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THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE Spring 2021

From Field to Freeway Research shows bioethanol has 46% fewer GHG emissions than gasoline

Introducing Bioethanol


COLUMNS 03

In Sight

By Jeff Broin

24

Nascar® Update

by Ryan Welsh

52

Farm Fresh

by Brian Hefty

53

Mechanics Corner

Automotive Advice from the Under the Hood radio show

54

Out Of Left Field

by Scott Johnson

DEPARTMENTS 04

Energy For Life

06

POET PAC

21

Renew

48

Prime the Pump

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.

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

P / 605.965.2200 F / 605.965.2203 ARTICLE SUBMISSIONS Please direct all article ideas, as well as questions or comments regarding the magazine to: vital@poet.com

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

COPYRIGHT Vital is published quarterly by POET, LLC and other individuals or entities. All materials within are subject to copyrights owned by POET. POET, JIVE, Dakota Gold, BPX, ProPellet and other associated designs and logos are registrations or trademarks of POET, LLC. Growth Energy is a registration or trademark of Growth Energy, a non-profit corporation organized under the laws of the District of Columbia. Any reproduction of all or part of any document found in Vital is expressly prohibited, unless POET or the copyright owner of the material has expressly granted its prior written consent to so reproduce, retransmit or republish the material. All other rights reserved. For questions, contact the POET legal department at 605.965.2200. The opinions and statements expressed by content contributors and advertisers in Vital are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of POET. Neither POET nor its third-party content providers shall be liable for any inaccuracies contained within Vital, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. ©2021 POET, LLC. All rights reserved. Publication Design & Layout: Cassie Medema hello@newover.com

In the spirit of its continued commitment to being good stewards of the environment, POET is proud to produce Vital using 100% recycled paper, with eco-friendly soy-based ink.


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FEATURES 10

34 People of POET

From Field to Freeway

Groton Quality Manager has a bright — and busy — future

Research shows bioethanol has 46% fewer GHG emissions than gasoline

40

16 Fighting Fires & Flash Freezing POET captures opportunity with renewable CO2

26 Building Beyond POET POET Design and Construction leverages expertise to external clients

Visit VitalByPOET.com for exclusive online content.

Voilà! POET rolls out co-product for renewable diesel feedstock


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IN SIGHT

Why Bioethanol? A Global Name for a Global Solution by Jeff Broin, Founder and CEO of POET We have entered a new era of decarbonization and global

While it is still a renewable, plant-based, clean-burning

climate action.

fuel, significant improvements have been made in both the production process and the life cycle analysis of starch-

With that, we feel it is time to utilize a new word that

based bioethanol.

embodies the only truly sustainable liquid fuel that can power the future. So, throughout this issue of Vital and in

In fact, according to a recent peer-reviewed study

future communications from POET — and soon from the

conducted by Environmental Health & Engineering (EH&E),

industry at large — you will begin to notice a new term:

one of the nation’s leading environmental and engineering

bioethanol.

companies, bioethanol now has 46% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than traditional gasoline. Put simply, that means

As the worldwide need for immediate, affordable climate

it is already 46% better from field to freeway, and that

solutions grows more and more prevalent, we need to start

number is improving every year.

thinking of the potential for biofuels to extend far beyond the Corn Belt. The term “bioethanol” has been used in countries

With continuous innovations in process technology and

across South America, Africa, and Europe for years, where

agricultural production practices, we believe bioethanol

it has been celebrated as a fuel choice for its benefits to

may even have the potential to become a carbon-neutral

the environment and human health. In the United States,

liquid fuel in the future. According to most scientists, we

however, we have always used the term “ethanol,” which

have no time to waste. Bioethanol is available, it’s affordable

doesn’t speak nearly as well to the consumers looking for a

and it’s the only way to decarbonize the millions of vehicles

green alternative at the pump.

that are already on the road today.

I believe it’s time we join the rest of the world. It’s time that we are all on the same page, using the same term and the best available solution to fight climate change together in the Renewable Revolution.

The key phrase to this name change is in the prefix “bio,” which means “life.” And I think that’s fitting, given our mission. What we do extends far beyond just fuel. We are creating life from life — taking nature’s solar panels and batteries, namely the corn leaves that capture the sun’s energy and the seeds that store it, and using them to fuel our world. We are harnessing the power of the living Earth God gave us and combining it with human ingenuity to create solutions that will enable life to continue on this planet for generations to come. So, why bioethanol? Because as we look ahead, it’s a word that will play an integral role in achieving our goals. It’s the best term to describe the incredible things we do in this industry and the clean, green nature of our product. Please join me in making the change to bioethanol — a better

It’s critical that we educate the public that the “bioethanol”

word that will play a large part in creating a better future

of today is the same “ethanol” of years past—but better.

for us all!

THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE

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ENERGY FOR LIFE

BUILDING YOUR HOUSE UPON THE ROCK! by Melissa Fletcher, Spiritual Care Advisor, POET

careful, the sand traps can cause us to fall. On the other hand, when we choose to build our house on the Rock we begin to build on Biblical truths and the

When I was child, one of my favorite Sunday school songs was “The Wise Man Built His House Upon the Rock” because it had a catchy little tune and fun actions. The song was based on the parable found in the Bible in Matthew 7:24-27 which says, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

promises of God. When we begin to build our life on the Scriptures, we become solid in our faith, and our actions will follow. In the parable the storms of life came. But what kept the house from falling was the foundation it was built upon. My friends, storms will come; however, we can be sure that we will not be destroyed by the storm if our trust is in the Lord. What kind of builder will you be? Wise or foolish? Rock or sand? To be a wise builder, here are a few recommendations you may want to include in your spiritual blueprint:

1. Develop a personal relationship with Jesus.

I think it is fair to assume that we all would want to build a house on a firm foundation and not one that is built on sand. In the parable Jesus is referring to our life and not necessarily a physical house—and in this case, I would venture to guess that we would desire to build our life on a firm foundation as well.

Allow Him to guide your life.

2. Commit to the Word of God. Take time each day to read and study the Scriptures.

3. Develop a deep prayer life. Praying is talking to God and including Him in your

But do we take the necessary steps to ensure this? In the grand scheme of things, every choice we make can lead to destruction, or it can lead to security. Everything we do begins with a thought, and those thoughts lead into our actions. Let’s face it — this past year has been filled with uncertainty, constant change and many challenges. Perhaps you have faced some storms that have shaken you, like health concerns, financial worries, relationship struggles and job stress, to name a few. When you are building your house on sand, it’s easy to become consumed with the worries and concerns of this world. Even small everyday distractions and fears can prevent you from trusting in God. These worries

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and fears are what I call “sand traps.” And if we aren’t

daily activities.

4. Commit to a local church. The Church is the way Jesus desired for His work to continue throughout all the Earth. We need each other and everyone has a part to play.

5. Serve others. Jesus modeled this for His disciples. Out of an overflow of our love for God and our love for each other we become the hands and feet of Jesus. These things are the beginning to building on a firm foundation. There are many more ways to become wise in building a life upon Jesus, the Rock, and I challenge you to keep searching the Scriptures so that when the storms inevitably come, you won’t be shaken.

VITALBYPOET.COM


ENERGY FOR LIFE

EASY SADBUSTING WORKOUT

Equipment-Free Circuit Workout Level: Beginner or Intermediate

by Cole Fricke, Wellness Coordinator, POET If you’ve been stuck inside all winter — especially this winter — you’re probably going a little stir crazy, but perhaps also finding the motivation to be active a little hard to find. The weather is not so great, the sun isn’t shining, and you’ve settled into a winter hibernation routine. It’s a perfect storm for inactivity and possible Seasonal

Affective

Disorder

(the

appropriately

acronymed SAD). But there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and spring is near! To make it easier for you to bust out of hibernation and get active, here’s a quick and easy workout for people of all ages and abilities. No equipment is necessary, and you don’t even have to think too hard since the workout is already drawn up for you. Plus, physical activity, any activity, is a great weapon to fight SAD and the depression, melancholy, and physical

Warm Up: 5 minutes. Walk briskly, walking up and down stairs, or stepping up and down on a single step.

Workout: Move from one exercise to the next as quickly as possible, keeping your rest time as short as you can. Feel free to modify as needed to make it easier or harder, adding or reducing reps and rest time based on your ability.

1. 25 Jumping Jacks 2. 10 Crunches 3. 60 Second Plank 4. 25 High Knees (each knee) 5. 10 Burpees

ailments that come with it.

6. 15 Crunches

Exercise makes for great medicine, plus the prescription

7. 15 Bodyweight Squats

is free. As a bonus, you can grab the kids and get them involved too! They’ll be happy (and you’ll be happy) for the energy outlet.

8. 10 Pushups 9. 1 Minute Wall Sit 10. 60 Second Plank 11. 10 Bodyweight Squats 12. 25 Jumping Jacks 13. 10 Crunches 14. 1 Minute Wall Sit 15. 10 Pushups 16. 25 High Knees (each knee) 17. 60 Second Plank 18. 1 Minute Wall Sit Cool Down: 5 minutes of active stretching.

THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE

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POET PAC

POET PAC Member Spotlights

Steve Kirby Sioux Falls, SD

My connection with POET goes back more than 25

POET PAC members are the reason we continue to have success in Washington D.C. Each member is passionate about a future with more biofuels and is willing to fight for that future at the state and federal level. Not only do these members advocate tirelessly; they make sure they contribute to POET PAC each year so that we can continue to educate and advance our mission. Here is what some of our South Dakota PAC members had to say about their connection to the PAC and their thoughts about the importance of a future powered by biofuels.

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years. Jeff Broin was nice enough to invite me to many corporate events in South Dakota, Iowa, Arizona and Washington DC. Our private equity firm, Bluestem, has made substantial investments in POET and I remain a happy investor today. Additionally, one of my Bluestem partners, Tyler Stowater, is on the POET Board of Directors. Giving to POET PAC is actually a fun thing to do given all the good that the PAC does nationally. Ethanol is such an important part of the world’s liquid energy make-up that being motivated to financially participate is easy! POET PAC does so much for all communities in which it has bioprocessing facilities, including the farmers, other vendors and employees. Those impacted by POET should support the PAC so it can be even more successful in representing the biofuels industry worldwide. It was a good day when I and Bluestem were introduced to Jeff Broin and his terrific team all those years ago. We’ve been given the opportunity to make our communities and, frankly, our world a better place by the use of ethanol. By making the POET PAC stronger and more financially viable, we can continue to improve our environment, help the farming industry and provide a great standard of living for all who spend their day having something to do with the biofuels industry.


POET PAC

Blake Hoffman

Paul Hetland

Sioux Falls, SD

Mitchell, SD My involvement with POET began as an investor in I am a producer in the Mitchell, SD area and am a third-generation farmer. I served as a board member for two years at POET Biorefining – Mitchell from 2016 to 2017 and one year for POET Biorefining (PBR) in 2019. I became involved with POET PAC in 2018. POET PAC provides a fact-based, consistent message to educate elected leaders about the benefits of producing biofuels, a clean-burning renewable fuel source. They are dedicated to monitoring and defending critical items such as the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), small refinery exemptions, and many other issues that tend to undermine renewable volume obligations and weaken our industry. I would stress that the task at hand is urgent. Agriculture and biofuels can be an enormous part in creating solutions to pollution and climate change. There are those who do not want to see biofuels succeed, and they have significant resources. It is imperative that we continue to engage our leaders and decisionmakers to ensure that they are informed to make the best decisions. Without

strong

representation,

the

benefits

and potential of our industry in solving current environmental issues can be lost or misrepresented. We need to support the progress that has been made to date and challenge ourselves to move to the next level in our efforts to make positive change.

POET Biorefining – Big Stone near Milbank, SD around 2002. In 2003, the James Valley ethanol plant in Groton, SD was built. I invested and served on the board of directors. As POET continued to expand, I served on multiple POET Biorefining boards until completion of the merger of the biorefineries in 2018. As we all know, energy is political and controversial, whether it’s coal, gas, oil, wind, hydro, solar or biofuels. When ethanol production took off in the early 2000s, myths and false information about the industry began to surge. It was David (ethanol) versus Goliath (Big Oil). It became clear that we needed to organize and form a PAC to help educate politicians and level the playing field. Ethanol producers and farmers needed face time with the policymakers and deserved a seat at the table to present the truth, which is where the formation of POET PAC came in. I’ve supported POET PAC since its inception, and it is without a doubt the most effective way to have direct influence in the political arena. Media and mass marketing have their place, but to be able to press the flesh one-on-one with senators, representatives and even the President, it must be done through a political action committee. The staff at POET PAC are smart, articulate, informed and connected. They know all the players and all the players know them. The PAC understands specifically where resources need to be directed. The mission of this organization is invaluable, and I feel that contributing to POET PAC to help sustain agriculture, biofuels and the environment is an excellent investment in our future.

THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE

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POET PAC

Tim Holtquist

Dennis Schrag

Milbank, SD

Freeman, SD

I began as an investor before serving on the board of POET Biorefining – Big Stone for seven years. While on the board, I found out how important political advocacy is to all of us. Because of this, I started donating to POET PAC and lobbied on behalf of biofuels. For six years I attended conferences across the country, including Washington D.C., in an effort to advocate for a future with more biofuels. I still give and will continue to give both money and time to POET PAC because I see what those dollars and efforts attain. Ethanol would not be where it is today if it weren’t for the political advocacy that has been done and continues to be done. The president, Congress and the EPA need to be kept informed about our issues. POET PAC helps toward that cause. Big Oil is our major competition to the fuel supply in the world, and their lobbying efforts are huge because of their budget. POET PAC enables us to be more competitive in this lobbying effort. The world’s fuel supply is about market share, and Big Oil doesn’t want to give it to us. We need to expand our share. That’s the battle, and D.C. is the battleground. Too many people and organizations are anti-ethanol. I believe most have been misinformed by Big Oil and other groups. As an agricultural educator of 38 years, I have realized the importance of getting the right information out in order for people to make good decisions. Accurate education is a solution to this. Educating federal and state policymakers concerning ethanol has been POET PAC’s mission, and it’s one I’m proud to be a part of.

Want to get involved? Join POET PAC today.

www.poetpac.com

My connection to POET goes back to the early years, when Jeff Broin started the operation in Scotland, South Dakota. When I was asked to join a group of farmers to explore the feasibility of constructing an ethanol plant in our area, I became excited about the prospect of processing our corn production and producing a valuable livestock feed. I quickly became an investor, helped lobby on the state level, and had the privilege of serving on the Chancellor plant board for many years. My engagement with POET over the years has only strengthened my belief in getting involved and the need to advocate for pro-ag and pro-biofuel policies at the state and federal levels. The massive production of corn in the U.S. is a great accomplishment. The right environment, combined with timely rains and sunshine along with fertile land, yields more than can be eaten and exported. Biofuels like ethanol provide an excellent opportunity for surplus supply. Essential products such as hand sanitizers, sweeteners, asphalt and many other valuable products can be made from corn. The biggest demand is fuel for transportation. Consumers need to know that if they support a future with more biofuels, great products will be delivered to them — products that are free of harsh chemicals derived from petroleum. But the oil guys won’t give up their market shares easily, and that is why your engagement in POET PAC is critical to our future. Coming together with other pro-biofuel supporters is the only way we will accomplish our work in Washington. Thanks to the strength of POET PAC, we have accomplished a lot over the years, but I know this is just the start. Together we will create a future with higher blends and an overall better world!

(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


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 THE and ESSENTIAL oil alternatives. PERSPECTIVE


From Field to Freeway Research shows bioethanol has 46% fewer GHG emissions than gasoline by Jessica Sexe

10

VITALBYPOET.COM


THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE

11


rom

the

grain

seeds

(CI) score of corn-based bioethanol.

a long time. “For years, we’ve known

planted in the field to the

The report offers further research

we’re not getting a fair score for the

fuel pumped into your gas

into the impact biofuels can have in

environmental and health benefits

tank, new evidence proves

immediately reducing emissions that

of bioethanol,” said Doug Berven,

contribute to climate change and

Vice President of Corporate Affairs at

unhealthy air.

POET.

the

environmental

benefits

of bioethanol and provides a roadmap to net-zero liquid fuels. A

new

published bioethanol

peer-reviewed in

early

produced

2021

study

life cycle analysis (LCA) modeling and

shows

consulted with more than two dozen

has

experts in academia, government, and

46% fewer greenhouse gas (GHG)

nonprofit organizations to calculate

emissions than regular gasoline, and

the most comprehensive and up-to-

there’s an opportunity for even more

date carbon intensity score (CI) for

significant improvements as we look

corn starch bioethanol in more than a

ahead.

decade.

Environmental

today

Research

Letters

published the new report, authored by a team of scientists at Environmental Health & Engineering (EH&E), which provides an updated carbon intensity

12

Researchers from EH&E reviewed

Updated Research

An LCA calculates the greenhouse

Despite all the talk these days about

bioethanol

climate and carbon, the modeling on bioethanol had not been updated for

VITALBYPOET.COM

gas

impacts

of

each

production

stage and

of

use—

from field to freeway. “The study was a comprehensive analysis of every


input into the bioethanol production

“The analysis compared several

emissions—a much smaller amount

process. We wanted to quantify the

studies and their inputs and found

than generally recognized. The 25-fold

carbon intensity at each level to set a

many inconsistencies in previous

reduction in LUC since 2008 is due to

baseline and determine where we’re

models which had minimized the

better data inputs for LUC modeling

doing well and where we can improve

actual benefits of bioethanol and

that consider both the economic value

in the future,” said Berven.

agriculture,” said Berven.

and productivity of cropland.

results

The findings reflect a 50% decrease

Previous

repeated

of CI estimates for bioethanol since

land would be cleared in response

biofuels’

2009, attributed to land-use change

to an increase in the price of corn.

overall sustainability by providing a

(LUC) model improvements, greater

This assumption has been proven to

current, comprehensive and accurate

efficiencies in bioethanol production,

be false by extensive data on corn

picture of bioethanol compared to

reductions in fertilizer application

production and price over time.

conventional gasoline today.

and fuel consumption, and corn yield

“Early on, many believed that

increases.

diverting

The dispel

peer-reviewed many

misconceptions

commonly about

“One

of

the

misunderstandings

most

common

many

people

models

grain

assumed

for

new

bioethanol

production would cause significant land-use

change.

In

reality,

the

have is about agriculture’s impact on the environment. This study showed that farmers are a solution in the fight against climate change, and they continue to improve every year,” said Berven.

Conclusions

A dramatic improvement in the CI

As noted earlier, the updated LCA

for LUC, which previously accounted

modeling and emissions data show the CI score for corn bioethanol is 46% lower than conventional gasoline today. The previous USDA modeling suggested the CI score for bioethanol to be 39-43% lower than gasoline.

score was due to updated modeling for a large portion of bioethanol’s CI score. EH&E’s assessment showed carbon emissions

from

converting

prior

land uses to corn farming make up only 3.9% of biofuel’s total GHG

“One of the most common misunderstandings many people have is about agriculture’s impact on the environment. This study showed that farmers are a solution in the fight against climate change, and they continue to improve every year.”

THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE

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biofuels industry only soaked up

vehicles, policymakers must have

surplus grain and had minimal--if

accurate, evidence-based conclusions

any--land-use change impact, and

for available fuel sources. “In light of

the empirical data proves that,” said

the United States’ renewed effort to

Berven.

achieve a net-zero carbon economy, our

research

team

believes

this

critical review is a timely contribution to establishing an accurate, common understanding of the GHG profile for corn bioethanol in comparison to gasoline refined from crude oil,” stated David MacIntosh, EH&E Chief Science Officer and Adjunct Associate Professor of Environmental Health

Low-Carbon Policy Programs As

more

lawmakers

at

the

state and federal level join the fight against climate change with transportation GHG

policies

to

reduce

emissions from passenger

“The results of this

at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The study highlights bioethanol’s

clean

fuel

opportunities to help shift the U.S. away from fossil fuel dominance to cleaner fuel alternatives. “Future

policy,

whether

it’s

a

low carbon fuel standard or other programs, on

needs

scientific

to

reality

be

based

rather

than

research are timely for

hypotheses,” says Berven. “The reality

the scientific, public

and clean and need to play a much

is biofuels are immediate, affordable larger role in the future.”

There are nine emissions categories associated with the LCA of bioethanol: farming,

coproduct

credit,

fuel

production, land-use change, rice methane, livestock, fuel and feedstock transport, denaturant and tailpipe emissions. Some

of

the

most

significant

opportunities to further decrease bioethanol’s CI score are possible through

further

advances

in

farming technology and bioethanol production. “The results of this research are timely for the scientific, public health,

health, legislative, and

legislative and business communities

business communities

economy while addressing related

seeking to establish a

challenges,” says MacIntosh.

seeking to establish a net-zero carbon technological, political and economic

net-zero carbon economy while addressing related technological, political and economic challenges.”

14

policy

Net-Zero Renewable Fuel of the Future

VITALBYPOET.COM


GHG

impacts

farming

consider

associated both

with

on-farm

implementing cover crops. “Even

small

the near future, meaning not only in

are we not contributing GHGs, we’re

emissions, such as fossil fuel use

agriculture can lead to major benefits

reducing the CO2 in the atmosphere.”

and soil disruption, as well as those

for the environment, and biofuels

associated with supply chains, such as

play a role in incentivizing those

fertilizer production. Bioethanol LCA

improvements,” says Berven.

models have shown a steady decline

Likewise,

in the CI score for corn farming

have an opportunity to reduce the CI

attributable to decreased energy and

score further by exploring alternative

fertilizer use which are the largest

energy

components of GHG emissions for

and

growing and harvesting corn.

and expanding the production of

bioethanol

sources

biogas,

improvements

like

producers

wind,

sequestering

solar carbon

adopt

coproducts like corn oil. With simple

climate-smart

adjustments, bioethanol production

practices like precision agriculture,

could deliver a net carbon sink over a

they

much shorter period than previously

As

farmers

innovative will

continue and

see

to

economic

and

environmental benefits. According

estimated.

to the study, the CI score for corn

“We’ve come a long way, and there

produced from states in the upper

is more opportunity to continue to

Midwest, which supply the bulk of the

decarbonize,” said Berven. “One of the

corn to bioethanol production, could

most exciting things about the study is

be reduced in the region by up to

that not only are we 46% cleaner than

74% by adopting conservation tillage,

gasoline; we have the potential to be

reducing nitrogen fertilizer use and

a net-neutral or net-negative fuel in

THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE

“Even small improvements in agriculture can lead to major benefits for the environment, and biofuels play a role in incentivizing those improvements.”

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Fighting Fires & Flash Freezing POET Captures Opportunity with Renewable CO 2 by Steve Lange

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VITALBYPOET.COM


THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE

17


very

year,

POET’s

bioprocessing

27

they use in everyday life that CO2

fact, the top meat processors in the

facilities

impacts in some way,” says McIlvain,

U.S. are POET customers.

produce up to 2 billion

who joined POET Ethanol Products

POET utilizes its exceptionally clean

gallons of bioethanol.

20 years ago. “Just start by looking in

stream of CO2 gas to supply a wide

your freezer.”

band of consumers ranging from

But

that

bioethanol

production process is just

Carbon dioxide is a main component

municipal

the start, literally, of dozens of co-

in the freezing process for everything

facilities to the largest food and

products — things like animal feed

from meat to fruits to vegetables. In

beverage producers in the U.S.

and corn oil and hand sanitizer — that POET captures or creates along the way. In the mid-1990s, POET recognized the chance for large-scale capture of carbon dioxide (CO2), a natural coproduct of bioethanol production, and started testing the idea at a pilot plant in Scotland, South Dakota. By 1998, they were capturing — and selling — CO2. Today,

POET’s

13

CO2

plants

supply the highest-grade, all-natural liquid carbon dioxide to customers across the U.S. for everything from fighting fires to flash freezing food to carbonating beverages. Led by POET Ethanol Products’ carbon dioxide group in Wichita, Kansas, the company now has the capacity to produce in excess of 600,000 tons of CO2 every year. And, unlike other suppliers of CO2, they can do it with renewable resources. “The pace of growth in our CO2 business

is

uncommon

in

the

industry,” says Christian McIlvain, President of POET Grain. “We’ve added eight new CO2 plants in the last eight years, making POET the fastestgrowing CO2 production company in the United States. And there’s a big market out there.” And that CO2 market is larger and closer to home than you might think. “Most people would probably be surprised at the number of items

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VITALBYPOET.COM

wastewater

treatment


“We’ve added eight new CO2 plants in the last eight years, making POET the fastest-growing CO2 production company in the United States. And there’s a big market out there.” Christian McIlvain, President of POET Grain

“POET

currently

unmatched

level

provides of

service

an

the door, but our customer service

to

is what allows us to remain in the

hundreds of individual customers

game.”

across

says

Another, bigger-picture aspect that

Brad Jones, CO2 Sales Manager for

separates POET’s CO2 from others

POET Ethanol Products. “We are a

is the fact that it’s largely created

full-service business meaning we

from

handle everything from production,

environmentally friendly. It plays a

to transportation and transaction

part in boosting the farm economy.

processing.”

“We’re proud to be producing

POET’s own biorefining process

something sustainable,” says Jones,

produces and captures the CO2. Their

who’s been with POET since moving

production facility then turns that

from Louisiana (in a “Gulf Coast world

CO2 into its liquid form, and POET

surrounded by petrochemicals,” he

drivers deliver that liquid CO2 all over

says) in 2003. “Our CO2 comes from

the country in POET-owned tanker

what grows from the earth, not what’s

trucks.

buried in the earth. The large power

“We

the

are

United

truly

renewable

resource.

It’s

plants and the refineries are, for

the

obvious reasons, less environmentally

industry,” says McIlvain. “When a

friendly than bioethanol. We’re not

customer is doing business with POET,

mining it. If you’re a business trying to

we’re really handling everything in

be more responsible, you know you’re

the production process from A to Z.”

getting

POET’s prices, says McIlvain, are

friendly, agricultural-based product.”

competitive. They have to be.

Roughly a quarter of the CO2

“If you were to ask our customers

production

what they think of POET’s CO2

comes from deposits found beneath

offering, we’d hope they’d tell you our

the earth, according to Intelligas

customer service is best in class,” he

Consulting.

says. “Price may be what gets you in

invasive drilling, sometimes as deep

CO2

only

a

fully

integrated

the

States,”

producer

in

a

more

in

environmentally

the

That

United

means

States

lots

of

as 10,000 feet. Other leading sources of CO2 suppliers include ammonia production facilities and oil refineries, both of which rely on their heavy CO2 emissions in order to capture some of that for resale. The

industrial

production

of

ammonia emits more CO2 than any other

chemical-making

reaction,

according to Chemical & Engineering News. Oil refineries, which according to the EPA emit roughly 180 million tons of CO2 every year, also manage to capture some of those emissions for

resale.

That

accounts

for

approximately 15% of the U.S. CO2

THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE

19


production. “One of the nice things about the CO2 that we offer is that it’s principally renewable,” says McIlvain. “Companies

are

increasingly

interested in providing products to their customers that are in sync with the environment. Our CO2 is a better solution for companies who are in search of sustainable ingredients for their production process. Fortunately, that matters to many companies and many consumers, especially those in the food business, who already realize the importance of U.S. agriculture.” POET additional

continues ways

to

to

seek

create

within the CO2 business.

out value

Recently,

POET Biorefining, located in Macon, Missouri was fitted with a new, state of the art dry ice production facility. “We’ve talked about entering the dry

“We are the only truly fully integrated CO2 producer in the industry. When a customer is doing business with POET, we’re really handling everything in the production process from A to Z.”

20

ice business for a number of years and

including

CO2,

we took the step in early 2020,” says

forefront.

According

McIlvain. “Things are going really

Energy Information Administration,

well, but it was a lot of work. I’ve

by mid-April 2020, average gasoline

used this as a half-joke on a number

consumption in the U.S. had dropped

of occasions, but ‘Note to self: Never

to 252 million gallons per day, down

start a new business in the middle of

from a 2019 daily average of 392

a pandemic.’”

million gallons.

But when fuel demand dropped

During that same period, both

due to pandemic travel restrictions

production

last spring, many POET co-products,

bioethanol had fallen by 50% from

VITALBYPOET.COM

and

moved to

to

the

the

U.S.

consumption

of


“Our CO2 comes from what grows from the earth, not what’s buried in the earth. The large power plants and the refineries are, for obvious reasons, less environmentally friendly than bioethanol.”

the

previous

year,

according

to

POET’s long line of innovative add-

Growth Energy. So when fuel demand

ons from the bioethanol production

plummeted, POET refocused some

process, the CO2 team understands

of their bioethanol-only energy into

the value of finding more and more

other bioproducts, like carbon dioxide

ways to turn corn--every bit of it--into

and hand sanitizer.

quality products.

The addition of dry ice production

“Whenever we have looked at

at POET’s Macon plant came online

ways

at an opportune time. Dry ice usage

business, we’ve always considered

is expected to increase with the

our customers to be partners in our

shipment of millions of COVID-19

efforts,” says McIlvain. “We know

vaccines, many of which require

people appreciate products that are

temperatures of nearly 100 below

good for the environment, that are

zero.

renewable, that support American

“We have a long history of finding

farmers.”

new ways to use everything we

“We do that with bioethanol, and

produce,” says McIlvain. “If someone

we do that with everything else we

at POET sees an opportunity, we will

make.”

pursue it.” So it has gone for POET’s 30-plus years. Like with everyone involved in

to

potentially

expand

our


RENEW

This year POET biorefineries who went above and beyond the call of duty were honored with POET Biorefining Awards. There were three categories of awards: Biorefinery of the Year, World Class Biorefinery and the Progress Award. Awards are assessed by a range of criteria, including: safety record, operations, environmental policies and procedures, housekeeping, leadership and strategy. This year, POET Biorefining — Fostoria took home the Bio of the Year award while POET Biorefining — North Manchester, Leipsic, Gowrie and Groton all received World Class Bio awards and POET Biorefining — Glenville received the Progress award.

BIOREFINERY OF THE YEAR

POET Biorefining — Fostoria

PROGRESS

AWARD

POET Biorefining — Glenville

22

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RENEW

POET Biorefining — North Manchester

WORLD CLASS B I O R E F I N E RY POET Biorefining — Gowrie

POET Biorefining — Groton

POET Biorefining — Leipsic

THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE

23


NASCAR UPDATE

Optimism After the Storm by Ryan Welsh The hail beating down on the roof and walls of the machine shed

I’ve heard the saying that storms make trees take deeper roots.

was deafening. I could hardly hear my uncle yell, “Okay, let’s

In March 2020 the ethanol industry did that very thing. We were

make a run for it!”

just emerging from the “perfect storm” of 2019 when the global pandemic struck home, adding insult to injury. But the industry

My other uncle shook his head as he stared at a now archaic

sprang into action. It was a time to rethink, a time to be fervent,

DTN screen. “It’ll be over soon!” he yelled as we ran out the door

and a time to innovate.

to the pickup. We slowly drove through the rain and hail half a mile down the hill to the house.

New

co-products

were

unveiled,

new

processes

were

implemented and, once again, the biofuels industry showed its It was the early 90s, and I was farming part-time at my uncles’

strength. Innovation was the key to weathering this unexpected

during college. I remember walking back to the pickup after the

storm and growing deeper roots. This industry, although still

storm with orange gravel juice creeping up the sides of my old

relatively young, proved that it had the gumption of an old oak

basketball shoes. The sun was gaining more power as it fought

— that it was far more than just a sapling.

through the heavy, sweet-smelling air. It seemed so calm. NASCAR, a longtime partner of the bioethanol industry, was As we headed back the nearby creek was too swelled up to

weathering its own storm. A professional sport whose lifeline is

pass, so we reversed course and drove around to enter the farm

its fans found itself fan-less. It too was not going to stand around

from the west. We drove by one of our bin sites at a neighbor’s

and wait to see what happened; NASCAR optimistically pushed

place and slowed down to look. “Great,” was my uncle’s bleak

forward.

response. One of the old Butler bins blew into the other during the storm, leaving both completely wrecked. We walked into the shop upon returning to the farm and my other, more optimistic uncle said, “See? I told you it’d be a short one.” “Yeah, well we just surveyed some major damage,” replied my more cynical uncle. “The bins are destroyed at the Fox place, and water is standing everywhere. It’s over, let’s start lining up the machinery for the sale.” He was always planning for the worst. My other uncle calmly pointed out that those bins were empty and it was time to replace the bin site at the Fox place anyway. We didn’t have to line up the machinery that year and the crops were just fine. We had to weather a number of those small storms in the short time I farmed with my uncles, and the farm always seemed to prosper after those trials.

24

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When the COVID-19 pandemic shut down sports last March, NASCAR had an advantage with iRacing, which allowed drivers

2020 eNASCAR iRacing at Richmond

to continue racing each other virtually. Drivers had fun with it and it gave fans quarantined at home a taste of sports during the 10-week hiatus, until officials figured out how to safely bring racing back to the real-life track. When NASCAR finally returned to the real track in May, everything was different. COVID protocols, new schedules, no practice, no qualifying and no fans in the stands made it eerie for those of us watching.

It was

definitely a tale of two seasons. NASCAR is used to being scrutinized over attendance and television ratings. But in this most unprecedented of years, NASCAR was the only major sport to not only hold on, but grow its audience (except at the physical track, of course). Critics believe ratings stabilized, in part, to NASCAR being the first major sport to return during the pandemic. NASCAR weathered the storm just as my uncles did — with a little ingenuity and a lot of hope. I believe opening up to new formats and concepts was critical in helping NASCAR gain new viewers, and their success was driven by some good old-fashioned optimism.

Kevin Harvick celebrates with a burnout after winning The Real Heroes 400 at Darlington Raceway in May.

THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE

25


Building Beyond POET by Matt Merritt

26

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POET Design and Construction leverages expertise to external clients Many people know POET as the

“There’s up and down times. On the

largest biofuel producer in the world.

down times we weren’t busy, so it was

What many people don’t know is

‘What can we do to fill those down

that much of the company’s early

times with external work?’”

success through the 1990s was as a

The

design and construction firm, building

POET seeks opportunities to grow its

bioethanol plants for companies who

existing business and branch out into

saw the Broins turn a mothballed

areas that make sense. This was a

building into a profitable enterprise

clear opportunity.

in Scotland, South Dakota.

“We’ve got a very experienced,

That

early

expertise

has

second

reason

is

growth.

been

talented workforce here that could do

developed over the years into today’s

more, and so the real objective is to

POET Design and Construction (PDC),

take advantage of that,” Pierson says.

the arm of POET that has built its

“The main thing is this opportunity

entire network of 28 facilities across

to grow, to utilize this experience to

the Midwest.

become more.”

And now for the second time, they’re

Unlike the 1990s, POET Design

setting their sights outside POET’s

and Construction does not build

walls, making their army of engineers

bioethanol bioprocessing facilities for

and project managers available to

external clients, nor will they work on

external clients. With an expanded

commercial construction or assembly

focus, POET Design and Construction

manufacturing.

Instead,

they

“We’re trying to identify opportunities to do combined heat and power projects or water conservation, those are things that we have experience with and can help others with.” Rod Pierson, Senior Vice President of PDC

are

took on six outside projects in 2020 and is looking to grow in 2021 and beyond.

A Drive for Efficiency, Growth There

were

two

reasons

PDC

expanded its focus last year, says Rod Pierson, Senior Vice President of PDC. The first has to do with managing the ebb and flow of engineering and construction work. With only one customer – POET – there were times when work slowed down. They knew they had the bandwidth to branch out. “It happens in any company in the construction industry,” Pierson says.

THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE

27


focused on industrial production and

Engineering, says they have many

projects such as loading and transport,

advantages entering the marketplace.

cereal grain processing, sustainability

Most companies starting out don’t

and efficiency.

have the breadth of services PDC has

Pierson says their clients must fit

at its disposal, he says. In addition,

POET’s mission in being a “friend to

PDC has the advantages of a large

the environment.” Along those lines,

company, but it operates with the

environmental work is one area in

efficiency of a smaller firm.

which PDC excels.

“We’re big, and we’ve got a lot of

“We’re

trying

identify

people, but we’re not so big that we’ve

combined

got a lot of segregation of our duties

heat and power projects or water

and engineers,” Hass says. “I think

conservation, those are things that we

our customers to date have been

have experience with and can help

really appreciative of the fact that

others with,” Pierson says.

we’ll have, for instance, weekly phone

opportunities

to

to do

calls where we have the whole project

‘One-Roof Continuity’

team on the phone with the customer going through design. That’s unique

A key part of the value proposition PDC provides is what Director of Project calls

Management

“one-roof

Ron

Steffen

continuity.”

They

have engineers and project experts in multiple disciplines working together under one roof. “If our project manager needs to go talk to the structural engineer or the structural engineer needs

“There’s a lot of continuity to design, which translates over to the construction site, limiting change orders, eliminating collisions in the field, things like that. That’s a huge benefit I don’t think many people understand.”

to collaborate with somebody in mechanical, they can do that in the same building,” he says. That

efficiency

reaps

rewards

throughout the process. “There’s a lot of continuity to design, which translates over to the construction site, limiting change orders, eliminating collisions in the field, things like that,” he says. “That’s a huge benefit I don’t think many people understand.” “It speeds things up,” he says. “So if people want to get in the ground, if they have a deadline, if they have investor pressure, or if they have economic pressure due to the calendar year. Speed to design, speed to shovelready is something we’re really good

Ron Steffen, Director of Project Management

28

at.” Adam

Hass,

PDC’s

Director

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of

in itself.”

New Challenges are Nothing New The PDC team is used to new challenges. They’re used to tough timelines. They’re experts in creative and efficient solutions to capture new opportunities. One such opportunity last year within

the

POET

network

was

producing alcohol for hand sanitizers. The

COVID

crisis

created

new,

immediate demand for a product that POET was well-positioned to provide. However, fuel-grade bioethanol is not the same as the purified bioethanol used to make hand sanitizer. The PDC team had to engineer a process while every day that passed meant another missed

opportunity

to

capture

consumer demand. Pierson said they had investigated purified alcohol in the past, and that knowledge helped them move quickly. “When COVID came along and the need came along, we were able to use the base knowledge we had of what the process for purified alcohol


From left to right: Rod Pierson, Senior Vice President & General Manager, POET Design & Construction, Ron Steffen Director of Project Management, POET Design & Construction, Adam Hass, Director of Engineering, POET Design & Construction

looks like to come up with a way to retrofit our current facilities,” he says. “At the same time, we decided to move forward with the full-scale purified alcohol projects and had to move quickly to try to get in front of everybody else to build them.” Steffen said they put together a plan with an 11-month timeframe to completion. That wasn’t fast enough, so they reworked the designs and shaved off three months. He’s

proud

of

what

they

accomplished. “It’s been incredibly fast, and it looks great,” he says. “The team just worked incredibly efficiently to get this done.” The industrial alcohol facility in Leipsic, Ohio, is opening soon, with another

in

Alexandria,

scheduled for startup in May.

Indiana

the site,” Dunning said. “When we

Dunning Express

went down there and I explained

Dunning Express, headquartered in

Elwood,

Kansas,

provides

transloading for bulk solids and liquids. They reached out last year to PDC for help designing a new rail transloading/servicing facility in St. Joseph, Missouri on the site of an old city waterworks plant. Owner and President Mike Dunning said PDCs experience with biofuel facilities, which includes traffic flow, loading and storage among other things, made them an ideal company to tackle the project. He took some of the PDC members on a visit in August to look at the site, which included “old basins and weird old buildings.” “A lot of people would have turned around and run when they first saw

THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE

what I wanted to do, they got it. They understood.” PDC’s experience is their biggest advantage, says Todd Gee, Operations Manager for Dunning Express. “They

have

knowledge

of

the

process and overall layout,” he says. “Obviously they’re pulling from how many plants they’ve built and pieces of those plants that they like or don’t like as far as the flow of the facility. They have direct experience.” Traffic flow is an important area that can often be overlooked, Dunning says. “It kind of comes in waves, and if you’ve got a big wave, you’ve got to have a place to put the trucks, and you need to have a plan to get them processed through there in a hurry,” he says.

29


“There

direct

one hand that’s great for POET. It’s

experience there that anybody else

was

definitely

a

also just really great for our engineers.

we could’ve hired probably wouldn’t

They love jumping into something

have had,” Gee says.

new and learning about it, so it helps

Steffen at PDC says Dunning Express

with motivation and stokes the fire a

knew how to leverage that experience

little bit.”

to their benefit.

Hass said the work has been

“They really leaned on us hard for

useful for POET in assessing its own

ideas and thoughts,” he says. “‘Here’s

competency. They knew they had

what we want to do, how would you

a strong team at PDC, but unless

guys do this?’ I think that’s a really

you go after contracts in the wider

insightful question.”

market, you don’t really know how competitive you are.

Benefits to POET’s Team

They’ve discovered that not only are

PDC offers a breadth of experience

advantages

to external clients. But the variety of work is also adding new experience to POET’s own team. Hass said that’s a win for POET and a win for the team members’ own professional development.

they competitive, they have distinct in

competing

companies that often don’t have access to the breadth of experience at PDC. “As we learned more, it became apparent that we have a lot to offer in this space,” Hass says.

“We’ve been pushed into lots of new technology areas,” he says. “On the

30

against

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More to Come The

group

is

poised

for

new

growth. Despite the challenges in marketing a new business during COVID quarantines, they now have a solid year to build on. PDC is adding a business development position to increase marketing efforts in 2021, and they have met with a number of potential clients for future work. The

transition

to

working

on

external projects has been a learning experience, but they’ve been able to take these new challenges in stride. Steffen is not surprised. “We’re somewhat new to external work,” he said. “But we’re not new to work.”


POET Design and Construction offers a full range of services including: • Process Engineering • Mechanical Engineering • Structural Engineering • Electrical Engineering • Civil Engineering • Milling and Material Handling Engineering • Supply Chain Management • Drafting • Environmental Engineering • Process Automation Engineering • Project/Construction Management

poetdesignandconstruction.com

THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE

31


POLICY CORNER

Biden’s Climate Cabinet

POET applauds President Biden’s leadership in making climate a top priority with the nominations of Michael Regan for the Administrator of the EPA, Tom Vilsack as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Pete Buttigieg as Secretary of Transportation and the appointments of John Kerry as U.S. Climate Envoy and Gina McCarthy as the White House Climate Advisor. Each member of the Biden Climate Team will play a key role in helping the administration make good on its commitment to fight for family farms, end environmental injustice and shift the nation to netzero emissions. Below are past statements of support for biofuels and climate action from each of the Climate Team members.

Gina McCarthy — White House Climate Advisor “…the biofuel industry is a great American success story. The U.S. is the world’s largest producer and consumer of biofuels, and we’ve used more renewable fuel than all other countries combined. So EPA’s proposal has to continue to build on that success and to spur ambitious yet achievable growth.”

Pete Buttigieg — Secretary of Transportation During his 2020 presidential run: “The biofuels industry has enabled us to take great strides in lowering greenhouse gas emissions and weaning ourselves off fossil fuels. We will work with farmers on policies and incentives that reward best practices and drive innovations that are good for U.S. agriculture and good for our climate. Additionally, we will stop the abuse of “small refinery” exemptions, which allows fossil fuel giants to skirt their obligations to blend biofuels. To do this, we will immediately stop giving small refinery waivers to fossil fuel giants and raise the renewable fuel standards.”

32

VITALBYPOET.COM


POLICY CORNER

Michael Regan — Administrator of the EPA “…you do have my commitment that we will take a look at the RFS program and we will introduce some transparency into that program. We will let science lead us and we will follow the letter of the law as it was intended. President Biden has not been shy that agriculture will have a seat at the table as we tackle climate, and he’s been specifically focused on biofuels and advanced biofuels.”

Tom Vilsack — Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture “I think there’s a way in which we can utilize USDA resources and work with Congress to increase those resources to build out the infrastructure to make it easier for higher blends to be available to consumers. Why? Because at the end of the day, consumers benefit: they have less expensive fuel, they have a cleaner-burning fuel, they have a fuel that’s better for the environment. And as we look at the future, I think biofuels continue to play a role in reducing emissions and providing job opportunities in all parts of the country.”

John Kerry — U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate “The impacts of climate change are already being felt everywhere in the world: the Arctic, the Antarctic and everywhere in between. All you have to do is look at the conditions farmers are dealing with around the world: hotter

temperatures,

longer

droughts,

unpredictable

rainfall patterns.”

THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE

33


PEOPLE OF POET

Groton Quality Manager has a bright — and busy — future

34

VITALBYPOET.COM


helsie Bickel is the Quality

where

mosquito

pesky insects, Bickel has proven

Manager at POET Biorefining

speciation, trapping, sorting, testing

herself to be more than capable as a

– Groton, but that job title

for West Nile virus, and administering

quality manager –– a role that involves

barely scratches the surface of

larvicide, all for the city of Aberdeen.

everything

what she brings to the table.

Mosquitoes were a seasonal job,

laboratory to coordinating research

On the job, Bickel is known for

so Bickel also worked with the Day

trials and running the fermentation

jumping in wherever work needs

County Conservation District dealing

process.

to get done. She takes on extra

with

Bickel

responsibilities and projects, goes

planning for Pheasants Forever.

management as a key product lead

above and beyond to help out her

At the time, one of her husband’s

(KPL) for co-products, specifications,

coworkers, and promotes POET in

coworkers

was

and regulations.

the community by leading plant

materials

manager

tours, hosting 4-H camps, and giving

Biorefining — Groton, and he referred

presentations at area schools.

Bickel to the company because of her

But her energy doesn’t tap out

background in science. She applied

there.

for the quality manager position and,

Outside of work, she is a loving wife,

six and a half years later, she’s never

mother of two, ambitious graduate

looked back.

student,

horse-lover,

she

conducted

habitat

management

married

and

to

at

the

rancher,

“It was a complete switch from working outside all day to being in an

and — wait for it — a mosquito expert.

office, sitting at a desk and actually

The Aberdeen native says she’s always

looking at the numbers,” she said. “It’s

looking for something new to keep

definitely been more of a challenge

her busy, whether it’s professional

when it comes to managing people

development or a road trip to track

and learning the analytics, and, of

down vintage lamps.

course,

From Managing Mosquitoes to Managing a Lab — A Shifting Career

ethanol

also

managing

works

the

with

plant

POET

collector of mid-century furniture

the

from

process

“She’s a team player, and she’s not afraid to cross the lines of her position to go help wherever it’s needed,”

was

completely new to me.”

In that role, she focuses on the animal

Though her day-to-day focus shifted,

food safety program for the entire

Bickel

fleet, not just Groton.

brought

along

a

valuable

perspective from her time managing

“I

mosquitoes.

something or I’ll get bored, which is

“Groton is built on a slough, and

why I take on extra work from plant

where

management and research,” she said.

there’s

water,

there

are

always

have

to

be

doing

After graduating from Northern

insects,” she said.

“I love to be busy, I love to contribute

State

biology

Employees at the plant needed a

and I love what I do here. It’s never

degree, Bickel dove into the world of

way to stay cool in the summer, so

boring. If there’s a boring day at the

environmental

beginning

Bickel advocated for screens that

plant, you haven’t made enough work

with internships in fisheries and

would let the fresh air in but keep the

for yourself.”

habitat management.

mosquitoes at bay.

Kelly Kjelden, Groton’s General

“I spent a lot of time in waders, doing

“Mosquitoes at a plant are a hazard

Manager,

fish surveys, electro-fishing, and gill

that not many people would think

throughout her time at POET.

netting for fisheries management in

about, but my experience has really

“It’s not a great chore to come up

northeast South Dakota,” Bickel said.

driven home some of the dangers.”

with those things that make Chelsie a

After

Bickel said.

fantastic team member and manager,”

Besides protecting her team from

he said. “The first thing that comes

University

those

with

science,

a

internships,

she

transitioned to a job in entomology

THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE

has

supervised

Bickel

35


to mind is her work ethic. She just knows what needs to be done and gets after it, even if it means coming in early or staying late, or popping in on a weekend, or even answering the phone in the middle of the night.” Kjelden adds that Bickel takes pride in a job well done, and that she is driven by goals, objectives and a desire to better herself for the benefit of her team and the company. “She’s a team player, and she’s not afraid to cross the lines of her position to go help wherever it’s needed,” he said. Working beyond the responsibilities of her job title is something Bickel takes seriously, whether that’s in the lab or in different areas of the company. “I’m very much of the mindset that a Quality Manager should be able to step in and do anything their lab techs are doing. If they need help with anything, I step in, and vice-versa,” she said. She also works closely with POET Nutrition to coordinate Preventive Controls Qualified Individual (PCQI) training, an FDA requirement for the food safety program. Bickel is a lead PCQI instructor, and she’s working to bring more standardized training to the program. Additionally, Bickel recently started an online MBA program through Pittsburg State University, which she hopes will enhance her understanding of higher-level business operations beyond the more technical aspects of her job. These are just a few of the myriad ways Bickel invests in her work

36

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“It’s one thing to get up on stage and talk about what you do, but to bring someone in and actually show them is really cool,” she said. “We usually host a couple of high school chemistry classes, and I get to walk them through the plant, pull samples with them, and do experiments.”

with POET, both in the day-to-day

or her additional pursuits. She has a

operations and the long-term vision.

passion for science that drives her to

“Chelsie has a bright future with

promote POET within the community,

POET, and I think she can do whatever

particularly to young people.

she wants. She has that ability,”

“I love talking about what I’m doing,

Kjelden said. “I can see her in higher

especially if it’s something I’m super

levels of leadership at the plant, if

passionate about, and reaching out to

that’s what she wants.”

kids about science is something I wish

Pursuing Her Passions, Both at Work and at Home

I had more of in my youth,” she said. Bickel has volunteered to judge local science fairs on multiple occasions, and sometimes she even gets her coworkers to participate as well. “You get to give the kids feedback,

Bickel’s commitment to POET goes

and they tend to ask you a lot of

beyond her role as Quality Manager

questions about what you do,” she

THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE

37


said. “I get to tie in their projects to some of the things we do at POET and maybe plant the seeds for future interns.” If there’s an opportunity to share her heart and passion for science, you can bet that she’ll be there, whether that’s with area students or her own young daughters. In 2020 Bickel had the opportunity to speak at the annual Women in Science conference in Aberdeen, an event for girls in grades 7-12. Prior to the pandemic, the Groton plant offered tours for area students, and Bickel would regularly volunteer as

“I love talking about what I’m doing, especially if it’s something I’m super passionate about, and reaching out to kids about science is something I wish I had more of in my youth.”

1950s and 1960s. “My husband and I started this collection about ten years ago,” she said. “The style of our house is very mid-century, and you just can’t buy solid walnut dressers anymore. We spend a lot of time going to auctions and estate sales.” Whether it’s time spent driving to furniture sales or horse shows, or enjoying the outdoors on the ranch, spending time with family is of the utmost importance to Bickel. Between

her

personal

and

professional pursuits, it’s hard to

tour guide. Last summer, she hosted

imagine how she manages everything.

30 fourth-graders for a 4H science

If you get the chance to talk to her,

camp, and they enjoyed some simple

however, you’ll hear it in her voice

experiments using lab equipment.

— an unmistakable sense of passion

And on the weekends, you can often

and drive that keeps her coming back

find her girls, Kamryn and Karsyn,

every single day.

tagging along while Mom gets work done in the lab. “It’s one thing to get up on stage and talk about what you do, but to bring someone in and actually show them is really cool,” she said. “We usually host a couple of high school chemistry classes, and I get to walk them through the plant, pull samples with them, and do experiments.” Though

she

could

talk

about science for days on end, Bickel tends to an array of other hobbies at home. She and her husband own a small ranch east of Groton, where they raise cattle and own a few horses that their daughters ride and show on the weekends. Inside the house is their impressive collection of mid-

38

century furniture, dating back to the

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Voilà! POET Rolls Out Co-product for Renewable Diesel Feedstock by Holly Jessen

40

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ooking at the changing landscape of biofuels, it’s clear renewable diesel is one to watch. It’s an environmentally friendly drop-in fuel with a lot of potential. “It’s definitely a growth market and potentially a high growth market,” said

Brooke

Coleman,

Executive

Director of the Advanced Biofuels Business Council. “It could be an exponential growth market.” Fueled

by

state

and

federal

policies providing subsidies and tax incentives, POET expects renewable diesel production to grow by 300 percent in the next three to four years. For example, there’s the $1 per gallon federal blender’s tax credit, which is set to expire in 2022. California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), is also particularly strong driver. “From

®

a demand perspective, California is

more beneficial and more profitable

really moving the needle,” said Tim

it is to some of these markets

Norling, Portfolio Strategy Manager

like California, Oregon and some

for POET.

Canadian markets that also look for a

In addition, distillers corn oil has

low carbon fuel,” he said.

a favorably low carbon intensity (CI)

Now, POET has a distiller’s corn

score under the LCFS. Based on an

oil feedstock targeted specifically for

average score of renewable diesel

renewable diesel production called

producers currently in production,

Voilà Premier. The co-product goes

distillers corn oil has a carbon

through the company’s patented and

intensity score of 30.87, Norling said.

proprietary

In comparison, soybean oil has an

allowing the customer to bypass that

average CI score of 55.215. “The idea

step at the production facility, said

is, the lower the carbon intensity, the

Dave Bushong, POET’s Senior Vice

THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE

clarification

process,

41


President of Research.

fuel derived from a barrel of oil,”

“We think this product is going to be

Bushong said. “So it looks the same,

the preferred feedstock when looking

functions the same and performs the

at other potential alternatives like

same.”

soybean oil or animal fats,” Norling

Of course, a big difference between

said.

the two fuels is that renewable

Voilà

“The idea is, the lower the carbon intensity, the more beneficial and more profitable it is to some these markets like California, Oregon and some Canadian markets that also look for a low carbon fuel,” Tim Norling, Portfolio Strategy Manager for POET

42

Premier

in

diesel is produced from renewable

production at one of POET’s 27

feedstocks, making it much more

bioprocessing facilities. The company

environmentally

is in the process of starting up

diesel. “It’s an 85 percent reduction

production at a second location with

in greenhouse gases,” Norling said.

plans to continue expansion, as called

“That’s a pretty big piece to this.”

for by demand. Any crude corn oil can

One recent example of an oil

be used as a feedstock for renewable

refinery shifting to renewable diesel

diesel production. However, metals

production is CVR Energy Inc. The

must

removed

currently

before

friendly

than

the

company announced in a Dec. 21

production process, typically at the

press release that its Wynnewood,

renewable diesel production facility.

Oklahoma

If not, it could damage the plant’s

unit will be converted to produce

catalyst, causing a catastrophic failure

nearly

that could cost weeks of downtime

renewable diesel per year. Costs are

and millions of dollars, he said.

estimated at $110 million, which

POET’s Voilà Premier, on the other

CVR Energy said it expects to recoup

hand, is a purer product that has

through the generation of renewable

gone through a process to remove

identification numbers (RINs) as well

magnesium,

as the blender’s tax credit and LCFS

other

be

is

potassium,

naturally

iron

occurring

and

metals

refinery’s

100

hydrocracker

million

gallons

of

credits.

that are in the kernel as a part of the growing process. “It is a very unique process,” Bushong said, adding that the POET process is advantaged due to reduced process yield losses and

Commercialization Process

transportation inefficiencies for the renewable diesel producer.

From identified

More About the Market

the the

time

the

potential

company new

co-

product stream it took a year to reach commercial production at a POET biorefinery, Norling said. It has now been a little over a year from when the first gallons of Voilà Premier were

As a fuel molecule, renewable

sold into the marketplace in December

diesel is indistinguishable from diesel

2019.

and can be produced with the same

“Our team of scientists started

equipment used to produce diesel at a

working to figure out what they

petroleum refinery. “They crack apart

could do and our team of sales people

the molecule of vegetable oil, in our

started figuring out what the market

case, Voilà Premier, and reassemble it

wanted,” Bushong said. “We began

to be identical to a molecule of diesel

to walk those two paths parallel to

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“We spent a lot of time and resources testing to prove without a reasonable doubt that our product is as good as we say it is and it’s repeatable, as we say it is... we know we can do it all the time, every time, with the technology that we developed.”

each other until they converged at our

product the company is confident the

Voilà Premier product.”

consumer wants. “We have extremely

One of the first steps was to develop

low metals in our material and a high

a process to detect metals in distillers

degree of clarity,” he said, “and we

corn oil. The company’s in-house

know we can do it all the time, every

science team worked on that with the

time, with the technology that we

help of third parties, such as university

developed.”

researchers and others. “We really worked hard to understand how to measure and characterize the metals and then how to resolve the problem,”

Bio Vs. Renewable

Bushong said. The next step was to perfect the process to remove the metals. In the end, POET created a scientifically validated

process

that

has

been

thoroughly tested. “We spent a lot of time and resources testing to prove without a reasonable doubt that our product is as good as we say it is and it’s repeatable, as we say it is,” Bushong said. In fact, Bushong considers the process “pretty darn bulletproof.” In

addition,

Voilà

Premier

is

a

POET believes renewable diesel has a lot of potential. Biodiesel does have positives, such as its lubricity factors. But renewable diesel can be dropped into the fuel supply without limitations. Norling agrees. “We’re going to see a pretty large shift from biodiesel to renewable diesel over the next couple years,” he said. One selling point of renewable diesel is that it can be transported, stored

Dave Bushong, POET’s Senior Vice President of Research

THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE

43


and sold in the same infrastructure as

regulation, transformative outcomes

diesel and at a 100 percent inclusion

could happen in the transportation

rate. “You can just drop it in and go

sector

and you don’t see any fuel mileage

have a situation where renewable

reduction,” Bushong said.

diesel, particularly from sustainable

Biodiesel, a methyl ester fuel, is

feedstocks

typically sold in blends no higher than

tremendous potential to grow,” he

B20. “It gets stored in its own tank and

said.

gets shipped in its own rail cars and it

Coleman stressed that the best

can’t go through a pipeline,” Bushong

solution would be to stop providing

said, “so it has all these logistic

policy incentives for the use and

“I would certainly like to see, when someone pulls up to the pump, 100 percent of that fuel dollar stay in the United States. And renewable fuels are one of the best ways to do that.”

infrastructure hurdles in its way.”

extraction of oil and move toward

Brooke Coleman, Executive Director of the Advanced Biofuels Business Council

take on this front.

Biodiesel’s

cloud

point,

or

the

quickly.

like

“Then

corn

consistent

and

oil,

you

has

reliable

temperature it gels up in a fuel

incentives for clean and renewable

tank in cold weather, is another

fuels. That would help address the

consideration.

and

problem of climate change and oil

renewable diesel has that issue too

“Diesel

fuel

dependence. “I would certainly like

but it’s a much lower temperature

to see, when someone pulls up to the

than biodiesel because, again, they

pump, 100 percent of that fuel dollar

are reforming the molecule to match

stay in the United States,” he said.

indistinguishably different from a

“And renewable fuels are one of the

diesel molecule,” he said.

best ways to do that.”

Policy Potential

The growth of renewable diesel, as well as other biofuels, depends on how quickly and aggressively carbon regulations–including

the

RFS–

are implemented, after only being implemented well intermittently since 2007, Coleman said. The unknown at this point is what actions President Joe Biden and his administration will “I think there’s a temptation to look for a new shiny object, new policy,” he said. “But the reality on the ground is, we have a greater chance of reinvestment in existing law, and that’s the RFS, than we do at creating a new law, even with the current makeup of Congress.” If the RFS were embraced for what it is, a fuel diversification and

44

more

very

greenhouse

gas

reduction

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PRIME THE PUMP

48

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PRIME THE PUMP

Thorntons Goes Green with E15 by Janna Farley

Like

many

environmental

companies,

stewardship

is

a

and lots of visual marketing on-site and at the pump for their guests, said

corporate priority for Thorntons.

Lee Stevens, Fuel Supply Manager for

The gasoline and convenience store

Thorntons.

retailer prioritizes recycling, energy

“At the time when

efficient appliances and the use of

we got in, it was before

eco-friendly cleaning products in all

most of the competition

of its locations. It’s switching to LED

was marketing E15,”

lights both inside and outside of all

Stevens said. “So it was

new and remodeled stores. And it

a great opportunity for

makes a special effort to reduce its

us to give our guests

energy consumption by “harvesting

something new.”

daylight” – that is, Thorntons uses

Much of Thorntons’

natural lighting at each of its stores to

initial success with E15

reduce the use of electric fixtures.

in the Chicago market

But more than that, Thorntons

can be attributed to

is committed to eco-friendly fuels.

the Prime the Pump

That’s where E15 comes in.

initiative.

Thorntons

Prime

started

introducing

the

“At the time when we got in, it was before most of the competition was marketing E15. So it was a great opportunity for us to give our guests something new.”

Pump

E15 to its guests in the Chicago

targets

market about five years ago. While

retailers to provide E15 access and

high-volume,

high-profile

Illinois farmers rank second in the

assists early retail adopters of higher-

country in corn production, biofuels

level biofuel blends by awarding

weren’t something Thorntons’ urban

grants to help with their initial

customers were necessarily familiar

investments in infrastructure and

with. So Thorntons made education

consumer marketing and education.

about E15 a priority, with training

The biofuels industry has invested

modules for their team members

nearly $85 million in this initiative.

THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE

49


The retailers involved in the initiative

put E15 in the car, they see the same

have seen a competitive advantage

performance and they don’t spend as

with higher income, lower pump

much doing it. It’s an easy choice.”

prices and higher-octane E15, as

After the success in the Chicago

well as increased traffic to their

market, Thorntons quickly moved to

convenience stores.

convert more sites

“Thorntons is among 20 of the

to offer E15. Today,

largest retail chains in the United

61 sites in Chicago

States offering its customers E15,”

and

said Mike O’Brien, Vice President

Kentucky, offer E15

of Market Development for Growth

and the company is

Energy, the nation’s leading biofuel

currently

trade

retailers

to add E15 to an additional 34 sites

U.S. fuel market.

across its six-state

It didn’t take long for Thorntons

footprint.

Chicago-area guests to learn that E15

that’s E15 at each

— a biofuel blend containing 15%

and every fueling

plant-based bioethanol — is a cleaner-

point

burning, higher-octane, and more

location,”

affordable choice.

Stevens.

Guests

These

quickly

saw

the

benefits of E15,” Stevens said. “They

50

working

represent about 15 percent of the total

“Our

association.

Louisville,

at

These

“And

each said days,

Thorntons

doesn’t

“We certainly see our E15 sales growing as we continue to move into more stations and more markets. Being able to put more gallons of environmentally friendly fuel made from American-grown corn into your car is a benefit that can’t be beat.”

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have to educate its guests on the

That means Thorntons can focus on

benefits of E15 as much as they had to

increasing its sales of E15.

before.

“We want to sell more gallons of

“In the markets we’re in, people

liquid fuel, and E15 is a way to do

know what E15 is,” Stevens said.

that,” Stevens says. “By offering E15

“People in urban Chicago might not

— a higher octane fuel at a discounted

have known much about ethanol in

price — we’re able to retain our

the past, but people everywhere are

current guests and attract new guests

so much more familiar with it now

that see the benefit of this product.”

and they know their car can handle

That’s

it, so they’re much more open to using

Thorntons rolls out E15 into additional

it.”

markets.

In fact, these days, there’s not too

“We certainly see our E15 sales

much difference between sales of

growing as we continue to move into

E15 in rural and urban markets.

more stations and more markets,”

Because of the benefits of bioethanol –

Stevens said. “Being able to put more

particularly the fact that it can sell for

gallons of environmentally friendly

about 5 cents a gallon less than other

fuel made from American-grown corn

blends of fuel – E15 has been accepted

into your car is a benefit that can’t be

by consumers across the country,

beat.”

particularly

exciting

as

O’Brien said.

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51


FARM FRESH

Increasing Yields Starts with the Planter by Brian Hefty With the global need for grain continuing to rise,

planting population of roughly 33,000 plants per acre and

increasing corn yields to meet demand is imperative.

a standard corn germination percentage of 95, why didn’t

Fortunately, there continue to be improvements with

95% of the plants come up in each row? For the plants that

planter technology that can help.

did come up, why were some of them behind the others?

For about 20 years now we’ve been talking about how corn

With modern planters there are more controls and

plants need to emerge at the same time so each plant has an

adjustments than ever before, so here are three key

equal opportunity to thrive. When plants right next to each

things we look at on our farm. First, do we have the best

other come up at the same time, we find a consistency in

technology on our planter? With recent advancements in

the height where the ear can be found on the corn plant, as

things like down-pressure controls and closing wheels, we

well as an approximately equal size of one ear compared

make at least some change almost every year.

to the next. Recently farmers like Randy Dowdy and David

Second, is every single moving part in great working

Hula have been preaching this message to farmers, as even

order every day? With a 24-row planter, this is a lot more

emergence has helped these two produce world-record

work than when we used to run an 8-row planter when I

yields.

was a kid. That’s three times as many rows, but with all

If you are a farmer, one of the ways you can see how your

the gadgets we have on the planter today, in total there are

planter is performing is by pulling the ears off 1/1000th of

probably ten times as many things to look at.

an acre in each row, then laying out the ears on a tarp just

Lastly, nothing beats checking how the planting is done

how they were pulled in the field. Here’s an example from

by digging in the soil. For us, we plant corn in dramatically

our farm:

different soil types, moisture conditions, fertility levels,

We pulled 24 rows because we have a 24-row planter.

residue content, and tillage situations. That means we

We then weighed everything out to get approximate grain

need to make adjustments from field to field and day to

bushels per acre, subtracting the cobs, of course.

day. Ultimately what we’re after is consistent seed depth

The highest yield in a particular row was 230 bushels per

(around 2.25” most of the time), consistent seed spacing

acre. The lowest was 166. Since pulling all these ears takes

(an equal distance from one plant to the next in each row),

a lot of time, we didn’t replicate it throughout the field, but

and consistent seed-to-soil contact. We need to make sure

as we walked the field checking ears, we do not believe we

each seed has soil firmly pressed around it so it has the best

had quite as much inconsistency in the worst rows as what

chance to germinate quickly.

appears in this picture. Nevertheless, the key question here

Increasing yield is the goal of every corn farmer, and

is, “Why?”

the first step is making sure the planter does the best job it

Why were certain rows worse than others? With a

possibly can.

Corn ears from each of the 24 rows of a planter on 1/1000th of an acre from the Hefty farm 52

VITALBYPOET.COM


MECHANICS CORNER

We have a need for speed! Automotive advice from The Under the Hood radio show We love fast cars and the thrill of an internal combustion

cleaner air, and it’s proven in a world record-holding car.

engine. Nothing beats the sound of horsepower at the track

Sometimes seeing is believing, and you can check it out

as dozens of cars roar by on their way to the finish line.

yourself on YouTube.

Even when I hear that sound on television, I love to crank it up! You don’t get that sound from an electric car.

The land speed record for a production car isn’t the only record held by an ethanol-burning monster; the marine

As a kid I fell in love with speed and the roar of the engine

speed record for a catamaran is also held by an E85-burning

when I was around 5 years old, riding on the back of my

boat, which has won the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout many

dad’s motorcycle. As the years went by, I progressed to my

times. At over 13,000 pounds with four big block Chevy

own toys that became faster and more powerful, until the

engines that produce 7,000-plus horsepower, the 51-foot

day came when the gas in the pump would no longer give

Mystic boat hits well over 200 MPH! This boat is amazing to

comfort to my several-hundred-horsepower beast of a car.

see racing across the lake in the one-mile speed box and is

That’s when I learned what racing fuel was and the cost

another great one to watch on YouTube.

that went along with it. What I would have given then for an E85 pump — affordable fuel and plenty of power!

So there you have it. Bioethanol is powerful, it is affordable, and it is clean-burning. It’s been proven how much power

There are plenty of reasons that NASCAR and many other

it can make for the many super high-performance racing

racing leagues use bioethanol in their engines. It’s powerful

engines today; imagine how we could drive if all of our

and it burns clean, plus the fact that it’s incredibly low-cost

everyday cars were running on biofuel blends! Make the

compared to other racing fuel is very appealing. You can

shift toward higher-octane, affordable biofuel blends and

also see some of the luxury car models with labels on their

watch as the power and miles per gallon go up, and the

fuel caps that say “Premium” or “E85 Fuel Only.” That’s

emissions go down.

because the engines are built to run their best on that higher-octane fuel.

The Under The Hood radio show is America’s Favorite cartalk show heard on over 250 stations and a podcast. The

So how powerful is it?

Motor Medics, Russ, Chris and Shannon, are three great friends having fun and offering a wide range of automotive

Currently there are two major speed records held using E85

advice without the aid of in-studio computers or reference

ethanol. The Tuatara holds the world’s fastest production

guides. Under The Hood can be found on a station near you,

street-legal car record and hit 331 MPH on a closed highway.

on their podcast app, or on your favorite podcast site.

It was still accelerating when the driver shut it down. At 331 mph, we’d shut it down too! Here is a quick fact about this car from the manufacturer: When run on E85 — like this one was — it’s capable of 1,750 horsepower. Running it on 91 octane gasoline decreases its horsepower to 1,350. Did you catch that? That’s right, 400 less horsepower when not run on E85. This is not the only super car company that specs E85 as the preferred fuel. Bioethanol screams more power and

THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE

53


OUT OF LEFT FIELD

The Perspective of a Turtle by Scott Johnson, Data Systems Administrator, POET

It’s a universal truth that in the animal world, ducks are

accepted good thing. There was obviously no question

the “good guys” and turtles that hunt them are the “bad

and no room for debate that good prevailed and evil was

guys,” right?

thwarted that fateful day. Over the next days and weeks,

Let’s talk about perspective.

however, the shine began to fade from my selfless act of

One spring day, my family and I were strolling along a

dauntless valor. I felt compelled to reignite the flame of

trail next to a small pond. A mother duck and her ducklings

inspiration for my family through subtle reminders in

were swimming along the shore when one of the ducklings

unrelated conversations.

quickly darted away toward deeper water, leaving one of

Wife: “We’re out of stamps.”

their siblings behind.

Me: “I wonder if that duckling I heroically rescued is out

The mother duck frantically began flapping her wings

of stamps?”

and splashing around the lone duckling who was struggling

Wife: “.....”

to swim away. The duckling appeared to have a foot stuck

Meanwhile back at the pond, a failed hunter returned to

near a large snapping turtle-shaped rock. As my brain

his turtle nest empty handed. His futile attempt at providing

slowly and insufficiently processed the situation, I threw

a meal for his family left him unbearably ashamed. He

off my shoes and socks and waded into the water to rescue

reflected on his youth, when snapping a duckling was as

the duckling in distress.

easy as taking candy from a

I grabbed a stick to pry the duckling’s seemingly wedged foot out from the rock. As I studied the situation closer, I finally realized that the snapping turtle-shaped rock was, in fact, a snapping turtle-shaped

snapping

turtle.

It had snapped the foot of the duckling and was attempting to snack on the poor little quacker. I thought to myself, “Not on my watch, evil snapping turtle!” Teamed with the mother duck, still flapping back and forth, we began to beat against the turtle with sticks and wings and desperate fury. Haunting cries of squawks and quacks and shrieks filled the air, plus whatever the

54

An acknowledgement of another perspective is not a mandate to change our position or even to compromise. It simply allows us to put ourselves in another person’s shoes and, while we still may not agree with them, enables us to empathize and understand their perspective.

baby (neither of which were harmed in the making of this story). Mr. Snapping Turtle perceived his turtle wife wasn’t looking at him the same adoring way she used to back in his snapping prime, despite her insistence that she found him as attractive and

useful

now

as

ever

before. He entered full-blown midlife crisis mode. Recklessly attempting to recapture lost vitality, he hired the pond’s most exclusive personal trainer and bought a new sports car. To fulfill his new financial commitments, he dipped into his

turtle

children’s

college

duck said. Finally, the turtle

fund. His turtle son henceforth

released his clenched snapper

carried with him an animosity

and the duckling scurried away to join his relieved siblings.

over not being able to attend The University of Maryland,

I was a hero! I puffed out my chest, gazed off into the

settling for a school with in-state tuition. His son claimed

distance and forcefully propped my closed fists on each

the Green Bay Packers as his new favorite team to spite his

hip, in stereotypical hero pose. I had done a universally-

father. The son moved away and now only seldom calls or

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writes, and even then, typically only to his mother.

A duck doesn’t sacrifice itself simply because a snapping

All jokes aside, my point is this: sometimes we see the

turtle is hungry. But we can only start to see the situation

world so clearly. We arrogantly puff out our chest and

more clearly when we humble ourselves a bit and concede

boldly claim that our views and opinions are absolute. “I

that our point of view alone renders the story incomplete.

am right. They are wrong.” “Ducks are good. Turtles are

Sometimes all it takes is looking at things from the

bad.” “The grass is green, the sky is blue, and The Beatles

perspective of a turtle.

are overrated.” But not every situation we encounter fits into a definitive box of absolutism. Sometimes

the

situation

requires

an

appreciation of nuance — of perspective. Our perspective of the circumstance is just that: “ours.” And their perspective is “theirs.” Both perspectives may or may not be similar, relevant and equally valid. This ambiguity does not mean we should dampen our devotion to a cause. An acknowledgement of another perspective is not a mandate to change our position or even to compromise. It simply allows us to put ourselves in another person’s shoes and, while we still may not agree with them, enables us to empathize and understand their perspective.

In Memory of Orris “Orrie” Swayze, Biofuel Trailblazer Bioethanol advocate Orrie Swayze, 78, of Wilmot, SD passed away on February 19 at the VA Medical Center in Sioux Falls, SD. Swayze was a retired farmer and bioethanol advocacy pioneer. He worked relentlessly for many years to promote the benefits of bioethanol, beginning in the early 1980s. Swayze was the founding vice president and president of the South Dakota Corn Growers Association, serving eight years in those two posts. He was an early leader in the South Dakota Corn Utilization Council and was instrumental in creating and defending the South Dakota ethanol producer incentive and the state ethanol gas tax exemption that allowed early plants, like POET’s facility in Scotland, SD, to produce successfully. A former Air Force fighter pilot, Swayze used his tenacity and courage in his quest to expand opportunities for biofuels. “Orrie was truly ahead of his time,” said Jeff Broin, POET Founder and CEO. “He was a visionary, and even though he had no investment in a bioethanol plant early on, he invested countless hours in driving state policy for biofuels that allowed POET to be successful in South Dakota. He was a true trailblazer with the long-term vision and undying passion needed to help us grow this industry. We owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude for the decades he spent lobbying on behalf of biofuels. He will be greatly missed.”

THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE

55


DOWN 1. Part of Nasdaq, abbr. 2. Slavishly loyal followers 3. Strainer 4. Is careful 5. Sch. groups, abbr. 6. “Lovely” Beatles girl 7. Egg-shaped 8. Conductor platforms 9. Part below a fetlock 10. Hostile to 11. Behind schedule 12. Fought 13. Boot a grounder 21. Baseball great Campanella 22. It’s the bottom line 26. Gridiron official, for short 27. Cabinet dept. 29. Blood classification system 30. Award show attendees 31. Gender 32. Fishing, perhaps

ACROSS

33. Bering, for one, briefly 34. Corn cake

1. Type of coach, briefly

43. Asinine

35. Gusto

5. Strengthen, with “up”

44. Pot material

37. Hair goo

9. Bisect

45. Steeped beverage

38. Tel Aviv-based airline

14. LaBeouf of film

46. Bleep out

40. Thus

15. Popular video recorder

48. Hit the road

41. “Gloria in excelsis ___”

16. Sign at a broadcasting station

50. Breakfast cereal

42. See ya!

17. Hunt for

53. Staying power

47. Profit for short

18. Not very much

56. POET’s Mission Grow is

49. Vaccine target

19. Playful animal

working to handle this in

51. Void

20. In order to change the world

many African countries

52. Nicholas and Alexander, e.g.

63. Davit

54. Early copters

23. Mexican currency

64. Alliance acronym

55. Tranquil

24. Water in Paris

65. Soprano’s song, maybe

56. German lady

25. Combustible heap

66. Have dinner at home

57. Feedbag morsels

28. Molten rocks

67. Amphoras

58. Focused on something

34. Prankster’s projectile

68. Ring

59. Fathers’ sanctuaries

36. Leg up

69. Forces out

60. Europe’s highest volcano

39. Explosion

70. Future atty.’s hurdle

61. The bottom line, to a consumer

40. It’s used in POET’s waste

71. Maui or Molokai

62. Connecticut University

you have to be ___ ____

63. Top exec. abbr.

energy capture technology

FOR ANSWERS, VISIT vitalmagazineonline.com/answers

56

VITALBYPOET.COM


big ideas

open doors to big solutions POET.COM

When the first POET plant opened over thirty years ago, it opened the door to endless world-changing possibilities. Beyond that threshold we’ve discovered a world of innovative renewable energy solutions. Biofuels, nutrient-rich proteins and oil alternatives are just the beginning.


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 2021  

Vital Magazine - Spring 2021