often, but I don’t think it can be said enough: We need to thank the American farmer every day, because here in the U.S. we have the safest, most abundant and least expensive food supply in the world!

24

VITALBYPOET.COM


IS MADE HERE.

For years, we’ve been told that cellulosic biofuel is a “fantasy fuel.” And it is.

And now it’s going to change the world. For real.

So we’ve spent a decade planning, researching, and working hard to make that fantasy a reality. ®

POET-DSM.COM

Advanced Biofuels


PRODUCING

Steam

Electricity

RENEWABLE FUEL POWERED BY SUSTAINABLE ENERGY

POET BIOREFINING – CHANCELLOR POET Biorefining – Chancellor is the model for solving the problems facing our world due to climate change. By using a diverse system of renewable energy sources – landfill gas, waste wood and a steam turbine – this facility is producing some of the cleanest biofuel on the planet.

Landfill Gas


LANDFILL GAS PROVIDES 10% OF TOTAL ENERGY NEEDS

Through a partnership with the City of Sioux Falls landfill, landfill gas is collected, compressed and sent to POET for direct use to replace natural gas useage.

SOLID FUEL BOILER PROVIDES 30% OF TOTAL ENERGY NEEDS

The boiler produces steam to run the bioprocessing plant, which is fueled by waste wood. Fuel includes fallen trees, manufacturing waste, old pallets, barn wood and trees infected with Emerald ash borer beetle.

STEAM TURBINE PROVIDES 35% OF ELECTRICAL NEEDS

High-pressure steam produced by the solid fuel boiler creates electricity. The exhaust of the turbine (lowpressure steam) is used as process heat in the plant.

LOW

HIGH

STEAM

STEAM

PRESSURE

PRESSURE


DOMINO EFFECT 28

VITALBYPOET.COM


Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-SD) and Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken watch as POET CEO Jeff Broin signs a 10-year contract to renew POET’s partnership with the City of Sioux Falls to power POET Biorefining – Chancellor with waste methane generated at the Sioux Falls Regional Landfill.

From Tyson Foods’ New Pact to POET’s Partnership with the City of Sioux Falls, Corporate Sustainability Partnerships Have Impact Beyond Company Doors by Rob Swenson The first in a Vital-exclusive series on corporate sustainability.

photo by Brian Koch THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE

29


ustainability been

has

a

buzzword

recent in

in

many

companies

production.

sustainability and has evolved into “one of the greatest renewable energy

business community,

renewed partnership between POET

stories on the planet,” said POET CEO

and for good reason.

Biorefining – Chancellor and the Sioux

Jeff Broin.

There’s

growing

Falls Regional Sanitary Landfill, both

Over the last 10 years, the plant’s use

that

of which are in southeastern South

of landfill gas during its production

Dakota.

process has offset nearly 200,000

corporate responsibility

offset fossil fuel — is a model for

recently

recognition is

cases, that

social

important. consumers work

the

climate change and sustainable food

for

That’s

the

case

POET’s

in

a

And

Under

agreement

with

metric tons of CO2 from natural gas.

and

the City of Sioux Falls, methane gas

That’s equal to one year of greenhouse

other

formed by decomposing waste at a

gas emissions from 23,000 homes.

companies are asking for more of it.

landfill is piped underground for

Many U.S. businesses and other

11 miles and burned at the biofuel-

organizations increasingly are seeking

producing plant near the small town

mutually beneficial agreements to

of Chancellor to help create renewable

enhance the sustainability of their

fuel. The practice began in 2009, and

operations. The benefits of such

a second, 10-year agreement recently

partnerships often extend beyond the

was reached.

companies’ doors to tackle important

The

environmental and social issues like

other energy sources that further

plant

which

has

At POET – Chancellor, roughly half of the plant’s energy needs are supplied by renewable energy. The plant produces biofuel with the lowest carbon intensity of POET’s bioprocessing facilities, utilizing gas and biomass for energy.

30

VITALBYPOET.COM

two

POET Agreement Is ‘Win-win’ The

agreement

brings

benefits

both for sustainability and citizens, political leaders noted at a press conference for the new agreement at


POET’s headquarters.

Meanwhile,

“Thanks to our partnership with

generates approximately $1.5 million

At the bioprocessing plant, the gas

POET, the city is able to provide a

in revenue per year for landfill

is used to power a boiler and dryers to

renewable fuel to POET’s biofuel

operations, said Dustin Hansen, the

dry distillers grain.

production operations to make a

city’s former Landfill Supervisor. He

Bart Plocher, General Manager at

renewable fuel,” said Sioux Falls

recently became Sioux Falls’ Street

POET Biorefining – Chancellor, expects

Mayor

Manager.

the plant to continue to burn all the

gas sales to POET also keeps landfill

The revenue from selling landfill gas

gas the that the landfill can produce

fees low. All around, a win-win

allows Sioux Falls to hold down fees

in coming years as the plant strives to

for sustainable energy and landfill

charged to the public for disposing

customers in the five-county service

trash, Hansen and Cotter said. The

area.”

city has avoided increasing tipping

“It’s been a huge success for both

fees at the landfill for several years.

parties. We’re so excited to have it and

“We’ve got some of the lowest landfill

to extend out that contract for another

rates in the region,” Cotter said.

10 years,” said Rachel Kloos, Plant

The

Manager. “It has been just an amazing

Chancellor plant got started when

project from the very get-go.”

Sioux Falls officials started looking for

Mark Cotter, Sioux Falls’ Director of

an industrial customer for the landfill

Public Works, agrees. “It’s really been

gas, and the POET plant stepped

a great public-private partnership, a

forward.

win-win for both sides,” Cotter said.

Before the partnership was worked

“It’s a very responsible way to manage

out in about 2008, the potentially

landfill gas.”

dangerous gas produced at the landfill

The Chancellor facility’s agreement

was wasted. It was collected and

with the landfill, which serves a five-

burned off into the atmosphere.

county area, has had documented

Now, a network of about 150

benefits.

vertical and horizontal wells in new

The steady supply of methane, or

and old disposal pits collect the gas,

landfill gas, provides about 10 percent

which is created by the decomposition

of the fuel needed to run a boiler and

of cellulosic waste, such as food and

create a better environment with its

corn dryers at the ethanol plant, and

lawn clippings. The gas is transported

practices as well as its products.

the cost is typically below the market

to the Chancellor area in a 12-inch,

“In terms of embodying what we

rate for natural gas.

plastic pipe that is buried along public

try to do, there are few practical

Paul

TenHaken.

“Landfill

the

partnership

agreement

with

THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE

the

rights of way.

We know that longterm success requires industry leadership coupled with strategic partnership and innovation. Collaboration enables us to learn and share best practices with like-minded organizations.

31


applications that are quite as clear as

to hold down water consumption,

the landfill agreement with the City of

even though water availability is not a

Sioux Falls,” Plocher said.

widespread problem in the Northern

Having access to landfill gas gives

Plains, Kloos said.

the plant more diversity in market

“Sustainability sometimes isn’t the

options to meet its energy needs, Kloos

easy choice, but it’s the right choice,”

said. Making use of a non-fossil energy

she said.

source also is civically responsible for

Tyson Partnership Could Have Widereaching Impact

a company that produces green fuel, she said. “Part of our mission is to be environmentally friendly. This fits into that perfectly,” she said. “We’ve got to practice what we preach.”

Another sustainability agreement

The Chancellor plant preserves

on a national scale stands to offer far-

resources in other ways, too. It also

reaching benefits as well by helping to

burns chips from scrap wood as a

meet growing consumer demand for

supplemental energy source to help

sustainably grown food.

reduce consumption of natural gas

The agreement that was announced

and electricity. The plant also strives

in

January

unites

Working with EDF enables us to bring together the best of our joint expertise in supply chain and sustainable agriculture while delivering value to growers, businesses and the environment.

Arkansas-

photo by Emily Spartz Weerheim

Methane is collected in perforated pipes through wells at the landfill and then compressed in a gas compressor before it’s sent to POET Biorefining – Chancellor.

32

VITALBYPOET.COM


POET CEO Jeff Broin discusses the benefits of POET’s partnership with the City of Sioux Falls, calling POET Biorefining – Chancellor “one of the greatest renewable energy stories in the world.” photo by Brian Koch

based Tyson Foods Inc. and the

produced in the United States comes

and impact of sustainable farming

Environmental Defense Fund, or EDF,

from the company.

practices.

in New York. The two organizations

The Environmental Defense Fund,

The Farmers Business Network and

are working together on a pilot

or EDF, is a nonprofit, environmental-

MyFarms have been enlisted to enroll

program to identify and advance

advocacy

farmers who will provide information

sustainable farming practices.

widespread influence.

“We know that long-term success

The

requires

agreement

with

about between

the

production

practices.

The

information will help Tyson and EDF

leadership

two entities is intended to develop

make supply-chain assessments.

coupled with strategic partnership

initiatives that will support Tyson’s

The information also could result

and innovation,” said Caroline Ahn,

sustainability goals and help meet

in data that will help farmers, said

Manager of Executive Communications

growing

Charles Baron, Cofounder and Vice

for Tyson. “Collaboration enables us

sustainably grown food.

President of Product for the Farmers

to learn and share best practices with

“Working with EDF enables us

Business Network, or FBN. The FBN is

like-minded organizations.”

to bring together the best of our

based in San Carlos, Calif. and has an

joint

operations center in Sioux Falls.

The

industry

organization

agreement

between

Tyson

consumer

expertise

in

demand

supply

for

chain

and the EDF could have far-reaching

and sustainable agriculture while

“There’s a whole host of things that

influence on agricultural production

delivering

growers,

farmers could be getting compensated

because positive practices that emerge

businesses and the environment,”

for if we could create markets for them

from the project are expected to be

Ahn said.

and provide tracking or traceability

shared with the public.

value

to

Jenny Ahlen, Director of the Supply

all the way back to the field,” Baron

Tyson,

Chain EDF+Business Program at EDF,

said. “We want our growers to get

alone, would be significant because

said the prospect of Tyson proving

more revenue for what’s unique

Tyson is the largest food-production

that farming practices can be good for

about their farm or something unique

company in the United States and one

the planet as well as profits has game-

about the crops that they’re growing.”

of the biggest in the world. About 20

changing potential. Scientific analysis

percent of the chicken, beef and pork

will be used to measure the benefits

Any

changes

made

by

THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE

33


NASCAR UPDATE

Big Things, Small Beginnings Richard Childress Racing, the Team With Humble Roots, Celebrates 50th Anniversary by Ryan Welsh Richard Childress Racing (RCR) was started with humble roots

opportunity to race and brought home $4,000, which was used

by Richard Childress in 1969 and has grown over the years to

to start his race shop and keep the dream alive. It is said that he

become a renowned, performance-driven racing, marketing

celebrated post-race with champagne and a bologna sandwich.

and manufacturing organization. Childress, the man behind

Champagne and bologna may provide the perfect analogy for

RCR, is a staunch supporter of the ethanol industry and sits on

Childress’ life and career. He has reached the pinnacle of the

Growth Energy’s board of directors. The championship-winning

sport but still enjoys repairing fence posts at his Montana home

NASCAR™ team celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2019.

during family vacations.

From the moment you meet Childress, you feel at home.

Long-time NASCAR publicist and author Ed Hinton once

Whether you encounter him at a race track, a farm show or a

compared Childress to a Charles Dickens character like Oliver

partner event, his cheerful, “Hi, how are y’all doing?” greeting is

Twist or Pip from “Great Expectations.” To me, that is a spot-

sincere and friendly. Humility is prevalent.

on. I would want to blend in the roles of Atticus Finch and

Although

he’s

an

Rocky Balboa. Childress

15-time

may seem to some like

NASCAR Champion car

an undrafted MVP of

owner today, Childress

the Super Bowl or an

started

his

inspirational industrialist

peddling

popcorn

accomplished

careerand

that

build

peanuts at his local short

America. However, when

track,

Grey

we think of Childress,

Bowman

Stadium,

Winston-

we see a champion of

Salem, N.C., where he

in

NASCAR, a champion of

watched

such

American Ethanol, and a

as Tim Flock and Junior

drivers

humble guy who is living

Johnson battle on the

the dream.

track. It was at Bowman Grey

where

Childress

developed his passion for motorsports. Childress, who has worked his entire life and has had jobs as varied as cleaning the lunch room at school to bootlegging liquor at an all-night gas station, saved his money and gathered enough to buy his first race car for $20. His first big break came during the notorious drivers’ strike at Talladega Speedway in 1969. Since the top-level drivers refused to drive due to the danger of a new racing surface, Childress had the Richard’s first race car he purchased for $20

34

helped

RCR’s First Race Shop

VITALBYPOET.COM


ENERGY FOR LIFE the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks

THE BENEFITS OF A SPIRITUAL SPRING CLEANING

what the heart is full of.”

4. DUST It amazes me how quickly dust and dirt can build up. If left unattended, layers will start to form. The same is true of our past. Mistakes are meant to be learned from and let go of. If you find yourself dwelling on a past mistake, get out the dust cloth, show yourself some

by Melissa Fletcher, Spiritual Care Advisor, POET

grace and wipe the layer clean before it begins to settle.

It’s time for some spring cleaning! This is the time of year to freshen up the house and put things back in

5. BUFF AND SHINE

order after a long winter. But did you know that our

Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the Holy Spirit produces

spiritual life also deserves a good spring cleaning? How

this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience,

do we even begin to spring clean our spiritual life? You

kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and

can start with this easy checklist:

self-control.” Once our spiritual lives have a time of

1. DECLUTTER AND TAKE OUT THE TRASH Isn’t it amazing how much extra stuff we end up

refreshment, we can once again enjoy the Fruit of the Spirit and become an encourager to someone else, demonstrating love and compassion to those around us.

collecting over the years? The more stuff we have, the more burdensome it becomes. The same is true

6. ORGANIZE

in our spiritual life. Too much distraction can put a

Everyone has a junk drawer. When we organize

damper on your own spiritual growth. Learning to set

spiritually, we allow the Holy Spirit to fill in the spaces

boundaries and knowing when to say “no” can bring

and build our lives. When we allow God to help us

you numerous benefits. Then, once you have started

prioritize the things that matter most, our lives become

to box up those “extras,” be sure to take out the trash,

healthier and more productive for building the

rather than shifting them around inside your spiritual

Kingdom of God.

space. This spring, as you clean your house, be willing to do

2. SCRUB AND SANITIZE

a spiritual cleaning of your life as well! You will soon

Over time, our attitudes and behaviors can become

find yourself feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. Let

sour from the environment that surrounds us. It’s

the cleaning begin!

important to be intentional about cleaning up our thoughts, words and actions. I like to do the P48 Test. Philippians 4:8 says, “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Always pause and consider your thoughts and motives before you act on them.

3. VACUUM Have you ever tried to do a quick clean-up job before company comes over and find yourself stuffing things in the closet or sweeping loose items under the rug? This may work for a temporary fix, but the pile will continue to grow over time. This can also happen when we allow resentment, anger and bitterness to pile up in our heart. So get out the vacuum and suck up these things so your heart can be clean. Luke 6:45 says, “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of

36

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CLEAN UP YOUR CLEANING SUPPLIES

Good Trade has a comprehensive list of household cleaning brands that you can find at your local retailer. Read the list here: https://www.thegoodtrade.com/ features/natural-eco-friendly-cleaning-products-forthe-conscious-home.

by Sarah Knutson, Holistic Therapist, POET

VINEGAR WATER

Did you know many common household cleaners have

Non-toxic, all natural vinegar water can be used just

toxic chemicals that have negative effects on your

about anywhere in your house.

health? Even when properly used, these chemicals can cause severe symptoms such as respiratory issues,

ESSENTIAL OILS

asthma, reproductive problems, endocrine disruption

Some oils like Melaleuca (Tea Tree) or Cinnamon

and even cancer. These toxins can be especially

have antibacterial properties. Add a few drops to your

dangerous for small children and pets.

vacuum bag or mop water, or put a couple drops on a fresh furnace filter!

Trying to find household cleaners that are natural and eco-friendly can be a tall order. It can be challenging

NATURAL PRODUCTS

to sort through the plethora of cleaning products. The

Several product lines are less toxic to you and the environment. My personal favorite is Norwex (not sold

TIDY UP YOUR WELL-BEING

in stores), a line of microfiber antibacterial cleaning products.

by Cole Fricke, Wellness Coordinator, POET What are you doing to clean up your health and wellness this spring? I’ve got good news for you: It’s not as hard as you think. The secret is the K.I.S.S. principle: Keep It Simple, Silly. Don’t try to do everything all at once. Start with small changes instead. Consider these three areas:

etc.) and build up from there! If exercise is something you normally like to do but you’ve slacked off a little in the past few months, be kind to yourself. Start where you’re at instead of looking back at where you’ve been.

TIDY UP YOUR MIND Finally, what are your daily habits that prevent you

TIDY UP YOUR NUTRITION This is the probably the area with the biggest potential for drastic positive change, but also the area where it’s often easier said than done. Theoretically, it’s easier to not eat 500 calories than it is to go burn 500 calories with exercise, but that is easier said than done when staring down those free donuts in the breakroom. So start small. Evaluate your eating habits (be honest!) and whether or not over time they meet your goals. If not, let’s clean it up! Make little changes, like adding in better substitutions (more fruits and veggies, less sugar and processed foods) and reducing your portion sizes. At the end of the day, eat real food!

from living your best life? Self-care is not selfish, and it’s never as hard as it seems. Remember: K.I.S.S. Start small and pick up some easy wins to get the ball rolling. Dine out a lot? Aim for a reasonable number of home-cooked meals for work and at home with family. Poor sleep quality? Put that phone down at night and set a firm bedtime instead of mindlessly scrolling through social media. (Trust me, you’ll feel a lot better about yourself and your friends, and you’ll sleep a lot better too!)

TIDY UP YOUR ACTIVITY

Whatever you’re working on, simply remember these

Notice I said activity — not just dedicated exercise.

overarching themes: Start small and keep building,

Exercise is activity, but not all activity needs to be

prioritize, have a purpose and goal in mind, and don’t

exercise. It would be awesome for you to immediately

be afraid to do this for yourself. If you focus on these

decide to exercise more, but if that’s not anywhere near

things, you’ll be just fine!

where you’re coming from, start small with something you like to do (gardening/yardwork, walking outside,

THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE

37


ADVANCES IN INNOVATION AND TECHNOLOGY UNLOCK ACCESS TO CORN FIBER POET Discovers Additional Pathway to Produce Low-carbon Cellulosic Ethanol by Steve Lange | photos by Greg Latza

38

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Gwen Biersbach, Senior Research Scientist at POET, at POET’s headquarters in Sioux Falls.

THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE

39


or 30-plus years, POET has

Solubles (DDGS), an animal feed. It

Council.

continued to discover an ever-

was basically a filler. “The corn kernel

“POET

really

pushing

the

increasing array of creative and

fiber is what we call the Saran Wrap

envelope,” Coleman says. “Cellulosic

cost-effective ways to use every

around the kernel — the coating that

ethanol is a game-changer that could

bit of starch, oil, protein and fiber

protects the starch, fat and protein

completely replace our dependence

from every bushel of corn.

and all the other components,” says

on foreign oil with a nearly carbon-

It’s more than just converting the

Shon Van Hulzen, the Director of

neutral

starch from the corn kernel into

Quality Control at POET.

compatible

ethanol. It’s more than sustainably

“Today,

turning crop residue in the form of

cellulosic ethanol,” says Van Hulzen,

POET’s pursuit of converting corn

cobs, leaves and husks into biofuels,

who’s been with POET for over 20

kernel fiber into cellulosic ethanol

like POET does at Project LIBERTY, its

years, and says it’s just been too

has centered on their patented BPX

joint venture with Dutch bioscience

exciting

process.

technology company DSM.

anything else.

That process, which converts corn

POET refines corn oil into feed

This technology is another example

starch into sugar using enzymes

additives and biodiesel and industrial

of how POET is breaking new ground

instead of heat, has proven to be

lubricants. They are making even the

in sustainable energy production, says

a

very roads we drive on greener and

Brooke Coleman, Executive Director

everything from the quality of animal

more sustainable through its JIVE™

of the Advanced Biofuels Business

feed to corn oil.

that

to

fiber

ever

qualifies

consider

as

doing

asphalt rejuvenation product.

alternative with

fuel

largely

today’s

vehicle

technology.”

valuable

“Our

They convert the solids left over

difference-maker

process

preserves

in

the

Cellulosic ethanol

enzymes that mother nature put in

products ranging from syrups to

is a game-changer

our patented fermentation process, it

distillers grains that serve as feed for

allows us to efficiently convert fiber to

everything from chickens to pigs to

that could

cattle.

completely replace

Senior Vice President of Research.

our dependence

the door to finding new and better

from

They a

the

ethanol

capture

natural

process

carbon

byproduct

of

into

dioxide, biofuel

production, for use in everything from fire extinguishers to carbonated beverages. Now, POET has discovered a process

the corn kernel. When combined with

ethanol.” says Dave Bushong, POET’s “We know this process can open up

on foreign oil

uses for corn.”

with a nearly

recognize ethanol made from corn

The state of California did recently

carbon-neutral

kernel fiber as a low-carbon-intensity

essentially the skin on the outside of

alternative fuel

which also qualifies as a low-carbon

the kernel, into cellulosic ethanol.

largely compatible

fuel).

With this latest innovation, POET is moving the needle even further in

with today’s vehicle

plus years, we’re still discovering new

technology.

of corn that benefits farmers, the

to convert corn kernel fiber, which is

finding new pathways to produce lowcarbon biofuels. Cellulosic ethanol is

40

is

fuel (even lower carbon than starch,

“Even though we’ve been at this 30ways to create value from a bushel

considered by many to be the Holy

American consumer, the environment,

Grail of biofuel production. It is highly

the health of the American people,”

sought after because of its low carbon

says Bushong, who has been at POET

intensity rating and its reduction of

for 13 years. “We know its potential is

greenhouse gases.

untapped even now.”

For years, corn kernel fiber has been

In early 2018, 20 cellulosic ethanol

added to Dried Distillers Grains with

trade groups sent a letter to the

VITALBYPOET.COM


Gwen Biersbach, Senior Research Scientist at POET, prepares samples with corn flour and varying levels of yeast and recycled water for an experiment at POET’s headquarters in Sioux Falls.

THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE

41


The amount of ethanol, sugar and organic acids in the samples will be tested after fermentation to determine efficiency of conversion of starch and fiber to ethanol.

42

VITALBYPOET.COM


STARCH

HULL + FIBER

STARCH + GLUTEN

Environmental

Protection

GERM

We can now provide

Agency

carbohydrates (starch and fiber) in

(EPA) asking them to review policies

the corn to produce ethanol, we leave

on corn kernel fiber. “Unleashing

the most valuable and energy-rich

even more low-

corn kernel fiber ethanol production

components (protein and fat) to be

will bring significant and immediate

used as animal food.”

carbon fuel to the

economic, environmental and energy

Corn

security benefits,” read the letter,

cellulosic ethanol due to the fact

which also noted that current plants

that it is composed of cellulosic

could immediately begin producing

material made up of sugars, just like

cellulosic

corn stover and corn starch. The

ethanol

from

what

is

kernel

fiber

qualifies

as

basically an agricultural residue.

corn kernel fiber itself is made up of

And that increase in cellulosic

cellulose, the most abundant organic

production comes without having

compound on Earth. Cellulose’s long

to add any more corn to the mix. It’s

polymers of glucose molecules form

the same amount of corn going in,

the cell walls in most plants and trees.

but a higher percentage of cellulosic

In the case of corn kernels, the glucose

ethanol coming out.

serves to encase and protect the starch

“We don’t need to grow any more

inside the kernel. Corn kernel fiber’s

corn to make all of this happen,” says

sugar molecules, though, are bonded

Van Hulzen. “We’re maximizing the

together differently than corn starch.

value of the corn kernel. By using the

It’s an important difference. The EPA

THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE

marketplace from something that was basically just a filler. There really isn’t a downside. It’s a win all the way around.

43


Gwen Biersbach, Senior Research Scientist at POET, prepares samples with corn flour and varying levels of yeast and recycled water for an experiment at POET’s headquarters in Sioux Falls.

44

officially recognized this difference in

“We always say we change the

environment but for the U.S. economy

2014, when they classified corn kernel

world here at POET, and this is yet

at large, Coleman from the Advanced

fiber as a “crop residue” in the same

another technology that does just

Biofuels Business Council notes.

category as cobs, leaves and husks.

that,” says Van Hulzen. “We can now

“There is a false perception out

“Some renewable fuels are lower

provide even more low-carbon fuel to

there that we have to turn the U.S.

carbon-intensity than others,” says

the marketplace from something that

economy on its head to achieve

Van Hulzen. “Cellulosic ethanol is

was basically just a filler. There really

more sustainable energy production.

amongst the lowest.”

isn’t a downside. It’s a win all the way

In

For the POET team, that corn

around. And it keeps us excited about

development is a critical ingredient

kernel coating may be small in size

the ways we can maximize the value

for U.S. economic growth. The work

— it makes up just about one-tenth

of the corn kernel, and what other

POET is doing is instrumental to

of each kernel — but it’s another big

innovations are on the horizon.”

showing the world that we can grow

breakthrough in that three-decade

The work stands to offer wide-

the economy with more sustainable

quest to create more value from corn.

reaching benefits not only for the

product development.”

VITALBYPOET.COM

fact, clean fuel

and

product


the best ideas

are the ones you haven’t thought of yet POET.COM

At POET, we’re not looking for easy fixes for obvious problems. We’re looking for the next generation of problem solvers, who can identify challenges we don’t even know exist yet. So if you’re more interested in unanswerable questions than answers that can’t be questioned, you’ll probably fit right in.


RENEW POET CEO Jeff Broin Speaks at Growth Energy Executive Leadership Conference More than 400 individuals across the biofuels industry attended the 10th Annual Growth Energy Executive Leadership Conference in February in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. The conference included panel discussions with industry experts and Growth Energy staff, along with presentations from POET. POET Chairman and CEO Jeff Broin reflected on the challenges and successes of the past 10 years of the biofuels industry and Growth Energy. He specifically highlighted the work that’s been done so far on working to achieve year-round E15. “Victory is on the horizon,” he said. Broin also commented on how Growth Energy has done great things for ethanol producers and farmers. “Growth Energy has delivered time and time again in establishing ethanol’s value, growing biofuels’ markets abroad and at home, fostering a favorable policy environment, and building a vibrant, growing world-class association for this industry — one that we desperately needed 10 years ago.” Miranda Broin, co-founder of Seeds of Change, gave a presentation about the non-profit’s continued work to transform education, agriculture and environmental conditions to support global development. GE Cares, Growth Energy’s charitable division, has supported Seeds of Change since 2017. Growth Energy board members including Kyle Gilley, POET’s Senior Vice President of External Affairs & Communications, also spoke at the event. Attendees also heard from fuel retailers, corn growers, climate advocates, experts on international markets and regulatory affairs, and engine performance experts from Growth Energy’s American Ethanol program about the future of biofuels.

46

VITALBYPOET.COM


POET Biorefining – Hanlontown Wins ‘Healthiest State’ Award POET Biorefining – Hanlontown was honored with a Small Workplace Award from Iowa’s 2019 Healthiest State Initiative. The goal of the initiative is to engage work places, communities, schools, organizations and individuals to collectively inspire Iowans and their communities to improve their health and happiness. At POET Biorefining – Hanlontown, team members are encouraged to log 10,000 steps a day. Walking meetings help employees reach their goal. Congratulations, Hanlontown!

POET Biorefining — Corning Named 2018 Agriculturalist of the Year Congratulations to POET Biorefining — Corning! The Adams Community Chamber of Commerce awarded the plant the 2018 Agriculturalist of the Year Award for their Watch Me Grow program. Watch Me Grow is an educational community outreach program developed by POET Biorefining — Corning to teach local elementary students about what it means to be a farmer in Iowa.

THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE

47


RENEW High School Students Learn About Biofuels at POET Biorefining – Marion In February students from Harding High School in Marion, Ohio, visited POET Biorefining – Marion. The students are studying biofuels and the positive impact of Ohio fuel for agriculture and the state economy.

POET Team Members Teach the Next Generation about STEM POET team members from Sioux Falls shared the fun and wonder of science and technology with the next generation during a Family STEM Festival in January at Harrisburg Horizon Elementary in Harrisburg, S.D.

Leadership North Iowa Group Visits POET Biorefining — Hanlontown The Leadership North Iowa group visited POET Biorefining – Hanlontown in February for an introduction to POET and a tour of the facility. Participants in the 12-week program that is sponsored by the Mason City Chamber of Commerce included leaders from a cross-section of regional businesses and agencies.

48

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Looking Ahead to Winter 2020: POET Biorefining - Shelbyville POET team members Scott Snyder and Steve Munger showcase a sign for POET’s new facility in Shelbyville, Ind. POET Biorefining – Shelbyville is expected to grind about 28 million bushels of corn and produce 80 million gallons of ethanol annually. The plant also is expected to produce about 250,000 tons of high-protein animal feed a year. Shelbyville will be the 28th starch biofuel plant in POET’s network and the fifth in Indiana. The facility is expected to open in winter 2020.


PEOPLE OF POET

An Advocate for Chemistry, Science in the Community Melissa Tille Leads from the Heart by BryAnn Becker Knecht | photos by Greg Latza

50

VITALBYPOET.COM


If Melissa Tille has her way, when

(ACS), a national scientific society

for the community and world at large.

elementary and high school students

whose vision is to improve people’s

In her experience as a chemist,

in the Sioux Falls area are asked that

lives

Tille supports research efforts for

age-old question of what they want to

power of chemistry.”

groundbreaking

be when they grow up, one common

Duffy-Matzner says the work that

Project LIBERTY and also works on

response — among the parroted

Tille and others are doing through

tasks to support POET’s 27 other

responses of doctors, lawyers and

ACS is critical to showing the general

bioprocessing

teachers — will be “scientist.”

public the positive side of chemistry.

LIBERTY, a joint venture between POET

Tille is the Analytical Laboratory

“I think the problem with chemistry

and the Dutch biosciences company

Manager at POET and works primarily

in particular is that the public thinks

DSM, is located in Emmetsburg, Iowa,

in POET’s Research and Development

that it’s a bad thing. When they see

and produces biofuels out of biowaste

arm. Both in and outside of her work

‘chemistry,’ they think it’s confusing

such as corn cobs and husks.

through

the

“transforming

at POET, she’s dedicated to sharing with

students

and

community

members how chemistry and science impacts their world. You can often find her doing handson chemistry demonstrations with students at local elementary schools like

Annie

School,

or

Sullivan working

Elementary with

the

Augustana University Chemistry Club on a presentation for students at Fred Assem Elementary School in Sioux Falls. It’s

especially

important

for

elementary and high school students to have role models who are scientists as they are forming ideas about their future careers, Tille says. “It’s a lot easier to think about being a doctor for people interested in science because they see doctors all the time, but it’s harder to see scientists, so I think it’s important for scientists to be visible in the community in some

projects

such

locations.

as

Project

Her research on cellulosic biofuels

It’s a lot easier to think about being a doctor for people interested in science because they see doctors all the time, but it’s harder to see scientists, so I think it’s important for scientists to be visible in the community in some way.

way,” she says. “Kids form opinions

has been a thread throughout her career

at

POET.

Tille

has

been

involved with research around Project LIBERTY since 2007 and has worked on methods to help monitor the biofuels process. She cites the launch of the commercial scale facility and being on site in Emmetsburg, Iowa, for the groundbreaking ceremony in 2012 as a highlight of her tenure at POET. “It was a stretch goal to try and make ethanol out of a waste product. It was an innovation. We had to put in a lot of the hard work and blaze the trail,” she says. “It has been exciting to see Project LIBERTY move from research to commercial scale.”

A PASSION FOR HELPING PEOPLE WITHIN, OUTSIDE OF POET At POET, colleagues say that Tille

about science when they’re really

leads

young. That first impression can pack a punch. I had great experiences with

or hard. They don’t see how it

chemistry mentors who encouraged

impacts your everyday life. … It’s just

my interest in science. I always look

important to let them know it’s not

for opportunities to encourage others

scary — it’s something you need to be

to enjoy science.”

educated about — and to let people

Jetty Duffy-Matzner, PhD, Professor

know that it does impact their world

of Organic Chemistry at Augustana

and has a lot of benefits.”

University, has worked with Tille

Tille’s work during her 13-year

through the Sioux Valley local section

tenure at POET certainly fits that

of the American Chemical Society

criteria of enacting positive change

THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE

with

compassion

and

an

attention to detail and has helped improve

technology

developments

and analytical capabilities for POET’s research team. “Melissa leads from the heart,” says Dave Bushong, Senior Vice President of Research, POET. “She has a passion for helping people both within POET and outside POET. Melissa has taken leadership positions for activities such

51


Melissa leads from the heart. She has a passion for helping people both within POET and outside POET. Melissa has taken leadership positions for activities such as the Relay for Life and the American Cancer Society, taught Sunday school, and has been a foster parent. Her devotion to making people successful has a powerful impact as a POET Research leader.

as the American Cancer Society Relay for Life, taught Sunday school and has been a foster parent. Her devotion to making people successful has a powerful impact as a POET Research leader.” Shon Van Hulzen, Director of Quality Control, POET, reiterates that Tille is resilient and has a calm demeanor — two great qualities to have in the fastpaced realm of POET Research. “Melissa has a gentle, kind and pleasant spirit,” Van Hulzen says. “She is thoroughly enjoyable to work with and is always willing to jump in and help. She maintains a positive attitude even in difficult circumstances.” Tille started out as a chemist at POET in 2005 after a stint in Minneapolis working on method development and product testing for a pharmaceutical company. As

52

VITALBYPOET.COM

an

analytical

chemist,

Tille


draws

upon

her

knowledge

of

a manager she has the opportunity to

chemistry and applies it to the natural

be involved in many projects.

world.

work

She has also been learning more

with instruments and methods to

Analytical

chemists

about leading people and is enjoying

measure components in a sample.

this new aspect of her career. “POET

An analytical chemist, for example,

has trusted me with an important job,

would find a way to test a polymer

and I have enjoyed the new challenge.

(a large molecule) instead of creating

I am happy to do all I can to help my

one.

team be successful.”

Tille has done research on both

Even

cellulosic and starch-based biofuels,

management

along with developing and rolling

meetings that often takes her out of

out new test methods to POET’s

the laboratory, she’s never too far

bioprocessing

away from her lab coat. “I like to learn

facilities.

She

has

though role

her

current

involves

more

worked on test methods to evaluate

when I get in the lab,” she says.

how new ingredients or mechanical

As a scientist, POET is the prime

changes can impact the process to

environment to fulfill her joy of

produce biofuels and on testing for

learning.

mycotoxins,

innovation and pursues new projects

which

are

chemical

The

company

esteems

toxins that can be formed by mold on

at every corner.

the grain.

“It’s been very dynamic; I’m always

In 2016, she began leading a team

learning and exploring new things.”

of six researchers within POET’s

at every corner.

Research and Development (R&D)

“It’s been very dynamic; I’m always

wing. Her work continues to fulfill

learning new things to explore.”

MELISSA TILLE HOMETOWN Winner, S.D. EDUCATION Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry; Master’s degree in Material Engineering and Sciences, both from South Dakota School of Mines & Technology FAMILY Husband Darrin; twin sons, Matthew and Joseph (13); daughter Grace (5) HOBBIES Curling league team with the Sioux Falls Curling Club, reading, crafts, gardening

her love of learning, she says, since as

THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE

53


DOWN 1. One of the Baldwins 2. 1972 Derek and the Dominos hit 3. Like some jackets 4. Discounted 5. Unyielding 6. Andean land 7. Egypt’s capital 8. Orgs. 9. Give away, in a way 10. Bud holder 11. Apple’s mobile/tablet

devices run on it

12. Suffix with differ 13. Cadillac model 21. Parker part 22. Martinique, par exemple 25. Santa ___ (California track) 26. Coins across the border 27. Perfect places 29. Like some drinks 31. “All over the world” singers,

32. ___ on you!

45. Beast of burden

33. Elizabeth I was the last one

1. Female voice

46. Sacred songs

34. Blue-pencils

5. Humane org.

48. New Haven college

36. Compass direction

9. Pig homes

51. Hosp. units

37. Invasion time in WW II

14. Croquet site

52. Swedish auto

40. “Told ya!”

15. Steeped drinks

55. Parish priest

41. One not included as a member

16. Words of refusal

58. A typical POET biorefining

42. High seriousness

17. Looks over

plant will produce this

47. Part of a jazz combo

18. “Exodus” author

number of gallons of ethanol

49. “___ Abner” (Capp comic strip)

19. Cores

in a year

50. French pastry

20. Advantage of ethanol as fuel

61. Kind of review

53. Make up for mistakes

23. Go off script

64. “Don’t bet ___!”

54. Already

24. Site of annual Nobel

65. Minor go-with

56. Gangway

66. “___ Jacques”

57. Makes muddy

25. Parrot

58. Antitoxins

28. Dark, in verse

67. “___ chance”

59. A touch

30. Smoothed

68. Maladies

60. Big name in magazine

32. Jeanne d’Arc, e.g.: abbr.

69. Object location system

publishing

35. Tear

70. Rams’ mates

61. Producer, abbr.

38. “Fur ___”

71. Part of R&R

62. Plan for the future, maybe

ACROSS

Peace prize ceremony

(children’s song)

63. Checked, as a box

(Beethoven dedication)

39. Two of POET’s biorefining plant locations

FOR ANSWERS, VISIT vitalmagazineonline.com/answers

43. See ya!

54

for short

44. Binge

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C4 POET

49

Seeds of Change

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OUT OF LEFT FIELD

Falling Light Bulbs and the Relentless Pursuit of Perfection by Scott Johnson, Data Systems Administrator, POET I planned the perfect birthday lunch. I picked the perfect

The number of corners are infinite. Failure to reach perfection

restaurant. I ordered the perfect lunch salad. I sat in the perfect

is natural and expected. That failure can leave a nagging feeling

seat, enabling a prime view of my meal being delivered. My meal

of dissatisfaction in your soul. Glorious dissatisfaction. Being

was delivered perfectly on time. Sadly, I quickly realized the

unsatisfied drives us to improve. We use that drive to become

kitchen failed to put ranch dressing on the side as I specifically

faster, stronger, smarter and more efficient.

requested. I bit into a crispy chicken tender to discover it was

The history of the folding lawn chair illustrates this elusive

neither crispy, nor tender. The lettuce was brown and wilted.

drive toward perfection. The early tri-fold sunbathing chairs

There were only three croutons. As I picked through the sorry

were a marvel of innovation. Customizable angles allowed

excuse for a salad, a light bulb spontaneously dislodged from its

for 387 million lounging possibilities — none of which were

fixture and crashed to the floor, narrowly missing my head by a

comfortable enough to stay in for more than 30 seconds at a

few inches. (I didn’t know this was a possibility either.)

time. While the chair was unattended in the sun, the vinyl strips

Now I had one more thing to worry about in life: falling light bulbs. I was already conscious about anvils and grand pianos being dropped onto my head, based on my extensive cartoon viewing background. The bizarre experience helped preserve my streak of 40-something consecutive non-perfect birthdays in a row. We build up in our minds the “perfect” thing. When perfect doesn’t happen, we feel let down. We’re disappointed our senior prom wasn’t as perfect as we dreamed it up to be. Our expectations fall short because we didn’t have the perfect tux. Or the DJ didn’t play the perfect song. Or we didn’t have a date. (Not me — a guy I knew…) Waiting for perfect can get in our way of being satisfied with what we actually have right in front of us. If you are waiting for the perfect experience, I’ve got news for you: perfect exists. I bet you thought I was going to tell you

would bake to a thousand degrees, ensuring

Perfect is out there. But in almost all cases, perfect is not attainable. Fear not, the pursuit of perfection is an inherent pursuit of better. Perfect may be a million miles away, but better is right around the corner.

there is no such thing as perfect! Well, think

like a restaurant-quality pork chop. Folding the chair for storage was a first-class safety risk, mangling hands as if you retrieved a porcupine from a running garbage disposal. Thankfully, the lawn chair industry was not satisfied with status quo. Their pursuit of perfection has led to countless improvements over the years. Because of this chase, we have been bestowed the remarkable folding bag chair, revolutionizing the world of kid’s soccer spectatorship. Today’s “zero gravity” loungers defy the laws of physics, applying an ergonomic comfort the world has never experienced. Plus, it has a cup holder, and comes in camouflage. Some would say we have reached the pinnacle of outdoor sitting. But is the lawn chair now perfect? Does it mow my lawn? Does it file my taxes? Does it get 18 year-old me a date to the prom? (I mean NOT me; that guy I knew.)

again! There’s certainly a time and place for encouraging you to

No. So perfect is still out there, and unsatisfied we shall be. That

be happy with what you have and content with where you are in

seemingly futile quest for perfection is exactly the mission we

life. This article is neither that time nor place.

need to make our world a better place.

Perfect is out there. But in almost all cases, perfect is not

How does this apply to a pursuit of the perfect birthday meal?

attainable. Fear not, the pursuit of perfection is an inherent

It doesn’t really, but this seemed to be the best opportunity to tell

pursuit of better. Perfect may be a million miles away, but better is

the story of the time I almost got hit in the head with a light bulb.

right around the corner. After you achieve better, another better is around another corner. The number of betters never runs out.

56

it seared perfect grill marks into bare skin

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4615 N. Lewis Ave. Sioux Falls, SD 57104

imagination

is an endless resource

POET.COM

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 use renewable resources to create biofuels, nutrient-rich proteins and oil alternatives. Even after three decades, brand new innovations keep sprouting.

Profile for Vital Magazine

Vital Magazine - Spring 2019  

Vital Magazine - Spring 2019